In the political history of Western man, these narratives [of Iceland, Venice and the Netherlands] are not exceptional, but normative.  Quem patrem, what father, has more often than not been the political issue in the origination and development of European states which take their places on the stage of history before A.D. 1789.  I reflect on only a few of my favorites.  On that stage most men have either experienced despotism or the shelter of inherited rights.  On that stage almost no polity that was in any sense “founded” ever appears.  And those regimes which most thorough ignored the connection between ”the ancestral and the good” are those which we all despise: Cromwell’s England, Jacobin France, the Marxist tyrannies of the Soviet Union, or the People’s Republic of China, and Nazi Germany.  What modern men have done in the name of their favorite political paradigm is not an argument for a new Lycurgus or stricter devotion to what are usually called “political principles”–abstract theories concerning the essential nature of man before he enters the social condition. ~M.E. Bradford, Remembering Who We Are