In France at the time of the 1974 election—the one in which Giscard beat Mitterand, which was seven years before the one in which Mitterand beat Giscard—I remember seeing among all the election posters and handbills a discreet little yellow notice that said: Français! Assez des expériences inutiles Républicaines! Votez Monarchiste! (Frenchmen! Enough of failed Republican experiments! Vote Monarchist!) I often think of that brave little band of monarchists with a special kind of admiration. Not because I am a monarchist myself, but because they refused to be cowed by a majority that was not just large but overwhelming. Here, I thought, was one place in the world where it was possible to raise a dissenting voice against the chorus of what everybody knows.

I thought of them again amid the media’s unanimous self-congratulation over the seventy-fifth anniversary...


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