Freedom's Lady Eclipses the Jubilee Queen and the Prince
As an accidental tourist in London during the Queen's Jubilee, I was amazed by the party but so disappointed by the missed opportunity. The world was watching as London threw a blow-out celebration of Queen Elizabeth's 60-year reign. Sadly, both the queen and Prince Charles abdicated the one useful role that remains for the modern monarchy: moral leadership. Rather than providing any meaningful sense of what it means to be uniquely British, they came frighteningly close to apologizing for it.
The Prince of Wales, commemorating his mother's Diamond Jubilee, exhorted the British people to be proud of the queen and the commonwealth that had given them "that essential sense of unity through diversity." The prince was borrowing from an April address to Islamic scholars at the Al-Qarawiyyin University in Fez, when he chose the same paradoxical words: "I find a certain amount of ridicule has come my way, but respecting other people's cultures is the only way to achieve unity through diversity." What?
The queen did no better when she thanked members of Parliament for commemorating her Diamond Jubilee with a stained glass window, saying that she was "reminded of the continuity of the national story and virtues of resilience, ingenuity, and tolerance."
It is true that the royals are mere symbols these days, but Britain invests much in this tradition. Is it too much to ask that they celebrate England's hard-won history of defending freedom and celebrating patriotism?
An American group, coincidentally in London at this time -- and reminiscent of the good ol' days when Americans made a defiant stand for liberty -- was assembled in Winston's Churchill's War Rooms as the Jubilee wound down. This band of Western culture aficionados was celebrating their finale dinner with Victor Davis Hanson, concluding a fortifying 10-day study of Western civilization under his guidance. The daily lectures down the Rhine River and time at Blenheim Palace near London were devoted to discussing profiles in Western political courage and military leadership while also applying historic lessons to today's cultural challenges.
If only the challenging and inspiring speech delivered by the formidable Baroness Caroline Cox that evening in Churchill's War Rooms could have been broadcast to the British people. Selected by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for her valiant defense of freedom behind the Iron Curtain, Caroline Cox -- an indomitable peer in the House of Lords -- delivered the soaring message that the royals failed to deliver to the people.
Lady Cox spoke of ideas that have power because they inspire the human soul to settle for nothing less than freedom. She told of her many travels into forbidden territories to bring encouragement and hope to the oppressed. She urged Britons and all Westerners to accept the responsibility at this particular time in history to rise up as defenders of liberty.
A woman of action, Cox has introduced a bill in the House of Lords entitled "One Law for All" that would restore the supremacy of British law while denying the jurisdiction of the more than 75 sharia tribunals that have asserted authority over Muslim marriages, family law, and contract negotiations in the U.K. Muslim women are trusting Baroness Cox to be their champion in the fight for equality to the degree that they are coming forward with testimonials to express support for the legislation.
Baroness Cox understands well that democratic civilizations order themselves according to core principles. Outsiders must come to the society understanding that they come to embrace the respected customs -- not to challenge, undermine, and change them. Now that Britain has invited the incorporation of contra-democratic practices imposed by clerical sharia, Brits must demonstrate the cultural will to reassert their own heritage, values, and legal standards.
One can only wonder what the Iraqi father who chatted with some of these Americans in a pub -- as the prince was uttering his empty remarks about unity coming through diversity on the corner television -- would have thought of Baroness Cox. He fled Iraq in search of freedom and justice, bringing his sons to a place where he hoped that they could thrive in a climate of liberty, capitalism, and opportunity. His encounter with the Americans he met in the pub certainly fueled his belief in these ideals. It is too bad that his queen and prince missed the point entirely.
As the Victor Davis Hanson travelers honored Baroness Cox with the traditional British "hip-hip-hooray," they also recognized her contributions with an exclusive toast -- one reserved for authentic defenders of freedom. In years past, the band of history-lovers has covered many miles marching through Greece, and they have looked over the hills of Rome to learn lessons on democracy. Over time, the classical history fans have adopted a signature toast that has echoed across parts of Western Europe as the group concludes its adventures. This year, they honored Baroness Cox with their special toast, as glasses were raised to cries of "eleutheria" -- the Greek word for freedom.