Last night I had a long conversation with a friend about how times have changed since I was young, yeah it made me feel really old. One of the things that came up was the fact that we in western civilization have gone through some recent paradigm shifts such as moving from an agricultural paradigm to an industrial one, then more recently to a combination of two that being the information age, and the genetic age… but it suddenly occurred to me there is another that is creeping up on us in the last couple of years, and it may explain why Clinton is a front runner for President of the USA.
I won’t get into the LONG LIST of issues as to why Clinton is a very bad choice for the USA. I am more interested in why anyone would bother to vote for a person who has proven time and again that they are evil to the core.
Plato was a classical Greek philosopher who suggested that civilization changed from one type to another in a patterned circle. He does this by creating character that represent each of the five types he thought would follow each other, but doesn’t give us the other characters that must be in play in order for this to come about.
I have my own shorten version of this concept, and it starts with King Arthor.
King Arthor was an idea. That being what would happen if a man with high morals, and high ideals would come to power and follow through on those morals and ideals. The end result, although temporary, was Camelot. The main ideal/moral that I want to point out was that not even the King himself would be above the law. In the fictional story, Camelot comes crushing down not because of the enemies at the gate, but because of human nature’s in-ability to live up to that which is right. King Author’s Camelot is a utopia, my starting point for what I think is a description of civilization/s, only because it is theoretically perfect. This is Plato’s Aristocracy. Our Roman Empire.
King Arthor’s Camelot falls apart and becomes a broken empire when the knight of the round table try to claim their own little section of the kingdom, with the King dead. Now you have instead of one King, several power hungry kings each with their own agenda and ideas of how things should be run, but most of the them have one common idea is that, now, the king is the law, rather then a King is not above the law. Each of the knights of the round table had a main character trait that they were identified with. When Camelot ends, those character traits are no longer tempered by the wisdom and moderation of Author, you end up with dominate traits being the main focal point. A few examples of which might be a state based on the character trait of Lancelot, which I’ll call the hippie state of love. Another, Percival’s kingdom, might be made of high ideals, but ignorance really rules because everyone there just goes with the flow. Sir Lamorak would have created a warrior state, and Sir Bedivere might have managed to create something close to the original Camelot. The list goes on. These smaller kingdoms are Plato’s Timocracies. Our Roman Republics.
By the time the Sons of the Knights Templar take power, they have devolved in nothing more then rich land barons. Avalon is now nothing more then myth. The Upper Class rule the Lower Class with the only interest to maintain their power base. Eventually they get their butts kicked, and a form of democracy starts. This is where Plato’s Oligarchy ends and modern Democracy starts. But the shift isn’t as clean cut as all that. The land barons are not all killed off, think of the current Queen of England for example.
What does tend to happen is a division of power, there are those with something that the nation needs, and those that make that something work for the nation. Land and labor for example. So the two sides of the same coin form what we call houses in the government. Either side can make up any law they want, but it won’t be with power unless the other side agrees to accept it. This is where Robert’s Rules of Order, and the whigs and Tories come in.
This system, which we are still using the tail end of, is about as fair and good as it gets without your ideal king. But like King Author has a fatal flaw. Humans are far from perfect, and no matter how perfect your utopia is, humans will screw it up.
The flaw is the weakness that brings down democracy every time, and not surprisingly it is the very thing that gives it strength to begin with. The flaw is “the vote”.
Having two houses in government is suppose to prevent those with “X” from take advantage of those without “X”. But after a parliamentary system like this has been around for awhile the lines get blurred in government. A democracy is it’s simplest definition means that you elect to your house of representatives a person to take care of your interests at that government level. The common sense choice is to choose someone like you. If your a land baron you elect another land baron, if your a poor bastard you elect another poor bastard. That way you are truly represented in the halls of power. But… the poor bastard who becomes a member of the house, suddenly finds he doesn’t have to be poor no more because the other guys can easily buy his vote for what ever they want.
And the foolish baron who blows all his wealth on women and drink, find himself voting in favor with the other house because he’s actually poor now and wants to keep it a secret from his rich co-workers… the lines start to blurr.
Eventually, the ones who elect these idiots wise up. So they start experimenting to try to fix the system. These experiments include all kinds of voting systems, forms of government, military coups, civil war, free trade agreements, and any crazy idea that they think has not been tried before. Some of these ideas actually work out better for a time, some cause economic crashes. But all and all they include the power of the people to vote.
Then one day someone has an idea….
… “I can vote money out of the treasury.” …
Therein lies the final nail in the coffin of democracy. And this start’s Plato’s Tyranny.
If you want to know more of what Plato’s Tyranny looks like, vote for Hillary, or Trump. It won’t matter.
Copyright 2017 Dan Wolfe