On political lowness

Diplomacy is war by more devious means. Politics are the continuation of civil wars, ditto. The former are uglier, in spirit, and more so, the better the opponents understand each other. Von Clausewitz didn’t know the half of it.

Well, perhaps once again I have aimed under the top, but shot just over. I am reacting in horror to present electoral campaigns, in the USA, and in most other places. I mentioned before, I think, Donald Trump, whom I described as “nauseating.” But I hope I didn’t leave the impression I’d never vote for him. A more nauseating candidate might emerge.

Together with most of my contemporaries, I like to slight politicians. But I am conscientious, in my opposition to democracy, and try to depreciate all round. The “pols” become, with each passing election, more crass. They no longer pretend to be gentlemen or ladies, who would never descend to ad hominem attacks. Some now go so far, in debates, as refusing to laugh at each other’s jokes. Or omitting any line of self-deprecation. Lying, I can understand, for that is after all their trade. But these days, they lie without artifice or charm.

They can be blamed for so many bad things; but the people who vote for them can be blamed for worse. We, in the mass, and also individually, have played the larger part in reducing public life to a crude mud tussle. It must of course be acknowledged there were mudfights before, in the more Jacksonian reaches of the past. And that they tended to be witless. But those were pioneer days, on the frontier.

Among my reasons to prefer the despicable, and often murderous life of ancient royal courts, to the despicable conventions of democracy, is the class thing. Courtiers were better dressed and spoken. They were never reduced to shouting over crowds. The monarch was likely to have been raised with some culture. Even a bloody monster, like Bad Queen Bess, had elegant handwriting. She could explain herself in Latin verse, and dance a galliard or lavolta. Many of her executions were performed in the “silk rope” style, leaving a little dignity for both victim and observers.

I frankly do not think Hillary Clinton could do a quadrille. (Though a lady once told me her husband can waltz.)

Granted, we must live under the direction of malicious clowns, I still want to see an effort at concealment. Are they so poor they cannot afford elocutionists, or drawing masters? Could not one give an account of himself with rapier under the code duello? In moments I wonder if any (since Reagan) have equestrian skills. Must they all be so vulgar?