A Catholic Cub scout is being thrown out of the club for refusing to swear to do his duty to the queen: “The 1701 Act of Settlement specifically discriminates against Catholics and only allows for Protestants to take the throne – so why should we make an oath to the monarchy?”
The scout could also point out that Catholics were second-class citizens from the 16th to the 19th century in Britain – with the enthusiastic backing of the monarchy. RC’s only attained full rights after the classical liberals (many of them Methodists) gained temporary control of Parliament – those same classical liberals who abolished slavery, overturned the corn laws, and generally put the monarchy and its cronies in their place.
And then, the cub scout could also point out that any oath to a monarch, much like an oath to a flag, is just idiotic and should not be done. After all, monarchs are only monarchs because their ancestors were more skilled at murder and thievery than their competition.
I’ve managed to find no evidence that monarchy is any better or any worse that republics and democracies. The pro-monarchy types always point to the Habsburgs who admittedly ruled quite well, but I could just as easily point to the French Bourbons who ran the French economy into the ground and deserved every ounce of what they received during the revolution. I could also point to the Swiss and to the highly democratic Poles who had the weakest monarchy in Europe. For 300 years, The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had an incredibly weak elected monarch, a parliament, widespread religious freedom, widespread freedom in general, and the largest and most prosperous lands in eastern Europe.
Switzerland, of course, has been highly democratic – and at peace – for a long, long time. They mostly only had problems when the Habsburgs were oppressing them.
There’s no fast and easy laws of politics here unfortunately, but we can be sure of one thing – no monarch deserves an oath. And no monarch deserves any more reverence than your grocer, for that matter. So may others follow this heroic cub scout’s example.
Of course, as a private club, the scouts can refuse entry to anyone they want. However, all that saluting and pledging of allegiance and swearing of oaths to the state has long struck me as quite dumb, and actually quite contrary to fostering critical thinking skills in young people.1:35 pm on June 15, 2008 Email Ryan McMaken