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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 20, 2005 / 11 Iyar, 5765

Long Live the Queen: She Still Matters — Britain's flexible democracy rests on the throne

By David Gelernter


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If the British royal family can't even dazzle Americans, the monarchy is truly up a creek — and Britons who think its demise won't matter except to snobs and tourists are in for a shock; the monarchy is central to British democracy.


Britons talk about the royals as if they were a long-running sitcom about to be canceled. In fact, if America has a big comfy family-sedan-style democracy, Britain's is a supple upscale sports model that can outperform any government on the road. We're not going to trade ours in; it suits us perfectly. But we ought to understand Britain's, for the pleasure of admiring some gorgeous governmental machinery — and to understand what the queen is actually for.


Make no mistake, the royals are in trouble: Prince Charming remarried in March and hardly anyone anywhere bothered to tune in. Recently, the conservative National Review praised the restraint, dutifulness and dignity of the queen, and suggested that she will soon be booted out the door.


Many admire QE2, but almost no one seems to like her. Maybe it's worth recalling that in 1952 when she took over, Winston Churchill was prime minister for the second time, and he immediately fell in love with her — platonically. She was young and (arguably) pretty. Anyway, a woman who could captivate Churchill must have been formidable; he did not captivate easily. In one of their last photos together, he gazes at her with rapt, wistful diffidence.


In public, the queen apparently sees it as her duty to be dignified rather than cuddly. People do need rocks to lean on as well as teddy bears to hug; but ours is the Teddy Bear Age.


Whether or not you warm to the queen, you should understand the institution. But don't expect the British to explain it to you. They have a history of obfuscation.

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The 19th century English journalist Walter Bagehot got things rolling. He wrote that the monarchy's "mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic." (It's just too wonderful to explain; so don't ask.)


Modern Britons are less reverent but they harp on the same theme: The monarchy's main business is entertaining the public. Britons don't like talking (or thinking?) about its role in British government.


But, in fact, the queen's main business is not to wow tourists; it is to exude stability. She helps the government seem stable so it can be turbulent without worrying anybody (too much). Ordinarily, stability and flexibility work against each other. The monarchy lets them coexist.


Take Prime Minister Tony Blair, newly reelected: He is entitled to a five-year term. But whenever he likes, he can dissolve Parliament, call an election and get himself another five years. There are no lame-duck PMs: Blair is not term-limited. And if he should lose interest or popularity, he can hand


his job to the colleague he chooses whenever he pleases.


Of course, the House of Commons can dissolve him too, can force his resignation whenever it wants. His own party can do the same. And in a national unity government (like the one during World War II), the PM can gather all major parties into the Cabinet, creating a new super party that can claim allegiance from its members in Parliament and endorse candidates in elections.


This extraordinary flexibility works well because of the queen. She is the ballast that helps keep the ship of state from capsizing no matter how much goofing around takes place on deck. (No need for ballast to be brilliant or exciting.) It's a law of organization that VPs come and go, but the top dog's disappearance makes the organization stagger.


That decapitated feeling is no good for a nation's mood or currency or economy. But with the soothingly familiar queen always on duty, Britons generally feel stable. And the feeling of great stability permits the reality of great flexibility. That is the monarchy's invaluable contribution.


Many nations try for the same benefits by electing a ceremonial president to a long term. But the queen has no party background; no one's ever voted for or against her; her term goes on and on. In comparison, a ceremonial president is a mere hopped-up politician. Britain's constitutional monarchy is like Queen Elizabeth: seems inscrutable; works


beautifully. But let's not trade in our republic.


American government is transparent (anyone can understand how it works) and so are we. Britain's government is opaque, and so are the British. Some things work out perfectly.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Yale professor David Gelernter is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, Jerusalem. To comment, please click here.


05/13/05: Politicized public schools have forfeited their right to exist 05/06/05: The Law of Loopholes in Action
04/29/05: The ‘We're Smart, You're Dumb’ Principle
04/22/05: To Dems, it's 1974 forever
04/18/05: Turning American soldiers into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind servant class who are expected to do their duty and keep their mouths shut


© 2005, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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