Formality & Hierarchy

tl;dr: Mystification of rulers in mass society

The rulers of a small state, if they can be called that, are the citizen’s neighbours. Since he knows them closely, they will never be able to hide themselves in mysterious shrouds under whose cover they might take on the dim and aloof appearance of supermen.

breakdown-of-nationsp. 98

~ ancient-futures re: casual interactions between rulers & ruled in Ladakh.

tl;dr: Citizens of small principalities can easily seek a personal audience with their prince; not so much a citizen of the United States, who'd sooner be arrested by the Secret Service

A citizen of the Principality of Liechtenstein, whose population numbers less than fourteen thousand, desirous to see His Serene Highness the Prince and Sovereign, Bearer of many exalted orders and Defender of many exalted things, can do so by ringing the bell at his castle gate. However serene His Highness may be, he is never an inaccessible stranger. A citizen of the massive American republic, on the other hand, encounters untold obstacles in a similar enterprise. Trying to see his fellow citizen President, whose function is to be his servant, not his master, he may be sent to an insane asylum for observation or, if found sane, to a court on charges of disorderly conduct. Both happened in 1950. In 1951, a citizen spent $1,800 in eleven months in an effort ‘to get the President’s attention”-in vain. You will say that in a large power such as the United States informal relationships such as exist between government and citizen in small countries are technically unfeasible. This is quite true. But this is exactly it. Democracy in its full meaning is impossible in a large state which, as Aristotle already observed, is ‘almost incapable of constitutional government.

breakdown-of-nationsp. 99


ancient-futures Norberg-Hodge, Helena. 2016. Ancient Futures. Local Futures. ↩︎ 1

breakdown-of-nations Kohr, Leopold. 1978. The Breakdown of Nations. Dutton. ↩︎ 1 2