Because you'd be endlessly retrieving cookie data and deciding if you need to re-render. This is no better than scattering data in the DOM or arbitrary web DB stores: the end problem is the same in that it's disconnected from rendering.
It completely removes one of React's benefits from your code: the whole point of having state and properties in React is that it handles re-rendering (or lack thereof) for you.
The Redux pattern is more than just having "central storage", which could be implemented in countless arbitrary ways. It also specifies how that storage is accessed (streams of actions) which provides a number of additional benefits. That's orthogonal to how the data is stored.
If you want more meaningful replies you'll need to defend your statement that "passing data through props or context is inelegant". It's one-way data flow; it's not inherently inelegant.
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