Thursday, April 05, 2007

Despotism tempered by Dynamite

(B)y our constitution we are governed by a Despot who, although in theory, absolute - is, in practice, nothing of the kind - being watched night and day by two Wise Men whose duty it is, on his very first lapse from political or social propriety, to denounce him to me, the Public Exploder ... and it then becomes my duty to blow up His Majesty with dynamite, and, as some compensation for my wounded feelings, I reign in his stead.

After many unhappy experiments in the direction of an ideal Republic, it was found that what may be described as a Despotism tempered by Dynamite provides, on the whole, the most satisfactory description of ruler - an autocrat who dares not abuse his autocratic powers.

--Utopia (Limited) or The Flowers of Progress by Gilbert & Sullivan -- 1898