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Single Idea 19831

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / b. Monarchy]

Full Idea

Those who attain the highest positions in monarchies are most often petty bunglers, swindlers and intriguers, whose talents serve only to display their incompetence to the public. The populace is much less often in error in its choice than the prince.

Gist of Idea

The highest officers under a monarchy are normally useless; the public could choose much better


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], III.06)

A Reaction

Many monarchs have had famously good advisers, such as Lord Burleigh. The worst thing about bad leaders, at any level, is the bad appointments they make.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.184