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    monarchy


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The nobility, say nobles, serves as intermediary between king and people. True, just as the hound serves as intermediary between hunter and hares.
 
[«La noblesse, disent les nobles, est une intermédiaire entre le roi et le peuple…» Oui, comme le chien de chasse est un intermédiaire entre le chasseur et les lièvres.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 8, ¶ 511 (1795) [tr. Dusinberre (1992)]
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(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

The nobility, say the nobles, is an intermediary between the king and the people.... Precisely; just as the hound is the intermediary between the huntsman and the hares.
[tr. Hutchinson (1902)]

The Nobility, its members say, is an intermediary between the King and the People. .... Exactly, just as hounds are intermediary between men and hares.
[tr. Mathers (1926), ¶ 512]

“The nobility,” say the nobles, “is an intermediary between the king and the people . . .” No doubt: just as the hunting dog is an intermediary between the hunter and the hares.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

"The nobility," say the nobles, "is a go-between twixt the king and the people ..." Yes, just as the hunting dog is the go-between twixt the huntsman and the hares.
[tr. Pearson (1973)]

"The nobility", say the nobles, "is an intermediary between the king and the people ..." Yes, like a hunting dog is an intermediary between a hunter and hares.
[tr. Siniscalchi (1994), ¶ 511]

"We're the intermediary between the king and his subjects," claim the nobility. Yes indeed -- and the hound is the intermediary between the hunter and the hare.
[tr. Parmée (2003), ¶ 269]

 
Added on 27-Nov-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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Away with empire, and oppressive laws;
None but the fool can wish for regal power,
That he may proudly lord it o’er his equals.

[οὔτ᾽ εἰκὸς ἄρχειν οὔτ᾽ ἐχρὴν ἄνευ νόμου
τύραννον εἶναι” μωρία δὲ καὶ ϑέλειν
ὃς τῶν ὁμοίων βούλεται χρατεῖν μόνος.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Antigone [Ἀντιγόνη], frag. 172 (TGF, Kannicht) (c. 420-406 BC) [tr. Wodhall (1809)]
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Barnes frag. 11, Musgrave frag. 5. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translation:


It is neither reasonable to rule, nor ought there to be a king [law].
It is folly for a man even to want [...]
who wishes to hold sole power over his peers.
[Source]

 
Added on 27-Dec-22 | Last updated 27-Dec-22
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What has ever been granted to the countless millions of workers of Earth without a fight? Czar Nicholas has discovered that he is not all Russia. Will he “let the voice of the people be heard”? Was it argument or force that changed Czar Nicholas’s mind? Well , the Russian people have gotten the thin edge of the wedge in; let them keep striking hard, they will split the throne after a while.

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942) American labor organizer, anarchist, orator [a.k.a. Lucy Gonzalez]
“On Revolution in Russia and Chinese Use of the Boycott,” The Liberator (3 Sep 1905)
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Added on 28-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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It is in vain to Say that Democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious or less avaricious than Aristocracy or Monarchy. It is not true in Fact and no where appears in history. Those Passions are the same in all Men under all forms of Simple Government, and when unchecked, produce the same Effects of Fraud Violence and Cruelty. When clear Prospects are opened before Vanity, Pride, Avarice or Ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate Phylosophers and the most conscientious Moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves, Nations and large Bodies of Men, never.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to John Taylor (17 Dec 1814)
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Added on 19-Oct-21 | Last updated 19-Oct-21
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I do not say that Democracy has been more pernicious, on the whole, and in the long run, than Monarchy or Aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as Aristocracy or Monarchy. But while it lasts it is more bloody than either. […] Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to John Taylor (17 Dec 1814)
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Added on 7-Sep-16 | Last updated 19-Oct-21
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KING ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: Oh, now we see the violence inherent in the system. Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

KING ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!

DENNIS: Oh, what a giveaway! Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That’s what I’m on about! Did you see him repressing me? You saw him, didn’t you?

Monty Python (contemp.) British comedy troupe
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
 
Added on 17-Jun-16 | Last updated 17-Jun-16
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Monarchy is like a sleek craft, it sails along well until some bumbling captain runs it into the rocks. Democracy, on the other hand, is like a raft. It never goes down but, dammit, your feet are always wet.

Ames - feet are always wet - wist_info quote

Fisher Ames (1758-1808) American politician, orator
(Attributed)

This is the earliest reference I can find to this metaphor. Variants:
  • "A monarchy is a merchantman which sails well, but will sometimes strike on a rock and go to the bottom; a republic is a raft which will never sink, but then your feet are always in the water." This variant is often attributed to a speech in the House of Representatives in 1795, but is not found in records of Ames' speeches.
  • "A monarchy is like a man-of-war -- bad shots between wind and water hurt it exceedingly; there is danger of capsizing. But democracy is a raft. You cannot easily overturn it. It is a wet place, but it is a pretty safe one." -- Joseph Cook (1860-1947) Anglo-Australian politician
  • "Dictatorship is like a big proud ship -- steaming away across the ocean with a great hulk and powerful engines driving it. It’s going fast and strong and looks like nothing could stop it. What happens? Your fine ship strikes something -- under the surface. Maybe it’s a mine or a reef, maybe it’s a torpedo or an iceberg. And your wonderful ship sinks. Now take democracy. It’s like riding on a raft, a rickety raft that was put together in a hurry. We get tossed about on the waves, it’s bad going and our feet are always wet. But that raft doesn’t sink … It’s the raft that will get to the shore at last." --- Roaldus Richmond (fl. 1940) American writer. In, ed., "A Yankee Businessman in New Hampshire," American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers Project, 1936-1940
  • "Democracy is like a raft: It won't sink, but you will always have your feet wet." -- Russell B. Long (1918-2003) American politician
  • "But you have to understand, American democracy is not like the system you have. We're not an ocean liner that sails across the ocean from point A to point B at 30 knots. That's not American democracy. American democracy is kind of like a life raft that bobs around the ocean all the time. Your feet are always wet. Winds are always blowing. You're cold. You're wet. You're uncomfortable -- but you never sink." -- Colin Powell (b. 1937) American politician, diplomat, soldier
 
Added on 1-Apr-16 | Last updated 7-Aug-20
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History gives no countenance to the theory that popular governments are either more moral or more pacific than strong monarchies.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Our Present Discontents,” Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919)
 
Added on 26-Oct-15 | Last updated 4-Jan-16
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The Russian government is an absolute monarchy tempered by assassination.

Astolphe-Louis-Léonor, Marquis de Custine (1790-1857) French aristocrat and writer
La Russie en 1839, Vol. 1 (1843)
 
Added on 27-May-14 | Last updated 27-May-14
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We should stop going around babbling about how we’re the greatest democracy on earth, when we’re not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic. The founding fathers hated two things, one was monarchy and the other was democracy, they gave us a constitution that saw to it we will have neither. I don’t know how wise they were.

Gore Vidal (1925-2012) American novelist, dramatist, critic
“Gore Vidal and the Mind of the Terrorist”, interview by Ramona Koval, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Nov 2001)
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Added on 23-Oct-12 | Last updated 28-Jan-20
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Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Democracy” (1903)
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Added on 19-Sep-07 | Last updated 26-Feb-15
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I shall be an autocrat: that’s my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me: that’s his.

[Moi, je serai autocrate: c’est mon metier. Et le bon Dieu me pardonnnera: c’est son metier.]

Catherine II (1762-1796) Russian empress [Catherine the Great; b. Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst]
(Attributed)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Feb-14
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Give me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses ….

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
Letter to Christopher Tolkien (1943-11-29)
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Letter 52 in Humphrey Carpenter, ed., The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981).
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Nov-23
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