Saturday, May 6, 2023

Quote of the Day (Mark Twain, on Republics vs. Monarchies)

“Citizenship is what makes a republic; monarchies can get along without it.” —American novelist and humorist Mark Twain (1835-1910), “Layman’s Sermon” to Young Men’s Christian Association, New York, Mar. 4, 1906, reprinted in Mark Twain`s Speeches, edited by William Dean Howells (1910)

Remember this, as you take in the breathless post-mortems on the coronation of King Charles. As you read Twain’s quote, please also be sure to mentally insert the words “An active, well-informed” before “citizenship.” Otherwise, a republic, even one of long standing, can veer towards something worse than a monarchy: a dictatorship.

(For a serious consideration of what Charles’ coronation means to the future of the Commonwealth of Nations, the 56-member association of states that (mostly) once belonged to the British Empire, see this blog post from earlier this week on the Council of Foreign Relations Website from Manjari Chatterjee Miller and Clare Harris.)

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