The Age of Duty

The age of duty passes, I suppose, with the death of Prince Philip, the chosen spouse of Her Highness, Queen Elizabeth II of England and whatever remains of the Commonwealth and domains. (And in the theology of a remote South Pacific island tribe, the worshipped deity and incarnation of a local volcano spirit, through a process which no one outside that tribe can quite figure out.)

No, I’m not a royalty devotee, in any particular degree. I’m an American, of British descent yet purely republican (small r there, let it be known), so I suppose it is a sentimental thing on my part – or even a degree of decent human sympathy. As my daughter said, unforced, on reading the news the other morning, “Oh, poor Queen!” A seven-decade long marriage, for that time always under the constant, unblinking, pitilessly Sauron-like, and censorious eye of the public media – ended by death at the end of a horrible and trying year. Poor Queen. A woman who was (and still remains) under unsparing scrutiny for nearly all of her life from the age of twelve or so, and yet performed flawlessly in the public sphere, on practically every occasion. The loss of her sister, her mother, now her husband, and all this on top of  a fraught and very public estrangement from an adult grandson … poor Queen, indeed. Her private circle of heart-friends and close-mouthed supporters is narrowed substantially by one, and that possibly the dearest and most personal supporter of all. Sympathy indeed. She has a pair of new dogs, and the remaining family and friends to comfort her, so at least she has that.

I don’t have any personal encounters with the late Prince to report – only that he and a small entourage passed through Sondrestrom, Greenland, during the year that I served a year there. I was not a party present at the small official dinner hosted for him by the small official military and Danish civilian establishment, although some of my friends were: another broadcaster fellow doing double duty as a waiter at the O’Club where the dinner was held, and a guy who was my professional NCO mentor, who attended the dinner as part of his duty as the chief of the Air Force police detachment. They variously reported that he (and the small entourage as well) were amusing and rather salty in speech – the Prince himself dropping an f-bomb at having mistakenly poured a slug of red wine into the white wine or water glass as the evening progressed, to the surprise of the hovering waiter. Ah, well, I said, at hearing this report from the broadcaster/waiter the next morning – HRH was a serving Navy officer in time of a shooting war, back in the day.

My own mother lost her dearest heart-friend more than a decade ago; my own Dad, after more than half a century of devoted marriage. Dad was, as we have come to realize, the social butterfly of the two of them – gregarious, outgoing, an awful tease and toweringly intelligent. We miss him still; Mom the most, as I think now that he provided a certain steel to her spine, and a purpose in living an active life. I rather suspect that Prince Phillip was all that for his wife, at least as Dad was for Mom.

Meantime, in top news on this side of the pond – although extensively reported only on the other side – a serious public affairs front is launched in all the best media circles, in order to rehabilitate an infamously degenerate, exhibitionist, corrupt, female-kin-seducing, stripper-impregnating, lap-top and weapon-losing whore-monger waste-of-flesh crackhead who turns out to be the son of our so-called potted-plant president. My take on this media relations offensive … I think it’s gonna be an uphill job on our tame media’s part to make Hunter Biden look like a hapless innocent done wrong by his own ungovernable impulses, although the established media are giving it the good old college try.

And what extremes does our own human race encompass in the space of a single week – two extremes of the same species: one an adornment to it, and the other … not. Comment as you wish.



33 thoughts on “The Age of Duty”

  1. There are also pictures of Princess Elizabeth in a brown uniform, as a truck driver. The decision of the King to ride out the war in London is also part of our regard for the Queen. He not only chose to take the risk for himself but for his family too when many were urging him to relocate to Bermuda or at least Scotland, out of range of the bombers.

    I don’t expect any of that will transfer to Prince Chuck over here and the signs are that damn little will come his way over there.

  2. HRH is a truly remarkable woman, I suspect the best Royal the country as produced. But I have very little faith in Prince Charles.

  3. I have enjoyed watching the Netflix series The Crown . I suspect they have had at least some consultations with Buckingham Palace but of course have no way of knowing. I have gained a greater understanding of Philip – and Charles and Diana – watching this. Didn’t realize the sacrifices Philip had to make to make it work.

    As to Philip, imagine an adult life of being always publicly subservient to your wife.

    I wonder if after Elizabeth they will be able to keep it going.

  4. My only quibble is that it will be Her Majesty’s eventual departure (long may it be delayed) that will mark the end of the Age of Duty, although HRH Philip was certainly a sterling example of it too. A friend (of Irish extraction!) says once She goes, so goes Western Civilization as we know it.

  5. “I think it’s gonna be an uphill job on our tame media’s part to make Hunter Biden look like a hapless innocent done wrong by his own ungovernable impulses, although the established media are giving it the good old college try.”

    It’s not what HUNTER ‘looks like’, but how he makes others of similar circumstances look, by comparison.

    Hunter’s military career makes Trig Palin’s look like a success.

    Hunter’s book makes Megan McCain’s look like a Pulitzer winner.

    Hunter’s ability to capitalize on his father’s connections make Chelsea Clinton’s look like Mother Theresa.

    Hunter’s history of substance abuse make Billy Carter’s look abstemious.

    Hunter’s laptop selfies make Anthony Weiner’s look modest.

    Hunter’s “security” of his laptop make Debbie Wassermann Schultz’s/Imran Awan’s laptop procedures look like compliance with national security regulations.

    Hunter’s scrutiny from the press makes the press coverage of Baron Trump look like kiddie porn.

    etc. Given time and a large cash advance I could go on several hundred pages like this…

  6. Pouncer, well done. Pulling together all those disparate stories and weaving a theme for your post shows amazing talent.

  7. I too enjoyed The Crown but I wanted to yell at the screen a few times. Seeing how they portrayed the Suez crisis, and supposed events in Philip’s private life that I suspect cannot be authenticated, I’m guessing the writers made a lot of stuff up. Other than that, great show.

    Pity about Philip’s passing. He seems to have been a decent guy and managed a difficult role more than adequately for a very long time. The Queen is exceptionally competent and public-spirited, her offspring not so much. When she dies the British monarchy seems destined not merely to regress to the mean but to plunge well below it. Oh, well.

  8. One of the great kings of the twentieth century was Rama IX of Thailand. For a simple assessment, compare Thailand from 1946 to 2016 to Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam over the same period. GDP in 1946 in Thailand was too small to measure. GDP growth from 1960 to 2016 was 30X in constant USD. There were several student riots, but Thailand had seven decades of peace. Thai civilization appears to have ended when he died.

    The world will miss the Queen when she is gone.

  9. One of my British history profs in the 70s had a theory that the popularity of beards in the Anglosphere was connected to the sex of the British monarch. When Liz goes, expect fewer beards.

    Maybe I’ll live long enough to see it.

  10. “One of the great kings of the twentieth century was Rama IX of Thailand. For a simple assessment, compare Thailand from 1946 to 2016 to Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam over the same period. GDP in 1946 in Thailand was too small to measure. GDP growth from 1960 to 2016 was 30X in constant USD. There were several student riots, but Thailand had seven decades of peace. Thai civilization appears to have ended when he died.

    The world will miss the Queen when she is gone.”

    One should, I feel, judge the accomplishments of someone like Rama IX and Elizabeth II not by their lives, but by their heirs. It’s easy to be virtuous yourself, or at least, to maintain the appearance of virtue.

    Your kids, though? Hmmm. Methinks that they are reflections of you and your conduct as a parent, raising them. You throw a crop of deviants, and the question has to be asked and answered: “Just how far from the tree did they fall…?”.

    It’s not easy to parent in the limelight. It’s not easy to be in the position of either Rama IX or Elizabeth II, and try to raise well-rounded, decent human beings that aren’t utter nutters. The fact that neither of them apparently managed that feat should tell you something about the inherent nature of king and kingship itself–The whole thing is built on a fallacy, that of “inherited rights and powers”.

    I think that Hunter Biden is a reflection of his father and mother, particularly his father Joe. Not to mention, the rest of his rent-seeking family of chiselers. That being the case, I have to look at the current King of Siam, as well as Prince Charles, and consider that they got to be what they are due to their situation, which was also influenced by their parenting. So… Yeah. Much as I want to admire both the Queen and the King of Siam, I have to point out that they both failed in their primary jobs, that of ensuring that their legacies would be passed on to someone worthy of them.

    This is Exhibit “A” for why monarchies are really bad ideas.

  11. This is Exhibit “A” for why monarchies are really bad ideas.

    And how is spending $100 million dollars to win a Senate seat, which pays $174,000 per year and somehow, magically I suppose, boosts the net worth of Senators through the roof, a better system?\

    Our system pulls into leadership positions those who excel at graft. I’d much rather pay a leader some outrageous annual salary, $20 million or even more, and be assured that their decisions are not affected by graft and corruption.

    The Brits have a weird hybrid system – the monarchy has no real power and it costs a lot to maintain, the democratic side of governance is as thoroughly corrupted as our system.

  12. I don’t recall mentioning the state of our “system” or saying that it had any superior aspects whatsoever.

    Regardless, the whole thing boils down to execution–You could make an imperial or monarchical system work so long as you were ruthless about culling the aristos every time they showed any and all hints that they lacked virtue. Same-same with our system–The problem isn’t that it’s inherently corrupt, but that it exists at all. Any power sink will inevitably attract the power-hungry and those that lack any semblance of virtue. You want to do away with it, you almost have to do one of two things–Either make the corruption and venality an openly-acknowledged part of the system, or you do away with the entire shambolic structure of a “system” in the first place.

    The more I think about it, and the more of human nature itself that I observe around me, the less and less I think that there’s any hope for making these idiocies work, whether it’s a representative republic or a monarchy. The problem isn’t the execution, it’s the nature of human behavior. Work around it by doing away with it, and acknowledging that we’re all failed, flawed creatures of the night who only occasionally rise above mere sorry apedom.

    Actually, I have to blame the “rest of us” for most of this BS–If there weren’t an audience for the Kardashians, would there be Kardashians? There’s some deep, dark, and entirely depressing thing in human nature that demands we have some outside agency or entity that we have to kowtow to or outright worship. This is an essentially childish mindset, and whenever I see some dipshit doing the rah-rah “Oh, look, there goes the Queen…” sort of thing, whether its some celebrity or even a local member of the “elite”, I have to wonder at the paucity of their mentation.

  13. “The more I think about it, and the more of human nature itself that I observe around me, the less and less I think that there’s any hope for making these idiocies work”
    The Founders, of course, agreed completely. They wouldn’t be surprised at the size of the government, they’d be horrified (well, probably disappointed more than surprised or horrified, actually) that We The People tolerate it. And of course they wouldn’t recognize our system as the one they created, since it has had every check and balance thrown in the garbage save the nature of the Senate.
    “And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

  14. well franklin said ‘a republic if you could keep it’ hamilton who was the bismarkian figure, would probably be most surprised that statism has expanded to roman empire lengths

  15. Well, for funsies this week, the leader of BLM was first outed for buying a rather luxurious home in Topanga Canyon….

    Not a huge mansion or anything… but that led into some more close examinations…

    Well, it seems she’s been on a buying streak, having spend somewhere between 5 and 20 MILLION on various homes, penthouses, etc.

    Quite the Marxist, isn’t she?

  16. Quite the Marxist, isn’t she?

    Someone with good goolag-fu can probably find a link to this, a young woman had a profile on Tinder and proclaimed herself to be a communist but she wanted the men who approached her to be earning more than $200,000 per year, be 6′ tall, a good career, etc.

    If we analyze this issue contextually it becomes apparent that one can be a good Marxist simply by proclaiming oneself a Marxist, no need to actually live true to the principles.

    Much has been written about the two intellectual modes – the logicians and the feelers. The feelers are so isolated from logic that I suspect they don’t even know that they’re being illogical and hypocritical. If this BLM chick FEELS that she’s a Marxist, then why are all of her critics jumping down her throat for wanting to live the luxurious life, don’t they understand that she feels like she’s a Marxist?

  17. An interesting take on what we are seeing.

    Two reasons. First, our current elites, who constitute a rentier class frequently (and accurately—it’s one of the few things the progressives get right about American society) accused of “privilege,” have more in common with the collectivist vanguard than is usually understood. Again, the Soviet experience is instructive: a society in which what matters is position rather than ability will create common cause between those benefiting from incumbency and those who can command the street, and synthesize a new elite standing above the lumpenproletariat on whose behalf they are presumed to act.

    I think this is well argued. The “Elites” have deteriorated as a merit-based community. They have been adopting silly theories probably since Eisenhower left office. The Kennedy administration was the beginning of the “TV Presidency” when celebrity became more important than competence. Nixon was a bit of a throwback but he came into office as a result of Johnson’s Vietnam War. In the event, he accomplished little but to open the civilized world to China.

    The overthrow of Nixon resulted in an orgy of spending, inflation and abandonment of allies that I expect will be repeated in the next four years.

  18. Hunter is just normal. He is the epitome of royalty/elites for most of history.

    The British Monarchy and the leadership of the United States for the first 200 years or so is the anachronism. Leaders in the world throughout history have never had to follow the rules imposed on general society.

    That is what the 2020 election was all about.

  19. I don’t seem to be the only one noticing this.

    But whatever the motives, the dangers of growing corporate involvement in U.S. political debates are manifest. In its healthiest form, the way democracy would function is that citizens vote for the representatives they believe will best serve their interests, and those representatives then enact laws they believe their constituents favor. But when giant corporations use their unparalleled economic power to override that process — by forcing state and local governments to rescind or reject laws they would otherwise support due to fear of corporate punishment — then the system, by definition, far more resembles an oligarchy than a democracy.

    As crony capitalism slowly morphs into fascism, we see how they are hiding in plain sight.

  20. “Crony capitalism”, just like “Crony Socialism” IS Fascism — the merger of Big Business & the Political Class, with the Political Class on top.

    Functionally, the only difference between the US and China these days is that China’s Political Class is competent, and perhaps even a little less corrupt.

  21. “China’s Political Class is competent”
    Are they though? Their official numbers are lies in every possible category. They clearly have made “China” “richer” over the last few decades, so I suppose that’s one definition of competence.

    “and perhaps even a little less corrupt.”
    Every high-ranking CCP official has a kid who makes Hunter look like a choirboy who took vows of poverty and chastity.

  22. Huh … as for Mz Cullors, of Buy Large Mansions, she has got that part of Marxism down pat – the requirement for the nomenklatura to possess large and luxurious country dachas.
    Kind of sad, really, for the honest and hardworking middle-class black Americans that I know; the new lot of blacktivist grifters are every bit as corrupt and arrogant as the previous lot – Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et al.

  23. Brian: “Are they though? Their official numbers are lies in every possible category”

    No disagreement there. But do you believe FedGov that unemployment is low and inflation is lower? We probably can believe FedGov numbers that US CO2 emissions are going down — but that is only because they have offshored the industries which produce the CO2 (along with jobs & tax revenues). The planet is not any better with the CO2 being produced somewhere else — only the US is poorer. No government’s numbers or statements on anything should be granted automatic credibility.

    Brian — You were the guy who put me on to reading about recent Chinese history. There is no question that since the death of Mao, the Chinese Communist Party has improved the living standards of hundreds of millions of their citizens. In the same time period, FedGov has ruined education, industry, law, trade and just about everything else it has touched.

    It pains me to say this, but the US Political Class is not even in the same league as the CCP. The most obvious example — China has built 15,000 miles of fast, efficient, clean affordable High Speed Rail in the same time period that California has completed 0 operating miles. 15,000 to 0. That is how the US Political Class ranks versus the CCP. The problem is not China over-achieving — it is the arrogant insanity & utter incompetence of our Political Class.

  24. before I read pillsbury, I thought the chinese ruling class, looked around after the shambles of mao’s cultural revolution, what was the alternative, they saw capitalism, but the form that appealed to them, was the so called robber barrons, they were ultimate pragmatists that didn’t care about labor and environmental standards, I think they saw some good aspects of the kuomingtang former running dog capitalists, but they didn’t want to admit it,
    I think I mentioned at one point, the second bourne book, where the villain was the son of kuomingtang leader, it was ludlum’s away to explain deng zhaopings turnabout, since maoism even had purchase among fmr theatre managers,
    certainly among asia area experts like john king fairbanks, and orville schell, fox butterfield who has justifiably come under fire, for different reasons, has shown a little awarenesss

    since pillsbury, I think it’s more they want to use capitalism to achieve marxist goals. lets remember that patrice cullers is just the front person for thousand currents carefully orchestrated extortion scheme which is headed by susan rosenberg, who was part of the maoist may 19th revolutionary movement,

  25. I’m willing to concede that the present CCP ruling class are competent. Their problem is that their children are mostly Hunter Biden clones. I learned quite a bit from my Chinese medical student. Her mother was high class, a professor at Beijing U. Her father was a Physicist working as an auto mechanic because he was Christian. She went to medical school in the US so she could get her parents out of China. She said there is no retirement system there.

    Monterey Park, a suburb of Los Angeles is filled with Chinese who are not spies. They are refugees. San Marino, an upper class suburb north of Monterey Park is filled with rich Chinese immigrants. So is western Canada. I don’t think all those immigrants are hoping China takes over the US.

    The BLM chick is just another example of Eric Hoffer’s rule about all causes ending up as scam’s

  26. Mike K: “I’m willing to concede that the present CCP ruling class are competent. Their problem is that their children are mostly Hunter Biden clones.”

    That certainly is the historical pattern — rags to rags in three generations. And that may not be China’s worst problem. Barry Naughton has written a rather interesting long review of China’s industrial policy since the death of Mao:

    Basically, Naughton seems to be leaning towards the idea that “He governs best who governs least”. In his assessment, China’s problem during the Mao years was too much central government direction. After Mao, China effectively did not have much of a central government-driven industrial policy in the 3 decades between 1978 and 2006. Farmers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and local governments had a lot of latitude to take advantage of any opportunities they could identify — and China’s economy grew strongly. But since then, China’s rulers have tried increasingly to re-impose central direction, and the growth of their economy has slowed.

    There is little doubt that the US economy has slowed/shrunk since about 1970 as FedGov has become increasingly intrusive in every domain. China’s current rulers may be making the same mistake that US rulers did, with long term negative consequences for China. That still would not help us since our Political Class is intent on driving us over the cliff first.

  27. Phillip should be significantly darker than Hunter.

    Congratulations on the dark matrix cabal for fooling so many humans. Not that it is hard.

  28. When I read Churchill’s “A History of the English Speaking Peoples”, I was struck by the periods when Britain was ruled by a succession of more or less disastrous rulers. The Royals since Victoria have been, by stages, made irrelevant except as mute (by law) symbols. The present situation is not anything new, the stakes have been lowered to the point of farce from what they would have been in the past.

    They are still the leading landlords in the country and the cost of their upkeep is largely supported by income from leases of ground. Abolishing the Monarchy would cause a huge fight over the disposition of all this.

    Back when Harry was an obscure, distant figure, I used to imagine that he would say a prayer each day for the continued health of the expanding number of people between him and the throne. I used to say the difference between us was that where my chance of becoming King of England was exactly zero, his was infinitesimally larger, but still effectively zero. I can now add that I wasn’t stupid enough to marry Megan.

    The next King of England will be infinitely more important for marketing chocolates than he will be on the world stage. Considering who it will most likely be, we should all be thankful.

  29. Elizabeth should make a deathbed proclamation dissolving the monarchy. Her family probably wouldn’t be upset in the slightest. In today’s world “what do you do?” defines people, and royalty aren’t allowed to actually do anything. And there is no “we” in the UK anymore to be embodied in the monarch anyway. (My understanding is that William supposedly proposed to every noble woman of his generation and none of them were the slightest bit interested in the bother being “royalty” would involve.)
    Make some kind of “There is no room for a monarch anymore, we are therefore withdrawing until England needs us again” and then they all disappear–how legendary would that be?

  30. The Royals since Victoria have been, by stages, made irrelevant except as mute (by law) symbols. The

    Maybe but Dirty Bertie, her son and King Edward VII, was a significant factor in bringing on WWI. He was a whoremaster and libertine who loved Paris and who had frosty relations with his nephew Wilhelm. He and the bureaucrat Edward Grey were responsible for the move to ally with traditional enemy France against traditional ally Germany.

    His son, who became George V, was new in 1914 and left the foreign policy to those who had supported his father.

  31. A minor point. The Queen may abdicate but the line of succession is determined by Parliament. So, she also couldn’t name her successor. I would be interested in finding out from someone with real knowledge if it is even in the power of Parliament to dissolve the Monarchy. The last time they tried caused nearly a century of civil war and uproar that ended up with a succession of kings that barely, if that, spoke English. They might not want to try it again.

Comments are closed.