The late HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was laid to rest this last weekend in a private ceremony. As the United Kingdom and the rest of the world reflect on a life started just after WWI and ended almost a century later, we see a shining example of something we don’t talk about anymore: duty.
The men and women in our unformed services still know of it. The members of our military, police, firefighters, and other services know that all is not focused on self. Something is owed to family, community, and country.
No, I am not talking about Nanny State regimentation or socialist thralldom. I am talking about the same thing I did when I was a college instructor several years ago. I’d ask my educational charges: Who paid for the classroom? Who paid for the building, the grounds, and the very society we live in? Some were clueless. Others intelligently, but not wholly accurately, said taxpayers. Partly right.
My response was that in a society obsessed by rights, many have paid in duty. They paid with the blood that duty demanded here on the battlefields of the Civil War. It was paid for on countless foreign beaches and battlegrounds. For Prince Philip, as for my father, it was paid for in naval uniform in WWII.
There are those who find their duty in service to their family, church, or philanthropic pursuits. They are also people who know of sacrifice for something above and beyond themselves.
Rights are also vital and a free people should not tolerate an abrogation of their rights. But how long will those rights last without those willing to do their duty? How will will a city last without cops or firefighters? How long will public health last without paramedics, EMTs, the USPHS? How long could this nation be safe without border security? When it comes to city law enforcement and the border patrol, we may be about to find out.
Further on the domestic scene we have those who think it is their right to gain advantages or even get cash payments because of the color of their skin, where their parents came from, who they sleep with, or their gender. If they can settle on one gender. Others feel it is their right to ignore election results when they lose. They instead pay fealty to a bizarre cult of personality inspired by a figure who was not and is not Hitler, as some have accused him of, but who more resembles a deranged self-referential carnival barker with an excellent record of carnival administration. Others just cheat to win elections and consider it a fait accompli.
“One for one and all for none!”, a reverse of the Three Musketeers motto, is the modern political zeitgeist in both parties. There are exceptions. Men and women like Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, and Liz Cheney have the guts to fight back against those who obsess on rights but never think of their duties past their own political profit. Some are different than that. Prince Philip was different. He was a man of duty and honor. He will be missed. RIP, sir.