"Delusions of Grandeur… Or Cloak of Modesty?"
By Bill Bonner
"A dear reader objects to our use of the “royal we”:
“Hello Bill, for the most part, I enjoy reading your Diary. However, I do find your use of the ‘royal we’ in all your writings very off-putting. Even though I’m Canadian, I despise the monarchy, and I’m sure that many in your great republic to the south share my feelings on this. Am I missing something? Has it already been explained, perhaps? If not, what is the rationale for this?”
The Queen uses the “royal we” to signify that she is not speaking for herself, but for the Crown… an institution that was around for hundreds of years before she was born and will, presumably, outlast her by hundreds more.
Here at the Diary, we do not use the “royal” we. We use the “common” we… a plebian, down-market, gutter kind of we, with no pretension to grandeur, nor even mediocrity.
For here we are, writing from a house we didn’t build… in a country that is not ours… wearing clothes we didn’t design… looking out on rain we didn’t cause… and passing along ideas that are not original. Even when we think we have had a new idea, we discover later that someone had the same idea 2,000 years ago.
Not one molecule in our body, thought in our brain, or feeling in our heart is of our own making. It would be vanity to use first-person singular; there is nothing singular about who we are or what we do.
No, we have neither scepter nor orb; all we have is a laptop computer.
We wear no royal purple. We favor brown and grey. We dress in dull colors so we may think in vivid ones.
We have no throne, no influence, no privilege, no position, and no armed guards to protect us.
We speak not for the Crown, but for all those common people who try to put two and two together… And we use “we” to recognize all those real thinkers whose ideas we have dragooned into our service… all those tortured poets whose songs we have misunderstood and misused… all those clever people whose insights we have purloined and presented as if they were our own… all those scientists, statisticians, and economists whose numbers we have hijacked and abused… and all those generations that have come before us and – by bad luck, bad manners, and bad judgment – learned painful lessons so we might be spared from learning them again…
“We” speak for them all – as best as we can.
Time and Love: As time passes, the conceits of youth… the illusion of timelessness… the passions and competitions – to have the biggest bank account, the biggest car, the biggest house, the biggest muscles, and the biggest you-know-what – all get dropped along the way, like discarded pianos on the Oregon Trail. All that is left is the shriveled up, naked reality… of time, love… and death.
And “I”? Does it matter what “I” do? What “I” want? “I” am too small… too nothing… too ephemeral. “I” am here, but “I” will be gone soon… in a flash, vanished, like a lost civilization or a forgotten language. Not even I care what “I” think.
So let us at least speak for a group… not of royals, but of commoners… and use “we” in sympathy with all those sinners, geniuses, half-wits, saints, and jackasses that came before and will come after us…
Those who will delight in Heaven for reasons we will never understand… or cry in Hell for all eternity because they forgot to fill out their census form. Yes, let us speak for all those who feel most intensely and horribly the vacant truth… They are as meaningless as we are."