Antisocial strata

Now and again, Francis W. Porretto will quote a passage from his fiction to illustrate a point applicable down here in the Teeming Milieu, and this one (from Chosen One) strikes me as being especially so:

“The age of kings is far behind us, Malcolm.”

“It never ended. Men worthy of the role became too few to maintain the institution.”

“And I’m … worthy?”

If he wasn’t, then no worthy man had ever lived, but I couldn’t tell him that.

“There’s a gulf running through the world, Louis. On one side are the commoners, the little men who bear tools, tend their gardens, and keep the world running. On the other are the nobles, who see far and dare much, and sometimes risk all they have, that the realm be preserved and the commoner continue undisturbed in his portion. There’s no shortage of either, except for the highest of the nobles, the men of unbreakable will and moral vision, for whom justice is a commitment deeper than life itself.”

Down here in Serf City, we commoners follow the pattern. But our nobles are wholly undeserving of the term: they see nothing, and dare nothing that might risk their individual positions in the hierarchy. Wills are easily breakable today; moral vision exists only in myth and legend, and “justice” has been perverted far beyond recognition.

The preening dimwits who speak of “the right side of history” have never read any, and have themselves experienced only the tiniest fragment thereof. They are the men, the women, who have become “too few to maintain the institution.” Inevitably, an institution will be forced upon them.


  1. fillyjonk »

    27 November 2017 · 10:36 am

    Even if I had the skill and intelligence to “see far and dare much,” I’d rather tend my own garden, thanks.

    I think that’s actually the crux of the problem: the people with the ability (not me) look at the whole mess, are disgusted by it, and go off to be “commoners,” and we are left with ambitious grifters who see far (as far as what they can get out of the deal) and dare much (to take what they can get for them and theirs).

  2. McGehee »

    27 November 2017 · 11:49 am

    They who claim to be out betters these days are like the kitten on a high balcony watching a butterfly fluttering just close enough to leap and catch, completely overlooking the 100-plus foot fall to the pavement that awaits.

  3. Holly H »

    27 November 2017 · 12:07 pm

    “ambitious grifters who see far (as far as what they can get out of the deal) and dare much (to take what they can get for them and theirs).”

    Perfect description of what we have now, both at the state and federal levels. Especially the top guy.

  4. Francis W. Porretto »

    27 November 2017 · 12:40 pm

    Thank you, Charles. It’s an easier idea to dramatize than to argue for.

  5. John Salmon »

    29 November 2017 · 1:12 am

    I guess it’s my job to play the contrarian, but we really do get the leaders we deserve. We elected these people, after all. “Democracy is the notion that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard.”-Mencken

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