What the Editors Are Reading

A recent story in the British press about Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, the English author, journalist, and broadcaster, in retirement at the age of 92, prompted me to order one of his books, Democracy Needs Aristocracy, first published in 2004.  It is an excellent work, and one I wish I’d consulted when I was working up my After Tocqueville a few years ago.  Worsthorne began from the conviction that “without an aristocratic dimension that noble ideal [democracy in Europe] can never be realized.”  The purpose of his “essay” is, in the author’s words, “to help create . . . a state of public opinion in which the old upper classes and their institutions, shorn of their legal privileges, are once again seen as a source of strength rather than weakness; a blessing rather than a curse; and above all, as ideally suited—rather than exceptionally unsuited—for public service.”  As Worsthorne reminds, the historical role played by the hereditary aristocracy of Great Britain in every aspect of British history has been so enormous, and so valuable, that the public, and even the media, are finally unwilling (despite appearances and despite what so many people say and claim to think) that it simply “fold up its tents and fade away.”  “Whereas everybody loved a lord, nobody...

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