Canadians don't know much about Prince Charles. Lucky for him. - Macleans.ca

Canadians don’t know much about Prince Charles. Lucky for him.

Charles certainly does have a vision for the future. He hates it.

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According to a private survey conducted by Brian Mulroney’s PR firm, Canadians are apathetic about Prince Charles. An editor of the Daily Telegraph called the results of the poll “devastating” for the Prince and the Monarchy, but imagine how devastating it would be if Canadians actually knew what Charles believed.

Why? Because Charles is crazy.

The Man Who Probably Won’t Be King arrives in Canada this evening for an 11-day tour of our Dominion. The visit comes at an interesting time for our Head of State, with the recent fight between Rideau Hall and 24 Sussex over who is really in charge here compounding the public indifference to the Monarchy and the growing realization that the getting rid of it is virtually impossible.

Charles has an opportunity to buff the Crown a bit while he’s here. He’s giving four speeches and a few other “remarks” during regimental visits, but if he hopes to win over the 47 percent of Canadians who disagreed with the statement that the Prince “has a vision for the future,” he’d be advised to keep his thoughts on the future to himself. Charles certainly does have a vision for the future. He hates it.

In a series of speeches and articles over the past few years, Prince Charles has explained how he has come to see how his early views on architecture, the environment, and society are all tied together by a single unifying idea that he calls “the need for harmony.”What undermines harmony is a mechanistic worldview that puts humanity at the center of creation, sees technology as the locomotive of progress, and fuels a disconnection that permits us to plunder the earth in the name of the “freedom it brings us, not to say the profit.”

Here’s a typical passage:

Our perception of what we are and where we fit within the scheme of things is fractured. This is why I consider our problems today not just to be an environmental crisis, nor just a financial crisis. They all stem from this fundamental crisis in our perception. By positioning ourselves outside Nature, we have abstracted life altogether to the extent that our urbanised mentality is out of tune with the key principles underpinning the health of any economy and of all life on Earth. And those principles make up what is known as “Harmony.”

It turns out that Prince Charles is the David Suzuki of British royalty, a purveyor of tired anti-modernity slogans lamenting the disenchantment of the world, individualism, consumerism, our obsession with technology and profit, and our inevitable alienation from nature. In order to recover from this alienation and restore our lost authentic wholeness, we need to learn “the grammar of harmony,” restore our lost “balance,” and achieve “organic order,” by inventing technologies that “work with the grain of Nature rather than against it.”

What any of this means exactly, by way of policies, institutions  or technologies, Prince Charles does not say (perhaps on the grounds that this would be seen as an intervention into “politics”.) At any rate, I suppose it is not surprising that a man whose entire reason for living is based on a romantic attachment to the past is suspicious of modernity.  Charles does concede that while there may have been some worthwhile advances in the preceding centuries (steam trains perhaps, or maybe the Restoration) the twentieth century, as he sees it,  has been an unmitigated disaster.

Canadians are apathetic about the Monarchy? Given what Prince Charles believes, our remaining so is probably the best-case scenario.