In praise of kings
My brother went to London a little while back and it turned out to be during the Queen’s Jubilee celebration and he wrote the following: Celebrating 60 years of non-merit-based ultra-lavish living by hereditary entitlement.
Now, if you’ve ever met my brother, you know that he’s far smarter than me. But I think that there’s more to royalty than simply that.
When I was a kid, I remember reading once that Alexander Hamilton, and to a lesser degree, John Adams, argued for an American king. Hamilton envisioned that George Washington would be made king for life with the ability to veto all congressional bills.
For those of you that don’t know much about Hamilton beyond him being the dude on the $10 bill the guy that was killed by Burr, he’s a fascinating – rum-drinking – fella.
The current arguments now about states rights (Republican/Jefferson) versus federal rights (Democrat/Hamilton) were essentially started between him and Jefferson and continue to this day.
I’ve always believed as my brother has, which is that non-merit based leadership is wrong. But Hamilton was a brilliant man, so I wondered how he could have stumbled so much on this topic.
Now that I’m older, I see things differently.
You see, Hamilton was a founder of the Society of the Cincinnati, which honored Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus – a man who did not want to lead Rome, but did in one of its darkest hours, and then immediately abdicated after he had done what he needed to do.
Yes, there are centuries of stories about rulers that simply took from the population, but in modern times, are the people that have nothing but naked ambition any better?
Are Anthony Wiener or Sarah Palin any better to rule just because they have over-sized egos and ambition? Are they really any better than two exceptionally educated men that lost their mother in youth and put themselves in harms way like Princes William and Harry?
I’m not advocating a return to a monarchy. But if there’s one thing I know to be true – and that history has shown over and over again – it’s that power corrupts.
And some of the best leadership humanity ever had was had by people like Washington, Cincinnatus, and Gandi; people who never really wanted power in the first place but did it because it was their duty. What was the film The King’s Speech about if not about a man who did not want to lead but had to?
Baby Prince George VII will never lead in the pure sense of the word, but I hope that he “leads” as King George VI did, and as his grandmother Diana did, through service, grace, and a sense of duty.
In fact, King George VI’s wife, when asked why the family didn’t go to Canada during the Axis bombings said, “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.”
I suppose what I’m really saying is that good souls come from all parts. By extension, good leaders.
A friend on Facebook once wrote scathingly of Alice Walton – who essentially gives away much of her fortune – purely because she was born a Walton, as if she had any control over that.
In other words, she detests Alice because of original sin; that she was even born.
I say we judge people on what they’ve done with the life they’re given not on the life their given.
To do otherwise makes about as much as sense as being super proud that one is right-handed.
Location: enjoying the weather finally
Music: My life’s become as vapid as a night out in Los Angeles
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