Published On: June 26th, 2023

Spoken by Tommy Lascelles, as Elizabeth II’s private secretary, in The Crown. (Netflix)

The rot Tommy Lascelles is talking about is the inclination of modern monarchs in Great Britain to play footloose and fancy-free with the traditions of the monarchy.  This individualism, in Tommy Lascelles opinion, led to various national disasters including abdication by Edward VIII in 1936.  Tommy Lascelles would have been horrified at the shenanigans of Andrew and his Jeffrey Epstein connection, of Harry and his attacks on his grandparents, and of Charles and his connection to Camilla, the third party in his marriage to Diana, and now a crowned Queen.

It’s in the small things where the rot starts.

America has its own instances of unnoticed, creeping rot.  Miss Constitution would add to the line in the play, and always innocuously.  For example, in 1968, Congress proposed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, supported by the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, to provide a three-day holiday for federal workers.  It was argued that this would encourage family togetherness, minimize midweek interruptions of production, and encourage visits to national monuments.  The first casualty of this idea was the elimination of George Washington’s birthday as a national holiday.  We now have President’s Day on the third Monday of February, eliminating any chance that the holiday could actually fall on Washington’s actual birthday of February 22.

All America’s Presidents are not worth honoring.  Some of the most important have been deliberately dishonest with the American people to the nation’s great harm.  Some became President by deceitful means but were otherwise excellent leaders.  Some were honestly elected but once in office overwhelmed by power and ego and very destructive.  Miss Constitution is not going to name names now, but President’s Day means nothing, represents nothing, and has eliminated from our collective memory the one indispensable United States President – George Washington.

One of the premises of our unique system of governance is that we recognize individuals, not groups.  It is individual behavior that is recognized as having honor or no honor.  It is individual behavior that obeys the Rule of Law.  It is individual behavior that is recognized so that others might emulate it.  The behavior commonly recognized as belonging to a group is a mob – mob lynching, mob retreat, flash mobs – all so individual behavior can disappear into the haze of the unaccountable.

Slowly, our society now forces its citizens to honor its inherent groups rather than its inherent honorable persons.  We are now forced to recognize what we would otherwise personally reject.  “There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.” – Henry David Thoreau.

It’s in the small things where the rot starts.

Dress codes have disappeared.  The notion of “appropriate,” of “modest,” of “decent,” has simply vanished in American society.  One of the premises of our unique system of governance is that citizens have a duty to obey all four bundles of our Rule of Law.  One of those bundles is Unwritten Law, or the law of courtesy and comity.  It is not courteous or respectful of others to go unwashed and unkempt.  It is not courteous of others to reveal what no one wants to see or any behavior that belongs in the privacy of a bathroom or bedroom.  The “naturalness” of the human condition is accepted by all but is not to be shared with all.

Having been selected as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775, George Washington was in constant danger of being killed or kidnapped.  The American Revolution was really a civil war between American rebels and American loyalists to Great Britain.  On March 11, 1776, he sent out general orders asking his commanding officers to select four soldiers who might be serve as special protective force for his person.  Part of his general order:

“His Excellency depends upon the Colonels for good men. . .for their sobriety, honesty, and good behavior. . .he wishes them to be. . .handsomely and well made, as there is nothing in his eyes more desirable, than cleanliness in a soldier, he desires that particular attention may be made, in the choice of such men, as are neat, and spruce.”

Neat, spruce, and clean – these were Washington’s Life Guards – fifty hand-picked men who were specially trained to protect him and the important documents and cash he carried with him at all times.  They wore special uniforms, carried their own special banner, and emulated the meticulous George Washington who showed respect to all persons he ever came in contact with through his immaculate dress and impeccable manners.

It is in the small things where the rot starts.

One of the premises of our unique system of governance is the notion of personal honor.  Personal honor secures the Oaths of Office of all the nation’s public servants, all military officers, new legal citizens, and all in private life who promise some form of fidelity.  It is especially damaging to the country when Presidents do not honor their commitment to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress.  It is George Washington, first President of the United States, whose honor in this regard has never been questioned.

Washington was not unfamiliar with the flaws of humanity, but he was profoundly shocked by the discovery that the first surgeon general of the Continental Army, a Harvard-educated surgeon, a prominent Massachusetts Son of Liberty, a person selected to greet Washington when he arrived in Cambridge to inspect his troops, turned out to be a British spy.  Washington interviewed him; he lied.  His notes to the British of troop numbers and placements were encrypted.  Locals broke the code and Church was imprisoned and then exiled to the Caribbean where his ship was lost at sea.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to notice all the small things that are having a profound negative impact on America’s social order.  Technological advances have given human beings a kind of “permission” to abandon all aspects of the Rule of Law, including personal honor.  The universals are no longer passed on to new generations:  virtue is no longer seen as an ultimate purpose, human rights from God are no longer understood as unalienable, and duty is no longer required as a handmaiden to Liberty.

What we can do and should do is never forget to honor the individuals who, in our history, deserve it.  Washington’s birthday should stand alone; the Washington monument should never be eclipsed in height; Washington’s place on Mt. Rushmore should forever be illuminated; and, as Abraham Lincoln admonishes us, “that during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place.”  Miss Constitution feels the same about Elizabeth II – regardless of our Revolution.

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    About the Author: Miss C

    M.E. Boyd, "Miss Constitution" is an attorney, author, and instructor in Business, Educational, and Constitutional Law. She has appeared on television and radio and speaks publicly on American history, the founding documents, and current political issues. Her mission is to help citizens understand the Founding philosophies behind the system so that we can-together-help preserve the blessings of liberty and prosperity. Read more about Miss C