The third egg

Democratic politics, in moderate, “civilized” States, should offer a perpetual choice between the Big-Endian Party, and the Little-Endians. At least, this is the theory. Alas, this sensible arrangement has never lasted more than a minute, in the long hour of human history. And then it disintegrates, as it has again and again, just when it seemed to be getting established, in la République française, lo Stato italiano, La República Española, das Deutsche Reich, &c, &c. For, to vary the Swiftian metaphor (Jonathan’s, not Taylor’s), the history makers then contrive to make an omelette, into which Big-Endians and Little-Endians are smashed. This “third egg” is the first cracked one. The playing field or table having become somewhat tilted, all the eggs roll off.

Of course, no good has ever come of this.

Reading, this morning, about the general election that has been called in the United Kingdom, I understand the general despair of the British voter. Neither the Big-Endian nor the Little-Endian Party is electable, and “Labour” will win only because the “Conservatives” are currently in power (while the rest of Europe is switching to the right).

This is a serious problem with democracy. We can’t have an election in which both sides lose, and the pleasure, that would result, of no government at all. The Devil abhors a power vacuum, and someone always comes along to fill it; for after all, there are taxes to collect. And what about law and order? Who will take care of that?

It is best if politicians do not take care of anything important. God arranged the world to be self-governing, even when there is no government, as there is not among all the non-human creatures. Each has been inwardly programmed to know, at least approximately, what it is about, and then to go about, eating or being eaten. Animals and vegetables: there is food to go around! (I’m a particular fan of the mushrooms.) And humans have (in each individual case) a conscience installed, to guide their behaviour, although this still small divine voice can only be heard when we are listening.

Of course, there are also big- or little- administrative details, arising from the complexity of human affairs, but for this reason, we have Monarchy. It appears atop the natural aristocracy that forms when the people are left to their own devices. Unfortunately, it takes time to mature, and democracy keeps setting us back at the beginning.