The American news media should hang its collective head in shame for its fawning adulation of the British monarchy. This disgraceful behavior reached a fever pitch with Elizabeth II’s death and Charles III’s coronation.

If nostalgia and sentimentality spur the British to continue wasting their precious tax money supporting a quaint anachronism, then that is their right. Americans, however, should not encourage them and certainly should not admire them for such foolish behavior.

Granted, this is an old American gripe, but it is well worth repeating. The problem is not simply that so-called “royals” are an expensive luxury or even that it is unjust to grant so much honor and wealth to so few people just because they were born into a certain family. It is much more dangerous.

The very idea of monarchy—even limited, constitutional monarchy—is a fundamental threat to the principles upon which America was founded. Even worse, the British monarchy is an inextricable part of a much larger and more insidious lie that demands an artificial class distinction between so-called “nobles” and so-called “commoners.”

Americans believe, or should believe, that all men are created equal; that is, that humanity is not divided into nobles and commoners. Indeed, all Americans should remember and honor those who fought and died to rid us of the oppressive myth that God chooses who shall be born noble, who shall be born common, and who shall reign as king or queen. Americans are privileged to live under the best system of government ever devised by man, thanks to the vision, toil, and sacrifices of their imperfect yet intrepid predecessors.

Regrettably, American news organizations, both left and right, are leading Americans astray by worshiping the unearned celebrity status of the so-called British royals. They should be ashamed of themselves for not using the British monarchy’s recent transition as an opportunity to extol the differences between the American form of government and that of the U.K.

With all due respect to America’s British ally, Elizabeth II was just a figurehead who played very little role in actual governance. Her excessive privilege and prestige were not the result of any significant accomplishments on her part but the sheer luck of inheriting top billing in one of the oldest and most expensive propaganda campaigns in history.

The same can be said of Charles III and his relatives. What would any of them have accomplished had they not been given countless millions of pounds and an army of advisors, staffers, and servants?

Such people should not be adored or worshiped no matter how much their celebrity status might boost ratings or news site clicks. At best, they should be pitied for wasting their lives in vanity. At worst, they should be reviled for continuing the pretense of their superiority and the resultant wealth, fame, and privilege enjoyed at other people’s expense. Truly good leaders would admit the sham and call for an end to it.

The American news media should, too. Their obsequious coverage of the so-called royals is a betrayal of American values and a disservice not only to Americans but to all humanity.