Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. Therefore atheism did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further: and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Cæsar) were civil times. But superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new primum mobile, that ravisheth all the spheres of government. The master of superstition is the people; and in all superstition wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order.
So this is where all the vapid talk about the 'soul' of the universe is actually headed. Once the hard-won principles of reason and science have been discredited, the world will not pass into the hands of credulous herbivores who keep crystals by their sides and swoon over the poems of Khalil Gibran. The 'vacuum' will be invaded instead by determined fundamentalists of every stripe who already know the truth by means of revelation and who actually seek real and serious power in the here and now. One thinks of the painstaking, cloud-dispelling labor of British scientists from Isaac Newton to Joseph Priestley to Charles Darwin to Ernest Rutherford to Alan Turing and Francis Crick, much of it built upon the shoulders of Galileo and Copernicus, only to see it casually slandered by a moral and intellectual weakling from the usurping House of Hanover. An awful embarrassment awaits the British if they do not declare for a republic based on verifiable laws and principles, both political and scientific.
I believe in political equality. But there are two opposite reasons for being a democrat. You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in the government of the commonwealth, and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy. On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows. That I believe to be the true ground of democracy. I do not believe that God created an egalitarian world. I believe the authority of parent over child, husband over wife, learned over simple to have been as much a part of the original plan as the authority of man over beast. I believe that if we had not fallen...patriarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government. But since we have learned sin, we have found, as Lord Acton says, that 'all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' The only remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of equality. The authority of father and husband has been rightly abolished on the legal plane, not because this authority is in itself bad (on the contrary, it is, I hold, divine in origin), but because fathers and husbands are bad. Theocracy has been rightly abolished not because it is bad that learned priests should govern ignorant laymen, but because priests are wicked men like the rest of us. Even the authority of man over beast has had to be interfered with because it is constantly abused.
The prince's official job description as king will be 'defender of the faith,' which currently means the state-financed absurdity of the Anglican Church, but he has more than once said publicly that he wants to be anointed as defender of all faiths—another indication of the amazing conceit he has developed in six decades of performing the only job allowed him by the hereditary principle: that of waiting for his mother to expire.
It was pitiful for a person born in a wholesome free atmosphere to listen to their humble and hearty outpourings of loyalty toward their king and Church and nobility; as if they had any more occasion to love and honor king and Church and noble than a slave has to love and honor the lash, or a dog has to love and honor the stranger that kicks him! Why, dear me, ANY kind of royalty, howsoever modified, ANY kind of aristocracy, howsoever pruned, is rightly an insult; but if you are born and brought up under that sort of arrangement you probably never find it out for yourself, and don't believe it when somebody else tells you. It is enough to make a body ashamed of his race to think of the sort of froth that has always occupied its thrones without shadow of right or reason, and the seventh-rate people that have always figured as its aristocracies -- a company of monarchs and nobles who, as a rule, would have achieved only poverty and obscurity if left, like their betters, to their own exertions... The truth was, the nation as a body was in the world for one object, and one only: to grovel before king and Church and noble; to slave for them, sweat blood for them, starve that they might be fed, work that they might play, drink misery to the dregs that they might be happy, go naked that they might wear silks and jewels, pay taxes that they might be spared from paying them, be familiar all their lives with the degrading language and postures of adulation that they might walk in pride and think themselves the gods of this world. And for all this, the thanks they got were cuffs and contempt; and so poor-spirited were they that they took even this sort of attention as an honor.
She now discovered amidst them, the poet's flights of fancy, and the historian's seldom pleasing—ever instructive page. The first may transmit to posterity the records of a sublime genius, which once flashed in strong, but transient rays, through the tenement of clay it was given a moment to inhabit: and though the tenement decayed and the spirit fled, the essence of a mind which darted through the universe to cull each created and creative image to enrich an ever-varying fancy, is thus snatched from oblivion, and retained, spite of nature, amidst the mortality from which it has struggled, and is freed. The page of the historian can monarchs behold, and not offer up the sceptre to be disencumbered of the ponderous load that clogs their elevation! Can they read of armies stretch upon the plain, provinces laid waste, and countries desolated, and wish to be the mortal whose vengeance, or whose less fierce, but fatal decision sent those armies forth!
We are the bourgeoisie—the third estate, as they call us now—and what we want is a nobility of merit, nothing more. We don't recognize this lazy nobility we now have, we reject our present class hierarchy. We want all men to be free and equal, for no one to be someone else's subject, but for all to be subject to the law. There should be an end of privileges and arbitrary power. Everyone should be treated equally as a child of the state, and just as there are no longer any middlemen between the layman and his God, so each citizen should stand in direct relation to the state. We want freedom of the press, of employment, of commerce. We want all men to compete without any special privileges, and the only crown should be the crown of merit.
This is what you get when you found a political system on the family values of Henry VIII. At a point in the not-too-remote future, the stout heart of Queen Elizabeth II will cease to beat. At that precise moment, her firstborn son will become head of state, head of the armed forces, and head of the Church of England. In strict constitutional terms, this ought not to matter much. The English monarchy, as has been said, reigns but does not rule. From the aesthetic point of view it will matter a bit, because the prospect of a morose bat-eared and chinless man, prematurely aged, and with the most abysmal taste in royal consorts, is a distinctly lowering one.
As Dio observed later, democracy sounded very well and good, “but its results are seen not to agree at all with its title. Monarchy, on the contrary, has an unpleasant sound, but is a most practical form of government to live under. For it is easier to find a single excellent man than many of them.
The modern absolutism, which we find the most natural thing in the world, would have been quite beyond the dreams of the most absolute of kings.
Rejoicing in his absolute authority, the single egoist will exploit it methodically, whereas a mêlée of egoists will bring about a ruinous disorder and a disastrous cleavage, because the contrariety of the appetites to be satisfied will prevent the satisfaction of any single one. Clearly, then, the effect of the pursuit of private ends under cover of the public good will be worse if there are many with a hand in power than if there is only one.
With a [democratic] government anyone in principle can become a member of the ruling class or even the supreme power. The distinction between the rulers and the ruled as well as the class consciousness of the ruled become blurred. The illusion even arises that the distinction no longer exists: that with a public government no one is ruled by anyone, but everyone instead rules himself. Accordingly, public resistance against government power is systematically weakened. While exploitation and expropriation before might have appeared plainly oppressive and evil to the public, they seem much less so, mankind being what it is, once anyone may freely enter the ranks of those who are at the receiving end. Consequently, [exploitation will increase], whether openly in the form of higher taxes or discretely as increased governmental money “creation” (inflation) or legislative regulation.
[Voltaire] theoretically prefers a republic, but he knows its flaws: it permits factions which, if they do not bring on civil war, at least destroy national unity; it is suited only to small states protected by geographic situation, and as yet unspoiled and untorn with wealth; in general men are rarely worthy to govern themselves. Republics are transient at best; they are the first form of society, arising from the union of families; the American Indians lived in tribal republics, and Africa is full of such democracies. but differentiation of economic status puts an end to these egalitarian governments; and differentiation is the inevitable accompaniment of development.
Hence I think it is that democracies change into aristocracies, and these at length into monarchies,' people at last prefer tyranny to chaos. Equality of power is an unstable condition; men are by nature unequal; and 'he who seeks equality between unequals seeks an absurdity.' Democracy has still to solve the problem of enlisting the best energies of men while giving to all alike the choice of those, among the trained and fit, by whom they wish to be ruled.
Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.
They stood there, King of the Hill, Top of the Heap, Ruler of All They Surveyed, Unimpeachable Monarchs and Presidents, trying to understand what it meant to own a world and how big a world really was.
The nobles had made reading unpopular, as it showed that one couldn’t afford to buy spells or magical devices, since one had to get knowledge to do things the ordinary way; even if this view held little logic, the king himself was known to insult readers as “bookfaces” or “unable to think for themselves, so they need to spout what others have said,” and these opinions became popular, as did most views expressed by the king or his son.
Being popular comes when you have everything. But to be liked, it means that you must be treating people with respect and you must be showing kindness toward them.
All sciences have their mysteries and at certain points the apparently most obvious theory will be found in contradiction with experience. Politics, for example, offers several proofs of this truth. In theory, is anything more absurd than hereditary monarchy? We judge it by experience, but if government had never been heard of and we had to choose one, whoever would deliberate between hereditary and elective monarchy would be taken for a fool. Yet we know by experience that the first is, all things considered, the best that can be imagined, while the second is the worst. What arguments could not be amassed to establish that sovereignty comes from the people? However they all amount to nothing. Sovereignty is always taken, never given, and a second more profound theory subsequently discovers why this must be so. Who would not say the best political constitution is that which has been debated and drafted by statesmen perfectly acquainted with the national character, and who have foreseen every circumstance? Nevertheless nothing is more false. The best constituted people is the one that has the fewest written constitutional laws, and every written constitution is WORTHLESS.
In every reign there comes one night of greatest blackness, when a King must send away his court of flatterers and servants, and sit alone in the dark with the beast called truth.In the gloom of the grand hall, Slately could hear it breathe.Truth at court was treated as if it were a precious commodity. It was hoarded, coveted, bartered for. Certainly this analogy applied to lies; his courtiers accepted his lies as currency of the realm. He handed them lies in large denominations, and they returned him his change in small ones.Oh, but truth was something different. Something alive and immortal. By light of day it was only a little butterfly: pretty, elusive, easily crushed, and utterly unable to defend itself. Most nights, too, it slept harmlessly. One could wave it away for a very long time.But on the nights it did not sleep, neither did the King.
One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion.
Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise.
Mr. Pritchard! What are you doing? Is that O-soto-gari? No! It is not! It is a yak mating with a tractor! That is really very very not very good! My grandfather is weeping in Heaven, or he would if there were such a place, which there is not because religion is a mystification contrived by monarchists! Again! Again, and this time do it properly!
The obvious definition of a monarchy seems to be that of a state, in which a single person, by whatsoever name he may be distinguished, is entrusted with the execution of the laws, the management of the revenue, and the command of the army. But, unless public liberty is protected by intrepid and vigilant guardians, the authority of so formidable a magistrate will soon degenerate into despotism. The influence of the clergy, in an age of superstition, might be usefully employed to assert the rights of mankind; but so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very seldom been seen on the side of the people. A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies, form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince.
. . . Kings, aristocrats, tyrants, whoever they be, are slaves rebelling against the sovereign of the earth, which is the human race, and against the legislator of the universe, which is n
After a democratic interlude the monarchy returns with a vengeance, returns by the back door, camouflaged, masked and diabolically perverted—a blood-curdling metamorphosis we know only from nightmares or surrealist films. The reassertion of the natural father-urge does not result in the restitution of the paternal kingdom but in the rise of the Terrifying Father, a Krónos devouring his own children, who are paralyzed by his magnetic glare like rabbits facing a boa constrictor.
There are three kinds of constitution, and an equal number of deviation-forms--perversions, as it were, of them. The constitutions are monarchy, aristocracy, and thirdly that which is based on a property qualification, which it seems appropriate to call timocratic, though most people are wont to call it polity. The best of these is monarchy, the worst timocracy. The deviation from monarchy is tyranny; for both are forms of one-man rule, but there is the greatest difference between them; the tyrant looks to his own advantage, the king to that of his subjects. For a man is not a king unless he is sufficient to himself and excels his subjects in all good things; and such a man needs nothing further; therefore he will not look to his own interests but to those of his subjects; for a king who is not like that would be a mere titular king. Now tyranny is the very contrary of this; the tyrant pursues his own good. And it is clearer in the case of tyranny that it is the worst deviation-form; but it is the contrary of the best that is worst. Monarchy passes over into tyranny; for tyranny is the evil form of one-man rule and the bad king becomes a tyrant. Aristocracy passes over into oligarchy by the badness of the rulers, who distribute contrary to equity what belongs to the city-all or most of the good things to themselves, and office always to the same people, paying most regard to wealth; thus the rulers are few and are bad men instead of the most worthy. Timocracy passes over into democracy; for these are coterminous, since it is the ideal even of timocracy to be the rule of the majority, and all who have the property qualification count as equal. Democracy is the least bad of the deviations
The Constitution, the National Assembly, the dynastic parties, the blue and the red republicans, the heroes of Africa, the thunder from the platform, the sheet lightning of the daily press, the entire literature, the political names and the intellectual reputations, the civil law and penal code, the liberté, égalité, fraternité and the second of May 1852—all have vanished like a phantasmagoria before the spell of a man whom even his enemies do not make out to be a magician. Universal suffrage seems to have survived only for a moment, in order that with its own hand it may make its last will and testament before the eyes of all the world and declare in the name of the people itself: Everything that exists has this much worth, that it will perish.
Once more, I am watching the most powerful men in the kingdom bring their power to bear on a woman who has done nothing worse than live to the beat of her own heart, see with her own eyes; but this is not their tempo nor their vision and they cannot tolerate any other.
I'm so patriotic, I think every British kid should have a chance to grow up to be our head of state.
The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion.