Corruption is the reassertion of private economy in spite of the planned coercion of an arbitrary power, whether it is a socialist and corporate state or an autocratic monarch. And corruption wears a double aspect; it is thoroughly obnoxious, if you have not yet asserted your own rebellion, and thoroughly desirable if you wish to see the end of oppression and the liberalisation of society. But it is hardly admirable, for those likely to lead the vanguard of this rebellion are also the men (and mostly men) most likely to offend against the rule of law in a well-conducted society.

Objectively, we should admit that corruption in any society is simply the free will working its way round the laws, like a stream diverted and constricted within a culvert that takes advantage of the slightest weakness, and eventually triumphs since the expensive coercive force cannot be long maintained, and so pushes banks and pipes aside to find again the path it would otherwise have taken.

Similarly, in a legalised and officious society, like our own, charm becomes paramount. The officers of state and its corporate extensions, its tools, its extended phenotype, are after all but people, individuals. Charm is the secret signal given from individual to individual, asking to be cut what slack may be offered without arousing the police, who are themselves, nota bene, also susceptible to charm.

Autocrats know all this and strive to demoralise and brutalise their populations so that even this last act of freedom is inhibited; when a population loses its manners it has no more liberty to lose.

But in the long run, and it can be very long, the coercive force of the dreaming intellect, whether it is Kubla Khan or Lord Passfield, will be resisted, will be cut back to the earth by the innocuous but deeply subversive tact of two subjected individuals coming undramatically to agreement. Thus is autocracy destroyed by charm and courtesy.