Certain political leaders (not just one and not just a few) like to explain any opposition to the current liberal republican dominance as a hatred of "freedom". What freedom could that be? One of the freedoms supposedly held most sacrosanct today is the freedom of speech. I say supposedly because it matters a great deal what or who one is speaking about as to how far that freedom goes. Speak out against traditional authority and you are a heroic freedom fighter. Speak out against the wrong group of people and you are a hateful bigot, speak out about the republican form of government and you hate freedom, speak out against republicanism and you must be insane. To mock and ridicule, even in a simply humorous way, a minority group and you will be punished for your "hate speech" -at least depending on who you are. So, a religious leader telling his people that homosexuality is immoral is guilty of a hate crime but if you're selling pornography like Larry Flynt you will be celebrated as a champion of the freedom of speech.
Now, so there is no misunderstanding, let me say that I would rather have a freedom of speech that goes too far than to have none at all. However, it seems absurd to have to limit ourselves to a choice between two such extremes and, as has been shown, such rules that are enforced are never enforced in a consistent way. What I do have a problem with is useless "speech" that accomplishes nothing in terms of putting forth a rational opinion but which simply mocks and ridicules for a cheap laugh. Nor do I even have a problem with that in all cases but I do have a problem with it when directed at royals. This is one reason why I have always defended the laws, often attacked in the western world, which protect the King of Thailand for instance.
I have no problem with people mocking politicians (who in most countries are the ones who actually hold political power). I do not because politicians seek fame and notoriety, they seek power and they must take the ridicule along with the sycophancy in my opinion. However, I do not think that should apply to royals who, after all, did not seek the position they hold but were born to it and who, more often than not, have no power over the lives of their people anyway. I have a little bit of sympathy for simple celebrities in this regard, who are, after all, private citizens, but not as much as they too seek fame, attention and public notice to advance their careers. I was reminded of this when hearing a comedian refer to the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall as "Chuck and Cam". The Prince and Duchess, of course, took it with a laugh, but why should any royal be free to mock and defame simply for being a royal when they never asked to be put in that position in the first place?
In most countries freedom of speech was enacted for fairly noble reasons. Yet, what is the noble reason behind rock songs that mock Queen Elizabeth II, slanderous cartoons of the King of Spain or putting the face of the Dowager Queen of the Belgians on underclothes? How does that show support or opposition to any political policy or agenda? It is all simply useless, juvenile insults directed, again more often than not, and monarchs and royals who have nothing to do with policy or legislation. Part of the job of even ceremonial monarchs is to provide a rallying point, tied to the history of a country, to unite the people. This useless mockery undermines that important function and in my view should be outlawed. Insult and mock politicians all you like. They asked for it. But such pointless and defamatory attacks and slanders on royalty should be outlawed or at the very least be considered in as poor taste as racist cartoons and ethnic stereotypes. Of course if one were to question in any way the current definition of free speech or to dare to expect that royals should no more be mocked for their family ties than others for their skin color one would have to be...a Mad Monarchist.