Thomas Henry Huxley: Government: Anarchy or Regimentation

In Government: Anarchy or Regimentation (1890), Thomas Henry Huxley writes (p. 399, footnote 1):

[I]t would not be far from the truth to say that the only form of government which has ever permanently existed is oligarchy. A very strong despot, or a furious multitude, may, for a brief space, work their single or collective will; but the power of an absolute monarch is, as a rule, as much in the hands of a ring of ministers, mistresses, and priests, as that of Demos is, in reality, wielded by a ring of orators and wire-pullers. As Hobbes has pithily put the case, “A democracy in effect is no more than an aristocracy of orators, interrupted sometimes with the temporary monarchy of one orator” (De Corpore Politico, chap. ii. 5). The alternative of dominion does not lie between a sovereign individual and a sovereign multitude, but between an aristacrchy and a demarchy, that is to say, between an aristocratic and a democratic oligarchy. The chief business of the aristarchy is to persuade the king, emperor, or czar, that he wants to go the way they wish him to go; that of the demarchy is to do the like with the mob.

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