Two quotes, somewhat related but from very different sources —


First, Charles Moore, writing in The Spectator, August 27, 2016:  “Of course, in the first-name culture that now prevails, titles might seem merely decorative, and offensive to the cult of equality. The death of the Duke of Westminster has briefly raised the question of what a titled aristocracy does for us. My own view is that titles are much to be preferred to wealth as a mark of distinction, since they give glamour without power. They promote the idea of a purely immaterial reward, and represent eminence as something to live up to, not a power to be used. Of course they can be abused, and a kind of snobbery goes with them. Take them away, however, and you have the mean-minded obsessions of ‘celebrity’ culture, the American idolisation of wealth or the power cult of the Russian mafia. An inherited title sanctifies a family and its ancient territory. The poetry of this is beautifully expressed by Proust, who wrote of an aristocracy from which everything had been taken except its titles — think of Guermantes and compare it with ‘Trump’.”

And then there is James Roth, in The Emperor’s Tomb – “ ….the barbarians of absolute justice are still up in arms about this today. They scold us for aristocrats and aesthetes, even now; and all the time I can see how they, the egalitarians and anti-aesthetes, have prepared the way for their brothers, the barbarians of stupid and plebian injustice.”

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