Thomas Jefferson famously said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” In this he echoed the bad experiences the ancient Athenians had made with their democratic experiment. Here is a brief video summarizing Socrates’ thoughts on democracy:
(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Why Socrates Hated Democracy”)
Basically, if we managed to resurrect Socrates today, he would have no difficulty explaining to us how we got dreadful things like the Iraq War, the Great Recession, and a billionaire president who ran as an ostensible anti-establishment candidate promising to “drain the swamp,” but who now has populated his cabinet and other high posts with nefarious banksters and CEOs (swamp creatures), slashes taxes on the rich, cuts important government services like PBS funding and meals on wheels, and tries to take health coverage away from all those of us who really need it (yes, be warned, the deadly Trumpcare bill was killed in order to put up an even more deadly and cruel health coverage denial bill).
The ancient Greeks, in their attempts to make democracy work, even proposed to not elect government and parliament figures but choose them by lot, so as to prevent the toxic influence of big money and false promises in elections.
Maybe we can come up with better democracy than the ancient Greeks, but we will need to become a lot less ignorant and a lot more filled with good ideas. Hence we need to read and share sources of information, analysis, and ideas like this blog or discussion sites like The People’s Platform (USA). Probably this week, I will publish an article explaining the major components of democracy, some of which are also its vulnerabilities. I hope you will keep your eyes peeled for it or sign up for email notification (sidebar).
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