The difference between us is more than just hats and crowns

Alastair Grant / AP Photo

 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II arrives by horse drawn carriage in the parade ring on the third day, traditionally known as Ladies Day, of the Royal Ascot horse race meeting at Ascot, England, Thursday, June, 16, 2011.

As the story goes, in the summer of 1711, Queen Anne was looking for a nice place for a horse race and found it at Ascot; she offered a prize of 100 guineas and seven horses ran. In 1813 the English Parliament, which traces its heritage back another 500 years, passed an act making Ascot a public race course and in 1913 passed another act creating an authority to manage the racecourse.  It was a queen’s idea and remains a queen’s tradition (kings too) to this day; Queen Elizabeth goes every year, she likes horse racing although we are not told about her wagers, one suspects that she makes a friendly or wager or two with one or more the royals wearing flashy hats and stylish outfits.

The English like to make a wager, today Cantor Gaming announced a deal wherein its technology will provide odds on the English stock market to punters.  We all talk about Wall Street as gambling, a casino and such, but pretend we are using metaphors, the English simply acknowledge the truth.  Given our long and connected history it is difficult to understand how we ended with such different moral attitudes toward gambling.  Attitudes, not behavior, we gamble as much as the English, but like a good Woody Allen character we are conflicted by our behavior.  So, while the Queen of England is honoring a national tradition, supporting an important economic institution and enjoying an essentially gambling activity the President of the United States is not.

It is not conceivable that President Obama would do what the queen is doing; after all he famous told corporations to stay away from Las Vegas.  He admonished Americans and American businesses to meet and vacation someplace other than Las Vegas and not waste their money on Vegas and gambling.  It the midst of a national recession and the worse recession in Nevada’s history, the president single-handedly drove hundreds of millions of dollars of business away from Las Vegas and Nevada; government agencies were forbidden from meeting in Nevada and he put the moral weight of the presidency behind an effort to keep private business away also.

Now we know that the man, Barrack Obama, is a sports fan, and I would lay you ten to one that means he has made a wager or two on a basketball or football game in his life.  The president’s fight with Vegas is old news and he has backed off that statement; and since that time, much of the convention business that cancel immediately after his statements has returned, but the contrast between our private behavior and public morals still intrigues me.  Unlike English, we do one thing and say another.  How did that happen anyway?  Are we as a society fundamentally dishonest or are we just repressed and conflicted as Freud said all people are?


0 Responses to “The difference between us is more than just hats and crowns”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This is a personal blog and the information in articles posted here represents my personal views. It does not necessarily represent the views of people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with, and is not sponsored or endorsed by them unless stated explicitly. Comments and other public postings are the sole responsibility of their authors, and I shall not take any responsibility and liability for any libel or litigation that results from information written in or as a direct result of information written in a comment. All trademarks, copyrights, and registered names used or cited by this website are the property of their respective owners. I am not responsible for the contents or the reliability of any articles excerpted herein or linked websites and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. I cannot guarantee that these links will work all of the time and have no control over the availability of the linked pages.



%d bloggers like this: