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Sev

Thoughts on the Royal Wedding

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The Parable of the British Princess

I have never heard any British intellectual describe what the "British Dream" is, but I think I may have gotten the closest statement of it, accidentally. In a televised special about Kate Middleton's family, a British historian describes how her family is of 'endearingly humble' origins. "Why, just a few generations ago, her family was toiling in the coal mines owned by the Queen. It's sort of a parable of British society, where a commoner can grow up one day to become a princess."

Compare this so-called 'British Dream'--namely, to become a Royal and thus marry into wealth--to the American dream, which based on the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, which states that "all men are created equal..and endowed...with certain inalienable rights," including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

According to our dream, there are no nobles and royals, and furthermore, no one needs to marry into wealth in order to acquire it. For the first time in history, all men are officially free to pursue their own happiness, independent of the state, independent of the king/queen, and independent of the wishes and whims of others. Just look at all of our self-made millionaires and billionaires, who came from nothing and made something of themselves. This is the parable of the American dream.

While the fairytale story of this modern-day princess-to-be is very endearing to millions around the world, think of how the parables of our two countries compare to each other. If the parable of the founding fathers can be summed up by the declaration of independence, then ANYONE in America can go from 'rags to riches'. Whereas in Great Britain, so the congruous parable (of the pursuit and possibility of happiness) goes, one must marry into a royal family in order to be a princess, or to come into wealth, or to come into money.

In other words, success or wealth is something that happens to good people accidentally. It's not something that can be earned through volitional, productive action.

I may be reading too much into the Parable of the British Middleton as stated by a TV commentator, but there's no doubting the fact that we as Americans possess the spirit of the Declaration of Independence in a way that is unmatched by any other people in the world, including even our closest ally from whom we gained our independence and that sense of personal ambition.

Two hundred and thirty plus years after the founding of our country, the civilized world still hasn't figured out the Parable of the Declaration of Independence. In the UK, the mere fact of the continued (albeit token) existence of the royal family is partial proof of that.

In America, anyone can be a Kate Middleton. They don't need to be a princess to have a fairy-tale wedding. They don't need to be a royal to be wealthy. They don't need a direct pipeline to god in order to achieve spiritual and moral happiness.

Royal Wedding as Vehicle for God-Praising

You will note that the wedding itself wasn't about the couple--it was about God and Christ (i.e. the mystical and the sacrificial). The reverend said it best when he said that a wedding is the union of two people much like the union of Christ and his church (even though Christ had no church during his lifetime, but only disciples who preached--if that can be considered a 'church'). The requirement of marriage, said the pastor, is that the couple must devote themselves to self-sacrifice, and renounce themSELves, in order to fully realize themselves. That was the most fundamentally self-contradictory statement of the reverend, and also represents a contradiction in Christianity. You can't renounce the self, in order to realize the self.

He also said that the purpose of the union was to make a new life, so that future life in the name of God could be brought about. In other words, the union of two individuals is in the image of God, and for the purpose of procreation, so that there will be more Christians in the future.

The couple barely held hands in the chapel, and didn't kiss in the house of God (that would be sinful). All you heard were hymns and speeches praising God, while here is a couple who loves each other sitting off to the side. The wedding was about using a couple in love, in order to praise God. Think about what philosophical message that sends--your love for one another is secondary to the worship and praise of God. Your love exists only as a testament and representation of God's love for you. Your "love" must based in self-sacrifice (not self-esteem), and that self-sacrifice and self-abnegation will result in mutual self-realization.

If the royal wedding represents everything that the average British couple should look up to, then they should look up to a life of self-sacrifice in the name of God, as that is the purpose to which God sets them, upon their union.

The Royal Wedding depicted a beautiful bride and handsome husband in a beautiful setting. But you can't get away from the fact that the British brand of Christian self-sacrifice--the same brand that's been preached in England for millennia, was the ideological overtone of the wedding. This wasn't a secular fairytale. It was a religious fairytale, in which the only secular thing was the kiss on the balcony--the evil, sacrilegious kiss which wasn't permitted to be seen in the house of God.

The wedding was a symbol to all who were watching, that the British people, above all else (above even the love of each other), still place at least a symbolic value of God (and self-sacrifice to him), as well as historical symbolism, as their highest value. This wedding was a reminder that the British people will never change. Even 230 years after we gave them the correct statement of the American Dream, they have rejected it in favor of religion and historical preservation. Their notion of love is self-sacrifice, success is accidental and can only be achieved through marriage, and tradition is of greater value than progress.

Conclusion: our greatest allies haven't learned the primary lesson of the Founding of our country, the Parable of the American Dream, summed up by the Declaration of Independence:

"All men are created equal..and endowed...with certain inalienable rights," including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

Regards,

Sev A.

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This isn't really true on any count.

First: Marrying into wealth, or finding wealth by chance, or whatever is a fairy-tale both in the UK and the USA. This is why people play the lottery, both cultures have people that want to get rich quick without putting in the hard work. However, just like in the USA many others aspire to entrepreneurialism.

Second: The appeal of the royals is celebrity, that is about it. It's American Idol plus flags. It doesn't stem from a culture of servitude and class, it's just an anachronism.

Third: The UK is a much more secular society than the USA. Before I went to university I had never met a religious person, now I am at university I know 4 or 5. Although I was christened, my parents christened me while they were both atheists.

It isn't really socially acceptable to believe in a God that created the universe and demands adherence to biblical law. People here tend to find religious people something between amusing and repulsive. To support abortion bans, restrictions on gay marriage, creationism in education or abstinence-only education (none of these things exist here) is political and social suicide. The reason we have the pomp and ceremony around weddings and churches is the same reason we have it for the royals: silly traditions.

In summary:

The UK is less religious than the USA, and nobody here believes in social class, divine right of kings, servitude of the plebs or anything like that. However, we do cling to institutions that surround these things, such as the churches and the monarch - but only because of a love of tradition and quaintness. It is more Disney World than Charles First. This is a valid criticism of the UK, but the ones you suggested are not.

-Roberto Sarrionandia

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This isn't really true on any count.

First: Marrying into wealth, or finding wealth by chance, or whatever is a fairy-tale both in the UK and the USA. This is why people play the lottery, both cultures have people that want to get rich quick without putting in the hard work. However, just like in the USA many others aspire to entrepreneurialism.

Second: The appeal of the royals is celebrity, that is about it. It's American Idol plus flags. It doesn't stem from a culture of servitude and class, it's just an anachronism.

Third: The UK is a much more secular society than the USA. Before I went to university I had never met a religious person, now I am at university I know 4 or 5. Although I was christened, my parents christened me while they were both atheists.

It isn't really socially acceptable to believe in a God that created the universe and demands adherence to biblical law. People here tend to find religious people something between amusing and repulsive. To support abortion bans, restrictions on gay marriage, creationism in education or abstinence-only education (none of these things exist here) is political and social suicide. The reason we have the pomp and ceremony around weddings and churches is the same reason we have it for the royals: silly traditions.

In summary:

The UK is less religious than the USA, and nobody here believes in social class, divine right of kings, servitude of the plebs or anything like that. However, we do cling to institutions that surround these things, such as the churches and the monarch - but only because of a love of tradition and quaintness. It is more Disney World than Charles First. This is a valid criticism of the UK, but the ones you suggested are not.

-Roberto Sarrionandia

I think the original post was excellently crafted, and did in fact portray what the wedding itself highlighted and promoted. I think the slip up in the post is what you are responding to; The claim that this represents the "British people". You clear that up nicely, but still the subliminal philosophies that Sev pointed out were indeed there. Removing the conclusion that this represents the philosophy of everyone in the country, it's a very well-exectued analysis of what everyone is really being told at your average wedding.

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