No, if a king is so hated or despised by his subjects that he can't keep them in order unless he reduces them to beggary by violence, extortion, he'd far better abdicate. Such methods of staying in power may preserve the title, but they destroy the majesty of a king. There's nothing majestic about ruling a nation of beggars - true majesty consists in governing the rich and prosperous. That's what that admirable character Fabricius meant when he said he'd rather govern rich men than be one.


To start with, most kings are more interested in the science of war - which I don't know anything about, and don't want to - than in useful peaceful techniques. They’re far more anxious, by hook or by crook, to acquire new kingdoms than to govern their existing ones properly. Besides, privy councilors are either too wise to need, or too conceited to take advice from anyone else - though of course they're always prepared to suck up to the king's special favorites by agreeing with the silliest things they say. After all, it's a natural instinct to be charmed by one's own productions. That's why raven chicks are such a delight to their parents, and mother apes find their babies exquisitely beautiful.So there you have a group of people who are deeply prejudiced against everyone else’s ideas, or at any rate prefer their own. Suppose, in such company, you suggest a policy that you’ve seen adopted elsewhere, or for which you can quote a historical precedent, what will happen? They’ll behave as though their professional reputations were at stake, and they’d look fools for the rest of their lives if they couldn’t raise some objection to your proposal. Failing all else, their last resort will be: ‘This was good enough for our ancestors, and who are we to question their wisdom?’ Then they’ll settle back in their chairs, with an air of having said the last word on the subject – as if it would be a major disaster for anyone to be caught being wiser than his ancestors! And yet we’re quite prepared to reverse their most sensible decisions. It’s only the less intelligent ones that we cling on to like grim death.