Governing Like a Prince

Some of the best governance advice I’ve ever heard comes out of a children’s book.

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Chapitre X

The context: The little prince asks the king of a planet he is visiting to “command” a sunset.

“-Il faut exiger de chacun ce que chacun peut donner, reprit le roi. L’autorité repose d’abord sur la raison. Si tu ordonnes à ton peuple d’aller se jeter à la mer, il fera la révolution. J’ai le droit d’exiger l’obéissance parce que mes ordres sont raisonnables.

-Alors mon coucher de soleil? rappela le petit prince qui jamais n’oubliait une question une fois qu’il l’avait posée.

-Ton coucher de soleil, tu l’auras. Je l’exigerai. Mais j’attendrai, dans ma science du gouvernement, que les conditions soient favorables.

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One thought on “Governing Like a Prince

  1. HA! Very good, and apt. The King seems to embody what my mentor calls “personal authority”; in this case, he commands the respect and loyalty of his subjects because of his reasonableness.

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