How the Royal Family helps "normalize" deep injustices around the world
Understand that the Queen’s death is being used by the corporate media to shape our emotions in profound ways
A new report in The Irish Times that shows the Royal Family has about $30 billion in inherited wealth and a special exemption from paying inheritance taxes encapsulates much of what I see wrong in the world today: the rich get richer, US billionaire Jeff Bezos pays a 1% tax rate, income inequality in the US is at all-time highs, and life expectancy among Native Americans dropped by six years during COVID. And that's just a small part of the story.
In the US, the constant and wholly uncritical coverage of the Queen's death bothers me. I see two main problems: first, the Queen led a family that benefited from the ravaging and plundering of peoples around the world who lived in colonies subjected to British rule. The Royal Family also extensively profited from the slave trade and has yet to even have a conversation about reparations. Harvard historian Caroline Elkins recently published an excellent book that explains much of these unpleasant features. It is called Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire. It is undeniable that British colonial rule was utterly brutal and that millions were killed. The Queen and other Royals gave it legitimacy and benefited greatly.
The second problem is that the coverage of the death of the Queen is being used to try to make us all feel more comfortable with extreme levels of inherited wealth and class dominance. Citizens cry over the Queen's death based mostly on the mythology constructed about her rather than on any historically accurate information. The media coverage also creates a powerful emotional hold that makes acute disparities in wealth seem perfectly natural. It’s important to recognize that the Royal Family did not earn their wealth by tilling the land or working hard.
Let's reflect on how the Queen's death lands on us emotionally. Let's try to prevent the pageantry from making us too comfortable with some very unfair features of our society.