May 20, 2023
Source: Wikimedia Commons
NEW YORK—At a chic dinner party for some very beautiful young women, your correspondent shocked, shocked the attendees by quoting an even greater writer than the greatest Greek writer since Homer—Rod Liddle, a Spectator magazine columnist—with his explanation of why royalty matters: because it is “anachronistic and undemocratic.” Hear, hear!
A particularly attractive young woman, Alissa—on a par with Lily James—took me aside and asked me if I really believed what Rod Liddle had written and I had just quoted. She also asked whom I had in mind as the greatest Greek writer since Homer, and I answered, “Moi.” I then sat down and patiently if not too articulately, due to a large intake of vodka, explained: “God is also an anachronism, but I believe in him, as do billions of others. Anachronisms are what we need today more than ever, what with the discrediting of our past, of our national identities, and other such vile actions by woke leftists. Society needs something intangible to trust and respect; too much reality is no good.” Alissa listened but gave no sign of approval or otherwise.
Actually I believe in everything I said to this beautiful and charming young woman. Anxiety, fear, and depression are the dominant emotions of our time, especially in America. It is a time of extraordinary social isolation, where people report less companionship, less time with friends, and even less time with family. This is where God and his messenger, the Church, come in and play a very important role.
Yet the young no longer believe in God and do not attend their church regularly the way my generation did. What they do is complain nonstop about the crushing weight of the world on their shoulders. “An America addicted to banality and mayhem after watching TV all day and night needs to go to church more than ever,” I told the loveliest ever.
Although I kept it light, I am quite serious about what I said. There’s a sense of menace that pervades American life, with daily mass shootings, excessive drug-taking, and out-of-control alcoholism. I have never seen American society so divided, with many of its citizens, both on the left and on the right, feeling like extraterrestrials. Democracy has earned a resounding F where the US of A is concerned. While flirting just ever so subtly, I told Alissa how far less complicated the world was back during the 13th century, when everyone believed in God and the divine right of kings. Mind you, it was a pity there was no penicillin.
In the meantime, an obviously deranged Bagel Times daily warns of the dangers of a fascist takeover in America, but that’s because the paper has been taken over by talentless ideologues who cannot understand that not everyone in the country has had their brains fried in woke. Later in the evening, our whole group was involved in discussing the undemocratic side of monarchy. Americans view monarchy as something quaint that only past-it Europeans tolerate, and that some even go as far as supporting.
My host, Michael Mailer, was giving the dinner to celebrate the birthday of Joe Driscoll, a very personable man who lost an election for Congress in Pennsylvania some time ago by a hair. Joe was part of the young Kennedy group of a generation ago, some of whom made it to Congress, and on this particular evening he asked me why I hadn’t written anything about Robert Kennedy’s present run for president. I should, I told him, because I like dictators and he thinks and acts like one. “You’re spot-on,” said Joe. We then switched the discussion from politics to monarchy, and the greatest Greek thinker since Socrates illuminated the Americans as to what they’re missing.
There’s a repugnance on this side of the pond at the principle of hereditary power, but the division this country is experiencing at the moment could have easily been avoided if Washington had accepted the title of George I some 250 years back. The Brits feel intense pride in having an unbroken chain through history. “Monarchy transcends politics,” said the wise Greek elder. “It’s like taking a calming pill during the hurly-burly of screaming politicos.” But it was like whistling Dixie; not many agreed.
“We Greeks had kings and queens when the Brits were still eating grass and living in trees,” I ventured, trying to get the Irish on my side. “Leonidas of Sparta, Alexander the Great, Odysseus of Ithaca,” I ventured. “But he was a mythological king,” came a voice from the back. “What are you, a fact-checker?” said Michael, coming to my defense. Everyone burst out laughing.
Monarchy might be anathema to most Americans and an unimaginable curse to many West Indians, but it is of preternatural importance to countries like Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Not to mention Japan, which has the oldest royal family ever, loved by a united people. In view of the disuniting of America, I think Uncle Sam should try the institution, and I’ve got just the right guy for it: Prince Pavlos of Greece. His wife’s American and he went to school here, and he’s as royal as they come, much more than the recently crowned one in Britain. Let’s dump gaga Biden and vulgar Trump and go for the Greek royal. Pavlos the First sounds like a Yankee doodle dandy.