Downton Abbey’s Dowager versus Big Government

Watching the last episode of Downton Abbey, I found myself applauding the soliloquy of a fictitious character, Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, who made a full-throated defense of limiting the encroachments of big government. I would have posted an original post on the matter, but I have to give credit to Joe Carter from Acton Institute for beating me to the punch in one of his blog posts that I receive daily via email.

For those of you that missed it or don’t watch Downton, this particular plotline is over whether to cede control of the local hospital to a larger government trust under the promise of better efficiencies and more modern equipment. The Dowager stands essentially alone in her defense of local control. No need for me to prattle on. Watch the video and see for yourself the rousing performance.


Speaking of PBS, for those looking for another phenomenal drama, look no further than the show Mercy Street that comes on after Downton. The show is two episodes in, so now is a great opportunity to catch up on past shows and get prepared for upcoming shows. Mercy Street provides a welcome diversion away from British dominance on PBS, who benefits vicariously from the masterful production efforts of the BBC. As much as I enjoy the British shows, it is great to see a show set to one of America’s seminal historical moments, The Civil War,  and all of the juxtapositions it offers between loyalty to one’s notion of state and country, family, and traditions, the great harms created by war, and the evils and compromises of the “peculiar institution” of slavery.

I personally am still holding out hope for a Russian themed PBS drama, perhaps set to The Brothers Karamazov or the Fall of the Romanovs and the ushering in of the Bolsheviks, but the American drama is certainly a great addition.




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