“A monarch is a man; but an oligarchy is not men” – a penseé from G K Chesterton

I endorse Allan Massie’s verdict on Chesterton as a pungent, brilliant essayist occasionally lapsing into tedium through overwrought prose. Here is one of his passages of pellucid power, from The Thing: Why I Am A Catholic:

“It is not an alternative between monarchy and democracy, but an alternative between monarchy and oligarchy. And, being myself one of the democratic idealists, I have not the faintest hesitation in my choice between the two latter forms of privilege. A monarch is a man; but an oligarchy is not men; it is a few men forming a group small enough to be insolent and large enough to be irresponsible”

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