To avoid becoming yesterday’s man who gets cancelled today, everyone now needs his own metaphorical statue to topple. Though lacking a football field to kneel on, Prince Harry, the transplanted royal pain in the Left Coast, has found his.
He’s throwing shade on what the sun has already set on: the British Empire.
As the Daily Mail reported Monday, “Prince Harry today faced criticism after he appeared to take a swipe at the British Empire by saying the history of the Commonwealth ‘must be acknowledged’, even if it's ‘uncomfortable’.”
“The Duke of Sussex, 35, made the comment as he joined wife Meghan Markle, 38, for a video call with young leaders from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust last week that was made public today,” the paper continued.
“Speaking from his Los Angeles home, Harry, whose grandmother the Queen is head of the Commonwealth, said: ‘When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past,” the Mail also wrote. “So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.’”
“The statement appears to be a swipe at the British Empire,” the Mail added.
An irony here is that Harry is lamenting something, colonization, more than some descendents of the colonized do. For example, a Zambian man I knew argued that African colonization was a positive force; and a fellow from India I knew despised Mohandas Gandhi because, he explained, the Indian leader’s independence efforts drove experts and expertise from his country.
To better understand this attitude, consider that European tribes were once colonized by the Romans — who then spread Christianity, Western civilization, and technology and built infrastructure throughout Europe (e.g., roads, aqueducts, amphitheaters). Likewise, the two aforementioned men argued, later Europeans did the same in the Third World.
Related to this, Professor Walter E. Williams delved into colonization’s possible benefits in 2004. “Maybe your college professor taught that the legacy of colonialism explains Third World poverty. That’s nonsense,” he wrote.
“Canada was a colony. So were Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong,” he continued. “In fact, the richest country in the world, the United States, was once a colony. By contrast, Ethiopia, Liberia, Tibet, Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan were never colonies, but they are home to the world’s poorest people.”
Of course, it would've been better if civilization-building glories had been spread via suasion and salesmanship rather than the sword, but that’s a non-starter. This is Earth, not Heaven, populated by humans, not angels.
Speaking of humans, not angels, brings us to Meghan Markle. She bashed Britannia, too. “We’re going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it’s only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this,” NBC News reports her as having told the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust leaders.
Markle additionally said that “it is also a time of ‘reckoning’ when individuals should be putting their hands up to ‘own’ their past wrongdoings,” the Mail tells us. But there’s a problem with this.
While my telepathic ineptitude precludes providing specificity, it’s certain that Harry, Markle, and today’s other value-signalers have much sin polluting their souls. Something else is also certain: Those sins don’t involve enslaving or colonizing others (though some say Harry has been colonized by Meghan).
This is the point: Megharry (Meghan and Harry) aren’t at all confessing their “own” past wrongdoings. They’re not confessing anything.
They’re talking about the alleged sins of the long dead (who aren’t around to defend themselves).
The reality also is that talking about the “sins” of those who can’t talk back doesn’t make Markle even “a little uncomfortable.” It likely makes her feel great. After all, criticism comes naturally; it’s self-criticism that stings.
What Megharry are (is?) doing with their pretense of public confession is easy: They’re deriving the social approbation that flows from showing humility and being the “big man who can admit it when he’s wrong,” while only actually talking about others’ alleged wrongs. No one is supposed to notice they’re outsourcing their guilt, of course.
What can drive this psychologically is interesting. Note that it’s easier to avoid confronting your actual sins if you distract yourself by renting others’ sins. It’s self-deception masquerading as self-reflection.
For the rare value-signaler who may be interested, here’s how you actually address your own faults: Ditch the “values” and embrace the objective. Consider the Seven Deadly Sins — greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, pride, wrath, and envy — and see where your guilt lies.
In this vein, measure yourself against “the elements of morality”: virtues. Examples are charity, chastity, courage, diligence, kindness, faith, hope, honesty, justice, temperance, prudence, patience, forgiveness, humility, and love. Do this diligently, and then you may actually be “a little uncomfortable.”
The larger tragedy here is that outsourcing guilt not only blinds individuals, but also nations, to characteristic sins. As to this, what most plague us today are not the sins of the past but those of the present. For example, fatherlessness and our 40-percent illegitimacy rate aren’t caused by long-dead Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and toppling statues won’t make Charlie and Chelsea chaste.
Really, our guilt outsourcing reflects moral regression, being in a way reminiscent of primitives’ human sacrifice: Perhaps to expiate their sins, yesterday’s pagans might have slaughtered those in their present — today, we slaughter those of the past.
(Hat tip: American Thinker.)
Image of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: Screenshot of YouTube video by Sky News Australia
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.