Tuesday, April 20, 2004

First, I've given up on William F. Buckley when it comes to Israel. I guess I shouldn't expect him to be a Kahanist, or a Likudnik, or even a strong pro-Zionist- he supports Israel, and that's cool- but his views on the subject are quite leftish and seem overly in favor of the Palestinians' view. And the way he refers to Yassin here, and seems to imply that settlements are worse than suicide bombers- yuck. Perhaps it's being uncharitable, but I think a big part of it has to do with his Catholicism. Ah well.

To continue being uncharitable, when I see a horror scene such as on the cover of today's NY Times- after an accident on a LIRR train, rows of victims strapped to backboards in Penn Station- I wonder how many are really injured, and how many see this as a money-making thing. Ah well. I blame the lawyers for my attitude. Sympathies to all, and the picture is quite spooky- like the aftermath of a terrorist attack, God forbid.

So. The Times also tells us that Harvey Weinstein, of Miramax, has been knighted by the Queen (the knighthood type given to people who live in the US). Now, I don't begrudge him this- I'm sure it was earned, and lots of people, including even presidents, accept this honor. And my feelings toward the British monarchy are of a different class than those I hold toward tin-horn dictator "kings." But this reminds me of something I wanted to rant about. And then, also at National Review Online today, Jay Nordlinger, after seeing a bio line in an article in the Wall Street Journal that read, simply, "Abdullah II is the king of Jordan", wrote the following:

"Somewhat cool, huh? I mean, how would you like your biographical line to read, 'John Smith is the king of [X country]'?"

Now, I think those short bios are cool, yes. For example: "George W. Bush is President of the United States." But my answer to his second question, which I even emailed him, is "Not very much." I'm a republican, with a small "r." It's part of the glorious heritage of being an American. And I don't like it when others aren't so. A move to Canada, for example, entails coming under the rule of the British monarch. OK, barely OK. Ditto accepting a knighthood from her. (And yes, I know the Founding Fathers, and State Department and military rules to this day, give monarchs the respect they're due in historic custom.) But it still irks me. Wouldn't it be interesting if in a movie like "King Ralph" or "The Princess Diaries" or "The Prince and Me" the American character would refuse a royal position because it went against his or her republican sentiments? Yeah, I know, it'd be a really short and boring movie.

Of course, when Britain ran the Arab world, and other places, they actually invented monarchies to govern countries- Jordan, for example, which we just mentioned. Many European countries did the same, importing kings, mostly from Germany, which had hundreds to spare (Greece, for example). Why, oh why? Republicanism- it's the way to go. At least if you're not British, or a European (or other) democracy with an ancient line to preserve.

I'm quite sure my feelings play a big part in the issues I have with messianism as it's usually understood in Jewish tradition.


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