Historical Reprints Philosophical Cult of Incompetence

Cult of Incompetence

Cult of Incompetence
Catalog # SKU2180
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Emil Faguet


Cult of Incompetence

Emil Faguet

A book quite appropriate for restudy considering the incompetent government we suffer under in the USA, with the failed GOP Bush nonsense and their Dem enablers.

Chapter I.
The Principles of Forms of Government.

The question has often been asked, what is the animating principle of different forms of government, for each, it is assumed, has its own principle. In other words, what is the general idea which inspires each political system?

Montesquieu, for instance, proved that the principle of monarchy is honour, the principle of despotism fear, the principle of a republic virtue or patriotism, and he added with much justice that governments decline and fall as often by carrying their principle to excess, as by neglecting it altogether.

And this, though a paradox, is true. At first sight it may not be obvious how a despotism can fall by inspiring too much fear, or a constitutional monarchy by developing too highly the sentiment of honour, or a republic by having too much virtue. It is nevertheless true. To make too common a use of fear is to destroy its efficacy. As Edgar Quinet happily puts it: "If we want to make use of fear we must be certain that we can use it always." We cannot have too much honour, but when we can appeal to this sentiment only and when distinctions, decorations, orders, ribbons-in a word honours-are multiplied, inasmuch as we cannot increase such things indefinitely, those who have none become as discontented as those who, having some, want more.

Finally we cannot, of course, have too much virtue, and naturally here governments will fall not by exaggerating but by abandoning their guiding principle. Yet is it not sometimes true that by demanding from citizens too great a devotion to their country, we end by exhausting human powers of endurance and sacrifice? This is what happened in the case of Napoleon, who, perhaps unwittingly, required too much from France, for the building up of a 'Greater France.'

But that, some one will object, was not a republic!

From the point of view of the sacrifices required from the citizen, it was a republic, similar to the Roman Republic and to the French Republic of 1792. All the talk was 'for the glory of our country,' 'heroism, heroism, nothing but heroism'! If too much is required of it, civic virtue can be exhausted.

It is, then, very true that governments perish just as much from an excess as from a neglect of their appropriate principle. Montesquieu without doubt borrowed his general idea from Aristotle, who remarks not without humour, "Those, who think that they have discovered the basis of good government, are apt to push the consequences of their new found principle too far. They do not remember that disproportion in such matters is fatal. They forget that a nose which varies slightly from the ideal line of beauty appropriate for noses, tending slightly towards becoming a hook or a snub, may still be of fair shape and not disagreeable to the eye, but if the excess be very great, all symmetry is lost, and the nose at last ceases to be a nose at all." This law of proportion holds good with regard to every form of government.

155+ pages - 8¼ x 5¼ softcover

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