Age before booty

Politics is an interest of young people, and perhaps older people who have not spiritually matured. This is why positions of leadership should be reserved, as much as possible, for geriatrics. We need an old man on his last legs, who has lost his intestinal fire and ambitions, except for a certain flickering resentment towards the young. It should be a man who longs for the quiet life. He should be a gentleman, with other hobby interests, and better things to read than state papers; he should be easily irritated by the distraction. Nevertheless, he must be from a good family, with some minimal sense of public duty, or he will not be willing to accept an office that has been forced on him — usually because the alternative candidates were too young and lively. The job will then kill him within a few years at most, during which his rivals will be growing older. Meanwhile his concern for the fate of his own immortal soul will be growing. He will fear taking any decision that might condemn him to Hell.

(It should go without saying that he will be a “rigid” Latin-Mass Catholic traditionalist. … The more rigid the better.)

Vanity is possible even in the old, however. Should he perk up, once in office, the answer is for his doctors to prescribe a course of vigorous physical exercise. This will hasten him along.

Some old men are sprightly, however, and almost unkillable, so the electors must remain always on their toes. Ideally, of course, there will not be so many electors: the seven of the Holy Roman Empire struck me as quite adequate. As a compromise, perhaps we could simply lift the minimum voting age from whatever it is now (eighteen?) to, say, seventy-six. At that age it might even be safe to allow the vote to women.

I should admit the flaw in hereditary monarchy, which otherwise I prefer to appointive systems. If the successor is doddery or suffering from one of the many dementias that come with age, very well: the forgetful are easier to ignore. But some of these kings and queens rise to a throne very young. They may not yet understand why they should avoid all the roads down which they are tempted. (Details are unnecessary once the main point is subscribed.) They are unlikely to have learnt, by cumulative observation, that nothing men propose is ever going to work. Therefore, seek only divine guidance.

There is a saying, “That government is best which governs least.” I find this too activist a proposition. Revise to: “That government is best which consists of immemorial custom.”

Old ways are best. In a pinch, should any revolutionary party appear, invite the leaders to dinner. Then have them all arrested and hanged.

There were a number of political issues and personalities I was eager to comment upon, while surveying the news this morning. But after a full pot of tea, I think, better to leave gentle reader with a vague generality. That, it is time for everyone to grow up.