Interesting post.

Another example that stuck with me is de Tocquille's memoirs, where he recalls some episodes as a representative during some unrests in France (1848 I think).

It stuck with me because it was so different than anything I imagined about that society: an Aristocrat (de Tocquille) that sees himself as a servant of the people of lower classes he represents, enjoying the respect and trust of those people.

And this wasn't the point of the memoirs, it was just the setting in which the events took place.

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You'll know the Tolkein quote: 'touching your cap to the squire may be damn bad for the squire, but it's damn good for you.'

All the same, I think I'd rather a system where the survival of your children isn't dependent on your local member of the aristocracy being a decent sort. Bureaucracies have high traditions too, of which Kipling also wrote in praise; but they're no substitute for being able to vote the bastards out.

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In the long run, bureaucrats, priests, and aristocrats are interchangeable. Consul of Rome was 'the warehouse guy'.

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