Those Who Declined a Knighthood

There are many of these, including Paul Dirac and Augustus John, although both accepted Order of Merit. George Bernard Shaw declined an Order of Merit because as a socialist he believed that merit can only be judged in the very long term. He also wished to decline a Nobel Prize, but his wife persuaded him that it was an honour for Ireland. Michael Foot declined a life peerage, something which I admire in a Bevanite socialist. Oliver Cromwell declined to be King. Many feel that a title such as knighthood can be used politically. A Civil List Pension is not a title, it is an appointment by the Head of State and Parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister. If I were offered a knighthood I would almost certainly decline it as a U. S. dual citizen and left wing socialist, and because my rank of Uchelwr is much higher than a knighthood, because of proven descent from the Princes. I would accept Order of Merit if offered it because the merit of my work is already certain to last indefinitely. We know that from the scientometrics. GBS was an Irishman, and there are no longer any honours awarded in the Republic of Ireland. Yeats was also an Irishman, and accepted a Civil List Pension but declined a knighthood and became a Senator of the Free State. R. S. Thomas would certainly have declined all English titles, but might have accepted a Civil List Pension if he had been offered one. He was nominated a few times for a Nobel Prize in Literature, much against his will. Churchill declined the offer of Duke of London because he has a very low opinion of the House of Lords. So did his protege as a young man, the young Lloyd-George, who described the Lords as a collection of the unemployed chosen at random. However, the elder statesman Lloyd-George became Earl of Dwyfor after selling a few peerages. I like the Civil List Pension because it is very small, £2,400 a year, uncorrupted by money, and because it often honours great poets and scientists. Civil List Pensioner Michael Faraday also declined a knighthood, he was an elder of a nonconformist denomination that frowned on secular titles. The Baptists also frown on secular authority and secular honours. John Dalton was Quaker and would also have declined a title. Lloyd George was a Welsh speaking Baptist, and should have had nothing to do with politics, a low form of life in the words of T. E. Lawrence of Arabia, who also declined a knighthood. Lloyd George’s lowest point was the black and tans, who spread brutality throughout Ireland. A Baptist must not spread brutality or be involved in any war.


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