The word democracy is held in awe these days. Mention it almost anywhere and you’ll get instant nods of approval.
People actually believe that democracy gives us harmony and peace, not to mention wealth. They are sure that it is the ultimate and inevitable end of human development, created by the wise and noble Greeks and given to us, the enlightened society that took it to the ends of the Earth!
But if the ancient Greeks could see what we call ‘democracy,’ they would spit at it. They’d probably want to burn it down.
As many problems as they had (and they had plenty), they were not fools, and it wouldn’t take them a day to condemn what the West now worships.
Why would the old Greeks be so upset? Let’s take a look at their (Athenian) system and see how our modern form stacks up:
#1: Greek citizen assemblies met 40 times per year in an open, public forum. Any citizen could speak and any citizen could vote. A vote of those present was final.
Contrast that with what passes for (American) democracy now: Only special people are allowed to attend the assemblies. On top of that, there are far, far more meetings than anyone could hope to follow: General sessions, meetings for dozens of committees, party caucuses and more, running at all hours. No one person can come remotely close to keeping up with it all.
The citizen is clearly unable to participate or even to understand what’s going on. Just this fact would cause the “fathers of civilization” to pronounce our system a fraud, and rightly so. The citizens are non-participants.
#2: Laws were inscribed on stone pillars (stelae) and posted in prominent locations so that everyone would see them.
Greek laws were accessible to every Greek. Not only were they required to be posted, but this requirement also guaranteed that there couldn’t be too many of them.
If you were to take an ancient Greek to see “our laws,” they’d be looking at more than 80,000 pages of almost indecipherable language. (And those would be only the Federal laws.)
Because of this, the Greeks would be insulted when you assured them that we have “the rule of law.” They would say that when people can’t know the law, they are living in a tyranny, and no amount of fancy argumentation would convince them otherwise.
And, again, they would be right. If you are ignorant of the law (80,000 pages of government-speak) but are still subject to punishment under the law, you are living in a tyranny. The founders would have no confusion about that.
#3: A Council oversaw the daily affairs of the democracy. Each of ten tribes provided 50 men. But, only one tribe’s men (50 of them) served at any one time, and only for one month. (The Greeks had ten months in their year.) And once any person served as a Councilor, they were forbidden from serving again for ten years.
Under this arrangement, playing tricks became almost impossible: as soon as the first of the month came along, the next tribe could turn your tricks around and do worse to you.
Contrast this with senators and congressmen who stay in office for decades on end, selling all sorts of favors, amassing multi-million dollar campaign funds, and making themselves rich in the process. Most of them never really go away.
At this point, our philosophical forefathers would be looking for places to buy torches… and they would be ready to beat anyone who called a system that supports such shenanigans a democracy.
#4: Citizens chosen for positions like overseer of the marketplace were chosen completely at random.
Imagine choosing the boss of the IRS at random. We all know what would happen: You’d get a housewife from Portland one year and a plumber from Topeka the next. And they’d act like humans, rather than unfeeling automatons. The sanctimonious abuser state would crumble.
#5: At the beginning of their democracy, the citizens of Athens were divided into ten tribes (and NOT along regional or family lines). This was done specifically to break the power of the aristocratic families.
Have you paid attention to the DC crowd lately? Have you noticed that they never leave? Instead, they slide back and forth between congress, commissions, agencies, lobbying firms, mega-corps and media. Have you noticed how often their children marry each other?
Look at the Presidential lineup: Bush – Clinton – Bush – Obama – Clinton? – Bush?
That’s called “aristocracy.” However, people who are emotionally bound to the system can’t see it. The Greeks certainly wouldn’t be fooled.
Losing Our Religion
Do you remember a haunting song from the ’90s called “Losing My Religion“? If so, cue that up in the back of your mind, because that’s what stands in front of the people of the West.
The majestic “Democracy” that was supposed to be our savior is actually an abusive fraud. It’s time to let it go. That’s not easy, I know, but it needs to be done.
Will you take the first step?
8 thoughts on “Why the Real Founders of Democracy Would Be Pissed if They Saw What We Did…”
Maybe I’m more of an individualist than most. I saw the fraud of “Democracy” many years ago. Haven’t voted in a political election for 40 years. My wife hasn’t voted for about 30 years and none of my children (5) have ever voted. So all blood pressure is relatively low.
Hans-Hoppe’s book, “Democracy – The God that Failed” was not a revelation; I always knew of its truth.
Democracy is not a ‘God’, just a procedure, and should be viewed as such.
Failing to express a preference (a.k.a. vote) is itself expressing a preference – to let others do the deciding.
They’re eager enough to do it after all. And they don’t really care whether you participate or not… so long as they can jail you when they like, and so long as we peasants don’t come calling with our pitchforks.
And that is the conceptual error of this article. It spells out how what we have today IS NOT DEMOCRACY – and then uses those observations to say THAT DEMOCRACY HAS FAILED.
You have a choice. To let others rule you. Or to rule yourself. When you allow others to rule you, under any circumstance, you cede your humanity – the ability to decide, your personal Power – to your rulers. The importance is not that you even non-violently resist. Rather, what is important is that each human recognize that – even under duress (which is to say a choice of bad alternatives) – the responsibility for the decision lies INDIVISIBLY with the individual.
Worse. The apparent ceding of decisions IS AN ILLUSION. No matter how stridently one eschews the task of deciding, the capacity to decide still remains. It is the proof of humanity, because one must exercise it to deny it.
Power expresses itself socially as privilege.
The best way to limit power is to hack away its roots.
Today’s Powerful are rooted in the control of Money – specifically fractional reserve banking and monopolies on the creation of fiat currency. All the Cartels, the Corporations, the Parties, the control of the legal system – in short all the special privileges of today – are rooted in this.
Both fractional reserve banking and fiat currency are extremely vulnerable to the informed – who may choose not to keep savings accounts, and who may choose not to hold their wealth in the controlled fiat currencies.
Their solvency and their Power depend on your deposit and your acceptance of the currency THEY CONTROL. But, your support of the ROOT OF THEIR POWER is VOLUNTARY. You have a choice that requires no violence, and only a TEMPORARY sacrifice of convenience.
The Cypriots wish they could change their minds…those not still in denial.
What abuse will be enough to cause people to change their minds, I wonder?
No, I beg to differ here – voting doesn’t matter anymore – the desired outcome somehow carries the day despite everyone lining up at rigged voting machines. If the peoples’ voice made any difference, we’d have a lot different set of laws and today would not be the hellish quagmire into which the U.S. has descended.
Overall not a bad article. But he does conflate Greeks with Athenians and Atticans. Other Greek city-states had very different sorts of government. Nor did the tribal system of Cleisthenes derail the power of the aristocracy. Residing in Athens while their fellow “tribesmen” lived further afield, the aristocrats more often allied with each other than with their nominal allies — rather like elitist Republicans and Democrats today.
We are NOT a democracy. We were set up to be a Constitutional Republic.
Yes, but we have not been one for over a hundred and fifty years.
Yes, well I’d have to agree. But I’ll still cling to what’s left of it.
How about a solutocracy that is predicated on solving problems and not passing “laws” that All fall under? We now have what it takes to do that – and much more. Please read these four short articles:
The Plan: http://www.thelivingmoon.com/forum1/index.php?topic=5626.0
“ALL money systems promote the most psychopathic to the top of the money/power heap – THEY will do ANYTHING to get there.”
“The love of money is the root of all evil; remove the soil in which the root grows…”
“If the universe is made of mostly “dark” energy…can We use it to run Our cars?”
“If You want peace, take the PROFIT out of war.”
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