We all go through phases in life. The rebellious phase, the gambling addict phase, the Catholic phase. And I am no different, for I did, in my youth, go through — and I am not at all proud of this — a republican phase.
Yes, as embarrassing as it is to admit it, there was a time when I bought into the republican propaganda. When I would go about yelling bizarre, incomprehensible slogans such as “cut the apron strings”, and use the word “plebiscite” in ordinary conversation without the slightest provocation. Looking back on it now, I feel like such a fool.
Because recent events have brought home to me just how dangerous republicanism can be, and how close this nation came to catastrophe. Back in the heyday of republicanism, when the air was abuzz with talk of direct and indirect election models, and Malcolm Turnbull had yet to pledge his allegiance to the Eater of Souls, there was a very real chance that Australia might abandon its time-tested monarchy and embark on the insane anarchic goose chase that is a republic.
What a close shave we had. Imagine if we had voted yes, and therefore received the news of Prince William’s engagement as a republic! Imagine how hollow we would feel, how unfulfilled and left out. Like a lesbian at a high-school formal, we would have found ourselves watching from the sidelines, longing to join the party but unable to partake in the festivities due to our foolish, left-wing lifestyle choices.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Thankfully, having retained our monarchy, we were able to celebrate the wonderful news of the handsome young prince’s impending nuptials with full and appropriate vigour, happy in the knowledge that, as subjects of the Queen, the personal lives of her grandchildren belong to us all: in a way, today we are all engaged to Kate Middleton. She belongs to all of us, something that neither the French nor the Americans can say, and you can sense just how jealous they are.
So I’m very grateful I grew out of my childish little republican phase. And yet, amazingly, it seems there are still some who haven’t. It is hardly credible, but today, in 2010, with all we know, there remain grown adults who are incapable of seeing the benefits of living under a foreign hereditary monarchy, and continue to bleat and whine about the need for a republic, as if that will solve all our problems. As if once we have a republic all the crime and the mortgage stress and the boat people will disappear and we’ll live happily ever after in our cosy little socialist paradise, basking smugly in the glow of anarchy as we boast to each other about how cleverly we r-ped tradition and annihilated social order in our mad, headlong rush to fulfil our most base egalitarian perversions.
Well it ain’t going to be like that, people. Republicanism, like suicide and Peter Garrett, solves nothing. In fact, there are many solid, irrefutable reasons for retaining the monarchy that has made us what we are today.
First, there is the question of stability. The monarchy has kept Australia stable all these many years, while so many other countries have collapsed into chaos. In fact, statistics show that 98% of non-monarchies have experienced civil war, mass genocide, or major earthquakes in the past 20 years. The other 2% have ceased to exist. And there’s a very simple reason for this: whenever you have a head of state who is beholden to the fickle whims of the electorate, you have instability. The only way to forge a truly stable society is to vest ultimate political power in the hands of a person who has gained their position purely through an accident of birth.
If becoming head of state is dependent on some kind of achievement or qualification, the result is a steady stream of schemers and grafters “working” their way to the top. Hereditary monarchs eliminate all that undignified nonsense and ensure that the process is untainted by ambition or ability. What’s more, because the monarch doesn’t actually do anything, we eliminate the risk of the head of state interfering with things. Which, of course, is in turn only possible because we choose the head without any recourse to relevant qualifications whatsoever. A perfect closed system.
Secondly, there is the principle of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is a very, very important principle in democracies, as well as in car repair. You wouldn’t fix your car’s brakes if they weren’t broke, would you? It would be costly and counter-productive. The same goes for governments. And our government ain’t broke, is it? It’s a bit dented. A bit burnt around the edges. But not actually broke. It’s still chugging along. Thanks to the stability (see above) provided by our sovereign Queen Elizabeth the Second. So given that, why would we want to fix it?
Look at America. They had a system of government based on white men. It worked fine. But then they tried to fix it by electing a black man. And now look at them — bankrupt, riven by conflict, and subjugated to a godless Communist Islamic theocracy. Do we want that here? Because that’s what we’ll get if we chuck the Windsors out with the bathwater and elect Hamish and Andy as president or whatever idiotic scheme the Greens have dreamed up for us.
Thirdly, there is self-esteem. Every nation needs a healthy sense of self-esteem. What is a country without a good, positive self-image? That’s right — Holland. Need I say more? No, but I will. This is where the aforementioned royal engagement comes in. Haven’t you felt happier since you found out about William and Kate? Haven’t you felt more optimistic? Haven’t you walked with a jauntier spring in your step? Don’t you feel the world is suddenly alive with joy and hope? The hope that happy endings really can exist. After all, if it’s possible for a rich, university-educated young woman to meet and marry a rich, university-educated young man, the sky’s the limit, isn’t it? The royals give us permission to dream.
And then they mostly get divorced, which is good too, because it makes us feel better about the fact our dreams never come true. In other words, the royal family is a one-stop self-esteem shop. If you need inspiration, you’ve got William. If you need a sense of superiority, you’ve got Fergie. If you need a drunken hooligan dressed as Hitler, you’ve got Harry. And so forth.
So there are three completely compelling arguments right there as to why republicans should shut their ugly faces so we can all get on with our lives without their wheedly nasal voices squirming about in our brains like a swarm of nasty left-wing ear-worms. Of course there are more: the boost to the economy of royal wedding merchandise; the employment opportunities for royal watchers, who would otherwise be forced onto the public teat along with the rest of the profoundly mentally disabled; and most importantly of all, the continued good favour of the Lord Our God Almighty, who has ordained that the royal family shall reign over us and whose wrath will be great and terrible should we displease him.
Hence the slogan of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, “Keep The Queen Or Go To Hell”.
And indeed that’s what I say to all you naysayers who wish to spoil this most joyous of times with their petty modernism: go to hell, all of you, and let us enjoy our beautiful royals in peace.