Monday, June 17, 2013

The Best Form of Government

I am listening to a Teaching Company lecture series that covers a lot of topics.  In passing, the lecturer tells a story about human history and government.   His issue is the natural state of man's governance, and although we all grow up with the idea that democracy is the best form, actually history is against us in this.

Looking back at recorded history we learn that despotism is the norm, not shared responsibility through  some sort of democratic sharing.  Solon, an Athenian scholar who was elected Arkon of Athens actually created the first defining document that laid out the basic tenants of democracy, and as soon as the ink dried he walked away.  Although the residents of Athens wanted him to assume the role of what we might today call a Caesar of Athens, Solon wanted nothing to do with it.  He understood that self rule means that there is nobody who is "in charge".  Everybody is in charge, in as  much as anybody is at all.  His ideals form the basis of what the Founding Fathers used as their guidelines for the Constitution of the United States,  and form what we think of now as the natural state of man, sharing governance and sharing responsibility for everything that happens.

Socrates came later, and denounced democracy as being the worst form of government.  He felt that the best government was a benevolent dictator.  Put someone in charge that really worked for everyone, and things would work out for the best.  Put everyone in charge, and Mob Rule would ensue where the Mob would be ruled by rhetoric, not reason.

Where do we stand today?

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