11 October 2008

Transitory meteors

Democracy has one brilliant moment, but it is a moment and it must pay dearly for it. The great days of Athens might, I agree, inspire desires in the subject of a monarchy, languishing in such and such a period under an inept or wicked king. Nevertheless, we would be greatly mistaken if we claimed to establish the superiority of democracy over monarchy by comparing moment for moment, because, in this way of judging, we neglect among other things the consideration of duration, which is a necessary element of these sorts of calculation.

In general, all democratic governments are only transitory meteors, whose brilliance excludes duration....
 -  Joseph de Maistre, Study on Sovereignty.

3 comments:

  1. Meteors that rise up out of their craters, into the heavens...

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  2. For a sufficiently bad government, a short duration is a blessing. Wouldn't democracy be worse if it held off the return of natural order even longer? The line of royal succession might even be lost!

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  3. EvKL noted that Maistre's use intellectual arguments to defend monarchic regimes was an indication they were no longer part of an organic order.

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