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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Queen Elizabeth, Marxslayer

There is no overthrowing something as rock-solid as common fondness for a happy old lady.

Politics - Mikhail Gorbachev State Visit to the UK - Windsor
Mikhail Gorbachev is greeted by Queen Elizabeth II at the entrance to Windsor Castle. (PA Images via Getty Images)

England has always been in the crosshairs of Marxist revolution. England was the first to industrialize in the late eighteenth century, and so was the first to experience the wrenching social change brought about by taking people out of farming villages and making them the wage-slaves of capitalists and their machines.

Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills” didn’t bring a new Jerusalem to England, but the Marxists surely tried to. Karl Marx himself built his journalism and book-writing career in London. His co-conspirator Friedrich Engels was often in England, too—in London, or at his father’s mill in Manchester. After them the deluge. Marxists of all persuasions saw England as the prize to be won above all. Lenin was certain that the English working class would revolt during the Great War and go over to the Marxist world-revolution cause. Bolsheviks after him sought especially to infiltrate and destroy the British Empire, as well as the United Kingdom itself.

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To be sure, the Marxists put on a good show. They certainly had the raw material required by Marxist analysis with which to work. For instance, one indication of the lingering legacy of industrialization and social upheaval is that classism remains a serious concern in Britain. The existence of something straightfacedly calling itself the “Labour Party” attests to this amply. And not just classism—outright Marxism has darkened the island, too. Postwar Marxists from Terry Eagleton to E.P. Thompson (1924-1993) to Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012) to Kim Philby (1912-1988) have done all they can to reprogram the U.K. into a Party-following, society-wrecking iteration of the harebrained ideas of Engels and Marx.

But just as England has been Marxism’s target, it has also proven to be its grave. Marxism, arguably, died in England. And it was Queen Elizabeth II who killed it. 

Elizabeth had wealth and colonies such as the world has never seen. And though she lost much of both, she did not lose her kingdom, or her subjects. Everything in Marxism says she should have been drawn and quartered in the streets by the proletariat. If anything, however, the people of the United Kingdom waxed yearly in their regard for their queen. It was a long-running refutation of the very heart of Marxism. It was, to my mind, Queen Elizabeth II’s greatest accomplishment.

The Marxists ought to have had a field day with the regina. The great sovereign, now to rest among the other sleeping crowned heads of the House of Windsor and the many others of monarchical line, was a woman, as the slur now goes, of “privilege.” She was born into a palace, draped in ermine at a tender age, given a scepter and an orb, bedewed with diamonds and pearls, set on a golden throne, and surrounded with liveried servants and ladies-in-waiting, a whole universe at her beck and call. She had Range Rovers, horses, stables, castles, bodyguards, a seemingly inexhaustible wardrobe replete with brooches and hatpins, and a Rolodex filled with the names of presidents, prime ministers, princes and princesses, kings and other queens, emperors and empresses, and even, for days when nobody else was picking up the phone, Hollywood stars. She could have lounged on the settee and been fed bon-bons by eunuchs fanning her with ostrich feathers. Marxists could have gone to town calling for revolution against her.

But they didn’t. Because they couldn’t. Queen Elizabeth II was everything the Marxists hated, precisely because she was everything that no Marxist can ever destroy. She was a Christian woman, first of all. She practiced charity, temperance, forbearance, and forgiveness. And, worse news for the Marxists, she took it to the bottom of her English heart that God had given her a duty. With God’s help she did it. She was no Cleopatra. She was a devoted servant of the people of her realm. She poured everything into what was, perhaps, the twentieth century’s hardest job. Just two days before she died she received Liz Truss, the prime minister who would head the Queen’s (now the King’s) government. It was the Queen’s fifteenth leader of Parliament. From before her 1953 coronation, as an ambulance driver in the Second World War, to the last exhalation from her nearly century-old mortal coil, Elizabeth was the handmaiden of her subjects. She did not loaf. She led by dauntless example. The Marxists couldn’t touch her.

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This leadership was the secret to the Queen’s success, and is also the secret to order in society everywhere. We are humans, and we want to be connected to other human beings. Not in an abstract way. We can tell when politicians tout “leadership” as something one says to get elected. Elizabeth II was something else entirely. She, by destiny and God’s grace, was the one who bore the impossible task of being that awful phantasmagoria of imagination and power, the state, in her tiny person. Queen Elizabeth II was great because she was good, and because she was good the people of Britain, and of the world, could love her. There is no overthrowing something as rock-solid as common fondness for a happy old lady. Louis XIV said the quiet part out loud, “l’état c’est moi,” but Elizabeth II lived it in dignified sacrifice: she was the state. The state was her. It was her people, her throne, her sceptered isle. All of it belonged to her. And they—we—loved her for it.

Former prime minister Theresa May put it best in a short eulogy in Parliament on September 9. “She was queen,” May said, “but she embodied us.” That is monarchy precisely.

Queen Elizabeth II even made us, Americans, in spite of ourselves and to the great consternation of Marxists everywhere, love that very emblem of a cobwebbed institution, the decrepit British crown. That anyone celebrates the thing defies all history and logic. Alfred the Great was a good start, but then you had the Norman conquest, the Wars of the Roses, the whole Cromwell thing, the speed bump of the American Revolution, the frightening brush with the Jacobins during the French Revolution, the showdown with Napoleon, the loss of India, the flirting-with-socialism business of dangling the royal toes off of Wigan Pier, and today you find such stellar duds in silken sashes as Prince Andrew and Meghan Markle. Who in their right mind sticks with an outfit like this? It should have been whacked off its perch by the Irish, by Gandhi, by Hitler, by Joan of Arc, by Tom Paine, and by the Sex Pistols. By Marx and Engels most of all. 

Time and time again it should have fallen. Above all, it should be held in contempt by the put-upon English themselves, those who toil in the mud, Flying Circus-style, in the shadow of the grand towers and royal belfries fronting the Thames. The English people should hate the crown, should strive, as doctrinaire Marxism teaches, to tear down the feudal monstrosity and set out on the road to classless socialism.

But it never happened. Marxism broke on the rocks of the House of Windsor. The Queen who just died was especially beloved. Her people flocked to her palace gates when news broke that she was on death’s door. They wept openly in the streets when she passed. An outpouring of flowers and words, a waterfall of grief were the answers to the broadsides of the Marxist haters. The same society that used to buy records by punk bands calling for the monarchy to be sent packing—the same society that sent “God Save the Queen” to number one in 1977—turned out in the thousands, the tens of thousands, more, to shed tears on the queen’s doorstep. 

The conclusion is obvious: people don’t hate the rich and powerful. They hate, instead, the phony and cheap. Marxist revolution never stood a chance in England. The queen crushed it with her cupped-hand wave, her determined smile. The British people could have gone on being lorded over by a crowd of Marxo-globalists in Brussels. But they decided to send the E.U. packing in 2016. Brexit, maybe even more than the Falklands War, was Britain’s finest hour under the Queen. The British prefer the awful “privilege” of the bluebloods of Windsor to the bureaucratic levelers in Europe who have no country of their own.

Here’s what the Queen reminded us of, and what Marx and Engels, and those who have taken the ideological road since them—ideologies of all stripes—don’t understand: people love their countries. It comes naturally to us. Our governments may be disasters, and usually are. But the Queen was not her government. The Queen was ours, not the politicians’. In a very human and even humane way, the realm belonged to the Queen as a personal possession, and we also took ownership of her as an adopted grandmother. She was the matriarch of the realm. She was the mainstay in a world of dizzying change. There can be no deadly abstraction when a people is yours, and when you are theirs. The Queen loved her subjects. They clearly loved her. And where there is love, there can never be Marxism. Where there is regard for one’s fellow human beings, there can never be the desire to kill them over class differences or perceived membership in the exploiting minority.

The Queen obviously loved her subjects in Asia and Africa, too. American liberals accused the dead queen of having stolen her riches and exploited the peoples of the colonial world. I am not going to make apologies for British colonialism, but it bears pointing out that many outside of England had no trouble accepting that a white lady in London was their sovereign. The only people who have hangups about race are white American liberals. White memsahibs, Black Madonnas, Queen Noor, the Yuan Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, Queen Victoria, Our Lady of Guadalupe—people around the world just don’t care about Diversity and Inclusion protocols. Diversity and inclusion are the default setting of humanity, outside of white American liberals. It comes as bad news to the modern-day Marxists that Africans and Asians don’t wish to murder people just because they are white. The messages of support for the Queen have poured in from the fragments of the British Empire—from places where, according to hateful Marxism, people ought to loathe the Queen for her very DNA. They don’t, though. The Queen crushes Marxism even from her bier.

And I have hope that Queen Elizabeth II’s mojo will keep on keeping England from Marxist overrun. True, the Queen’s son, King Charles III, has spent his life as a philandering weenie. The royals are people, just fallible and fragile fools like everyone else. But the crown does something. It presses out the silliness from the wearer and sobers even the giddiest mind. Some sovereigns are mad, of course. And some are evil even with the weight of the world on their shoulders. But England’s royal lineage, for all the fops and goobers who have passed under its banner (I’m looking at you, Henry VIII), has produced a surprising array of decent people who, when pressed, have tended to do, well, perhaps not the right thing always, but mostly not the worst thing. And that’s something—something to bank on, I believe.

There is a famous cartoon of Louis XIV by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863). It looks at first to be a savage satire. On the left side of the cartoon, Thackeray draws the regalia of French kingship, the tights and high heels and ridiculous wig. Next to this, Thackeray draws a stooping old bald man with an unattractive paunch. This unimpressive pensioner is the king in his merely human form. Finally, putting regalia and man together, one gets, voila, Louis XIV. The Sun King.

It may seem that Thackeray is trying to say that crowned heads are all a joke, but I think it is not satire at all. Thackeray has not told us anything we don’t already know. Of course, underneath the frippery, there’s a frumpy old person, probably gassy and arthritic. Kings and queens have false teeth, dandruff, acne, bunions, all the humiliations of the flesh. But one brackets this for royalty. One recognizes that the costume is more than just make-believe. There is a state at stake. There is a heritage, a history, a tradition piggybacking on that outlandish display. And, somehow, one loves this arrangement, this very odd dress-up routine that we know as the monarchical system. The old dude isn’t just pretending to be Louis XIV. He is Louis XIV. And he is, yes, the state. So when the king is dead, we all cry, “Long live the king!” We want the tradition to continue. We want our country to be embodied in someone we can see. We want the state to be a man or a woman, so that we can rally around him or her—it—and know that virtue of patriotism which swells hearts worldwide.

Patriotism is not limited to the subject, you must understand. That is the thing that keeps globalists up at night, the thing that will finish globalism in the end. I am an American, trained in the art of hating George III. But as I get older, I find I can’t keep up the charade. I don’t hate him. I don’t hate the English crown. I have loved, from afar, the great Queen Elizabeth II. I have loved her stiff upper lip, her stern and finely shaped head, her elegant silver hair, her matronly gaze, her heart which burned warm and true for England. I have loved her Shakespearean bearing, her steady soul. Who could not love such a woman, such a specimen of what humanity can become when it bucks up and does what’s required?

Would that we had a real monarchy in America, instead of the cheap and tawdry substitutes with which we ended up. Those fake royals—the Bushes and Clintons and Kennedys and Bidens—don’t love America. They don’t love Americans for sure. They love only money, and not country. I will take the House of Windsor over the House of Obama any day. And I count myself more American because of it, more fully Yankee because I have made peace with a foreign crown.

This deep and abiding love, between sovereign and people—even people like me, un-English in the extreme—is what keeps the howling wolves of ideology at bay. Queen Elizabeth II could very easily have ended up stretched out on a guillotine like her colleagues in France a while ago. She could have gone the way of the namesake of the current king. But she didn’t. She stared down an honest-to-goodness globalist Marxist revolution—1968, and counting—and it was Marxism that flinched and withered. England is not perfect; but England is not Marxist. Queen Elizabeth saw to that.

Put it this way. Mikhail Gorbachev died just before Queen Elizabeth II did. Yes, very fitting. And the Soviet Union died on her watch, too, as did East Germany. As did Stalin. And she smiled coolly through it all. She smiled coolly while helping to strangle the unholy things to death.

Queen Elizabeth II had many titles. I humbly give the fallen sovereign one of my own: Marxslayer. She saved England from the Reds. She kept the English people safe from the worst excesses of the Continent.

Rest well, good and noble Queen. And may Marxists, and all other antisocial ne’er-do-wells, never rest at all, so long as the sovereign reigns in England, and the spirit of Elizabeth Magna still quickens the land.