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July 23, 2013


nick s

Maybe that’s a common problem with republics. They do a fine job getting rid of monarchies, but can’t quite lose the monarchism.

My three-pint theory is that republics tend towards the concept of monarchy as it was practiced locally right up to when it wasn't. Americans are definitely stuck with a mid-Hanoverian monarchism and an elected king, so that would mean China is stuck with 1912.

chris y

Stalin fits the pattern I suppose, as little father of all the Russias (for whom the Cossacks work).

I think you can get some mileage from a comparison of the last days of the Italian monarchy and the Berlusconi era, but I'm having trouble with seeing the 3rd, 4th or 5th Republics as reflecting the 2nd Empire. Or Weimar the Zweites Reich.


The last days of the Italian monarchy could be summed up as "What the hell, just get on with it. Come on, at least we're not Fascists!" Which, on reflection, isn't that far off the Berlusconi style.

nick s

Germany's a bigger exception than France, I think: I might quibble about what happened to Prussia, but like I said, it's a three-pint theory. In France, 1958 was all about wanting Emperor Charles Le Nez, and there's been an on-off tendency in French politics to want a big (little) man in charge.


Weimar resembled the Second Reich fairly nicely in that they both ended up being run by a deformed maniac with an obsession with war. So there's that.
France reminds me of the Alan Coren line that French history, or gloire, consists entirely of Charlemagne, and a bunch of bizarre lunatics who thought they were God (Louis XIV) or Charlemagne (Napoleon) or God, Louis XIV, Charlemagne and Napoleon (de Gaulle).

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