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I would suggest that feudal mafia may or may not be honest as regards politics within their closed circles, but that the same will lie for absolute power, which power becomes always sadistic — the power to visit suffering on others with impunity — should go without saying. By contrast, the idea of the “good society”, or great one, may be predicated on empathy (one foundational thought in law: “because it could happen to you”) and integrity. In the feudal mode, our cares may be restricted — me and mine and the rest of the world can go to hell — and in the modern, we note cruelty and suffering meted to others and try to address that in law and in policy.

For a while now, my context has been “Moscow v Washington” — the system of secret police, absolute central power, aristocracy v a modern democratic open society. In which world should one care most to live — as favored in the former where loyalty to power displaces principles and values; or as neglected in the latter where one may get a fair shake, or no “shake” at all?

Your original post asked for one idea. Perhaps two need consideration: empathy matched by integrity.

The cliche goes that where one stands has much to do with where one sits.

If yours is the campaign desk in the palace, the prince might be a good man; if it is the laborer’s bench downwind from “sanitation”, the prince might be a thoughtless one.

In general, liberal democracies strive to attenuate human caprice in the experience of good and bad fortune: law and reason may be slipped between the person and The Power.

In kleptocracy, The Power maintains the monopoly on law and reason — and the possession of all else.

However — and here’s the inversion repeated — would you rather live favored in the treacherous atmosphere produced by Power or at loose ends in a more or less just system that takes no special interest in your affairs,  your politics, or your fate?

Perhaps in hard times — or merely disappointing one — it may be more natural to seek favor than to extol the virtues of too clinical a system of justice and the “rugged individual” that may or may not make out well beneath it.