Collegium electorale

While I am, in principle, opposed to democracy, I see no alternative to it in the foreseeable future. For there are actually systems of government that are worse than democracy. We must, as some girlfriend once explained to me, work with the system we have; and while she agreed that a theocratic state would be better, neither of us saw a good prospect for it in the current, “Vatican Two,” evolution of the Church. Given this unavoidable fact, and several others, she would accuse me of utopianism. My response was, in brief, that what’s good enough for Plato is good enough for me.

(I think we both had soft spots for hereditary absolutism, but after all this time, it is hard to remember details.)

An educated girl, my love of that moment pointed to Plato’s dates, before Christ. He could not even be a Catholic. This led to a delightful, almost Socratic conversation about what is, and is not, utopian. Thomas More was dragged into it, too. For I held that the “utopian” works by each of these gentlemen were never meant to be taken more literally than as literary works; and one might argue that both Plato’s Republic, and More’s Utopia, were satirical. So that we were soon discussing not only what is utopian, but what is satirical.

(A big topic, that.)

What happened to that girl, I wonder? She was French, and therefore intensely attractive. But those were the good old days, when well-raised boys and girls did not promptly hop into bed, and so they could part peacefully. I think she judged me to be impractical, and lazy. She was of course perfect, but I failed to insist on the point.

In principle, I am not against voting. This we do to select Popes, and Holy Roman Emperors — seven electors in the latter case, the last time I counted. And in many other cases, we vote, when a decision is required, and there is no immediate consensus; or for the sake of formality, even when there is.

My only opposition was to voting for people one had never met, or knew anything about. The idea of an electorate of millions struck me as (adjective) insane. Too, I was attempting to read the scholastics, and agreed with the mediaeval observation that democracies, even on the smaller scale that our distant ancestors could imagine, were profoundly divisive.

You end up with partisans who want to kill each other, and this can be a source of disorder.