The Closet Moderate: West Britons

Saturday, March 14, 2009

West Britons

If dead men's bodies really do spin in their graves when confronted with the misdeeds of their descendants, then one must imagine the corpse of Joseph P. Kennedy to be a kind of perpetual motion machine. Even so, those old Irish bones must have kicked into a new gear earlier this month month when Senator Edward Kennedy accepted a knighthood from the Queen of the United Kingdom.

This is not to say that old Joe didn't know how to kowtow when he had to -- far from it. When he was appointed ambassador to the UK in 1938, he allowed himself to be presented to the King with all the requisite bowing and scraping. The difference there was that his very appearance at the Court of St. James' was a slap in the face (if only a minor one) to the British establishment and their Anglo-American counterpart in this country. His son's situation is exactly the opposite: by accepting this honor (or honour, if you must,) Teddy has not only acknowledged the system of monarchy as legitimate, something politically incorrect in the original sense of that term, but has in essence glided his way out of Irishness and into the grand system of the British Empire.

Added to this ignominy is the fact that, no matter how this knighthood may be couched in terms like "honorary," in accepting it, Kennedy has acknowledged allegiance to a foreign sovereign. Should a private citizen wish to do this, I would not object to strenuously, though I might doubt his loyalty. But for a Senator to do so is surely against the founding principles of this republic. From this day forward, both of Massachusetts's Senators should be considered fake Irish.

2 comments:

Harold Lasswell said...

Do we know if he's actually accepted the title? I'd assume not, as Article I, Section 9 seems pretty clear on this:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Silent Cal said...

They usually have the Brits make it "honorary," so as to ignore the prohibition. I say you can't have it both ways, Sir Teddy.