There are no good kings and queens

There are no good kings and queens
Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Or princesses and princes for that matter

Just as there are no good billionaires.

You can't be a good person and a monarch.

You can't believe in the divine right of your bloodline to rule, and be a good person.

Any good person in that position would eventually realise that their existence relies on the exploitation of their subjects. Any good person would move to end the monarchy or distance themselves from it.

The discussion in recent days has focused on the huge divergence in opinions on the queen's death by groups negatively affected by the British and those who either weren't or don't care. One has chosen to recognise her accomplishments and mourn her passing. While the other has chosen to make jokes at her expense and highlight terrible things she's done. And both sides are baffled by the other.

I'm squarely in the latter group but recognise why some would be sad and aghast at the criticisms. If you've been presented this image all your life and suddenly someone is being aggressively critical at the one time respect is usually required you'd be shocked.

But just as today we're regular fed the myth of "self-made" billionaires and the American dream to lull us into accepting vast inequality. Many have yet to realise the narratives they've been fed their whole lives.

In the case of the British monarchy it's a sweet tale of powerless individuals who do their best for the country and love their people. A sweet old woman who simultaneously did a lot of good for the world while being powerless to speak up about atrocities committed in her name.

Many of those atrocities will be news to some. Then the next reaction is she did the best she could with limited power. But if you or I had a friend do something objectively horrible, we'd likely disavow them. We couldn't have stopped it. We might not be able to stop them from doing it again. Speaking out might end our friendship and we lose what little influence we had but we wouldn't want to be associated with that person anymore.

We like to pretend that individuals in power have more difficult and complicated qualms but at their core it's all simple moral questions. If someone does something bad, you speak up. If you did something bad, you take responsibility and accept the consequences. It's that simple.

We need to recognise the narratives we're being fed for what they are. Lies to get us to ignore the ways the masses are exploited for the rich minority.

When someone in the royal family speaks up when terrible things are done (especially within the family) they'll earn respect.

When someone in the royal family gives up the power they hold, I'll mourn their death.

Till then we need to focus on unlearning the propaganda that makes us accept the exploitation of ourselves to find comfort in warm fairy tales and cuddly figures.