Thursday, February 22, 2007


Are we back? Don't go crazy. With two midterms on back-to-back days next week, and a brief that will constitute 80% of my grade in one class due in two weeks, I don't think updates will be frequent or forthcoming for a while.

I just had to mention this, though. As a philosophy major and continuing, incurable "philosophy guy," I've read a lot of Plato. I've just completed two plays of Aristophanes now - The Clouds and The Acharnians. My impression of Greek democracy from Misters Plato and Aristophanes is that it was an utter farce, a means for demagogues and charlatans to manipulate masses of people to enforce what were essential private goals. The reason that Athenian democracy holds such a high place in our cultural memory escapes me utterly. Democracy in Athens was a joke. Quite literally, too - Aristophanes skewers it really viciously.

When I learn that Madison, Hamilton, and Jay did not think much of Athens either, I am substantially supported in my view that the Greek city-states were populated by a few brilliant men and a mass of conniving power-grabbers. In fact, the brilliant men mainly came from Greek colonies, especially in Asia Minor - Thales and a few other (very) early philosophers came from Miletus. For great government, you have to wait until Rome.

So, screw Greece.


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