En una carta de l’octubre de 1813, Thomas Jefferson escrivia a John Adams:
“For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents. […] There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents; for with these it would belong to the first class. The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society. May we not even say that that form of government is the best which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government? The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent it’s ascendancy. On the question, What is the best provision, you and I differ; but we differ as rational friends, using the free exercise of our own reason, and mutually indulging it’s errors.”
*Alguns trobaran en les paraules de Jefferson un refugi interessant contra l’implacable igualitarisme del nostre temps. L’exercici veritablement interesant, tanmateix, passa per preguntar-se quina relació hi ha entre els millors de Jefferson i els de –per exemple– Plató. Qui sap si en aquest exercici hi ha algunes claus per entendre bé allò que, nosaltres moderns, som.