More popular than before:
Overall, the poll indicated some 51 per cent of Canucks want to maintain Canada’s links to the monarchy.
That is a six percentage point increase, up from 45 per cent of the population in support of keeping the Queen as head of state, when the survey’s results are compared to a similar poll conducted in 2009. The increase is mostly seen among those over the age of 35.
For an institution that is suppose to be fading into cultural and constitutional irrelevance, that's fairly impressive. Only about 24% of Quebec residents expressed similar support for the Crown. That would imply that a lot more than 51% of English Canadians want to retain the monarchy. In a country where no political party, and very few contentious political issues, can get anywhere near the half-mark in terms of popular support, that suggests a strong resilience for the monarchy in Canada.
More than a small measure of the credit for this change of fortunes goes to the ruling Conservative Party under Stephen Harper. Under a broad effort to re-establish traditional Canadian values, after decades of Jacobin tinkering, the federal Tories have strongly promoted the monarchy and military. Even before the engagement of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this PR campaign was slowly yielding results. The media interest in the wedding was a powerful boost to a pre-existing trend.
The decline of the monarchy, from touch stone of Canadian identity to its presumed death a few years ago, was no accident. The popular narrative is that the monarchy is an outdated institution doomed to go the way of whalebone corsets and buggy whips. Why? Because such is progress. History has an endpoint and as we go along the way certain things gets jettisoned. Why some things and not others?
Because they said so.
While the monarchy is a non-partisan institution, its enemies come overwhelmingly from the Left. This is for the essential reason that the monarchy is traditional. It has a Royal Family, not a committee of self-anointed experts trained in post-modern newspeak. There is a clearly defined head of the family, the monarch. Marriage and child rearing are central to the monarchical narrative. Enormous pomp and ceremony goes into royal marriages, something very reactionary in an age where low commitment common law relationships are ubiquitous.
If there ever was an institution that eschewed the fluid and utilitarian nature of the modern world it is the monarchy. Even in their personal tastes the royals have a reactionary flare. The Queen loves horse racing. Prince Charles is renown for his advocacy of traditional architecture. Prince Phillip is a navy man to the core of his being. Virtually every male royal serves in the military at some point in their young adulthood, a very rare thing in these times. Prince Henry even parties like a young man, rather than spend his off hours as some politically correct schoolmarm.
For all the "dysfunction" the Royal Family has shown over the decades they are, recognizable, a human family complete with black sheep, wild children and a stern but loving matriarch. It is an arrangement as old as man himself. This annoys most on the Left. The narrative of the Left is of permanent revolution and adherence to abstract theories divorced from lived experience. Not much has changed since Burke identified the phenomenon more than two centuries ago.
There was once an honourable tradition of Left-leaning monarchism. The description socialist monarchist was not the oxymoron it is considered today in the English speaking world. For the Scandinavians the situation is, of course, quite different. This honourable tradition ended when the Left changed its nature. For generations the political Left was an alliance of Jacobin revolutionaries and kind hearted souls.
The former dreamed of a legislated utopia. The latter simply wanted to help the sick and poor. As the welfare state has breed dependency and hopelessness, many of those compassionate souls are returning to private charity and the various churches. What remains of the Left is mostly revolutionary Jacobins. In their rationalistic, though not always rational, world view the monarchy is bad because it is irrational. Why? Because the rational is that which fits their world view.
To grasp the pettiness of the modern Jacobins recall the obsession, more than forty years ago, with the metric system and decimalisation. The measurement and currency systems of scores of countries were upended for the simple reason that dividing things by ten is supposedly more rational than diving them by twelve. It might be simpler to divide numbers by ten than by twelve, there is no way in which it is inherently more "rational" in some deep metaphysical sense. The denomination of all measuring systems is to some degree arbitrary. Saying that your arbitrary systems is more rational than someone else's arbitrary system is the height of self-delusion and conceit.
Yet it goes on. Into matters far less trivial than measuring systems. Into the building of cities, the rearing of children and the conducting of public policy. The pseudo-rational placed above and beyond the empirical and time tested. That something should be kept merely because it works, because it has proven useful and even valuable over the years is discounted. All things must fit into the plan.
No plan, devised from scratch, would ever have made an octogenarian white woman the living embodiment of the state and symbol of the nation. When rationalistic planners plan they produce not human realities but statistical aggregates. Inoffensive and unmemorable mediocrities. The apotheosis, if we may use that word, of this thinking can be seen in that most antiseptic and absurd of entities, the European Union. The House of Windsor gave us Elizabeth II. The EU has given us Herman Van Rompuy.
In promoting the monarchy the Harper Tories, for all their many faults, have rejected the irrational rationalism that has brought about the current European catastrophe. The tragedy is that this reassertion of Canadian identity should be thought of as "right-wing." What the monarchy represents transcends the momentary trivia of politics. A lesson most politicians are too myopic to understand.