Page:Conventional Lies of our Civilization.djvu/84

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The Lie of a Monarchy and Aristocracy.




I.

If we were able to consider the existing institutions of our civilization from an artistic, esthetic point of view alone; if it were possible for us to study and criticise them with the abstract, impersonal interest of that Persian Prince Uzbek, described by Montesquieu, who travelled in foreign countries merely in search of amusement and shook their dust from his feet when he had left them behind him, we would not hesitate to accept the present arrangement of society as skillfully and consistently constructed, forming an harmonious whole. All the constituent parts are arranged in order, and are necessarily evolved from and dependent upon each other, ascending from the lowest to the highest, in an unbroken, logical sequence. When the grand gothic structure of mediaeval state and society was erected, it presented an imposing appearance, and was regarded as a magnificent and comfortable place of refuge and safety by those whom it sheltered. Today only the ornamental façade remains; the useful, habitable portions of the building have long since fallen into decay, so that any one seeking for shelter in it now, finds it impossible to discover a single nook or corner, in which he can be protected from the wind or rain. But the façade still retains its former beauty and grandeur, and arouses admiration in the beholder for the genius and skill of the architect. Nothing but one