Global Studies 2A:Comparative Political and Religious Systems
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
 
Sam
October 29, 2003
Global Studies 2A
Reflection Question 8

Today in the United States, we have what looks like a Democracy. In many respects we do have one. But it is flawed. Our government, like all other governments has followed a pattern. Aristocracy to Timocracy to Oligarchy to Democracy to Tyranny. Then after about a minute of Anarchy, there is once again an Aristocracy. The below quote from Plato basically shows this.

“It won’t be hard for you to hear them,” I said. “For those I mean are also the ones having names; the one that is praised by the many that Cretan and Laconian regime; and second in place and second in praise, the one called oligarchy, a regime filled with throngs of evils; and this regime’s adversary, arising next in order, democracy: and them the noble tyranny at last, excelling all of these, the fourth and extreme illness of the city. (The Republic of Plato, By Plato, 544 c)

If you look at each step of the system, it works. You start off with a relatively just group of leaders. This is because they all still believe in their new society because they started it and most likely had a good reason for it. In a Timocracy you have a group of people that still hold onto the ideas of the original society. They take great importance in honor.

An Oligarchy is based on gaining wealth. This is usually militant. Wealth is made so important because the honor in a Timocracy is foreshadowed by gaining wealth. The leaders in the society could for example, say that they were upholding the honor of the society by waging war on another society. But they could really be after some sort of material wealth that that country has.

You see a Democracy when everything is now unfair from having a ruling class make the decisions. To solve this, you make it so that everyone has an equal say, and everyone is an equal. But, eventually this system breaks down, because there are to many people to make decisions and equals. You also have people who realize the ease of taking advantage of this system. Anyone in our class, with the right mindset could do it.

Once someone like the all and mighty Skiffertson gets enough followers, he can overrun the Democracy and rule however he pleases. Eventually though, he would tick off the public too much. He would tick them off so much that they rebel with the “it’s not fair” attitude. This would then result in a complete breakdown of the system or anarchy. This period of complete chaos is usually ended quit quickly. Once the masses realize that they are helpless without someone to rule them, they want a government that doesn’t really admit how helpless they are. So, they get a ruling class to set order and the cycle repeats as shown.

“In the first place, then, aren’t they free? And isn’t the city full of freedom and free speech? And isn’t there license in it to do whatever one wants?”

“That is what is said, certainly,” he said. (The Republic of Plato, By Plato, 557 b) This is what Plato thinks a Democracy is.

The United States claims to be a Democracy. “One for all, and all for one.” “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” “Do onto others has you would want them to do to you.” These are some nice little slogans with good ideas. But do you really think that the leaders of our country really expect those types of ideas to be thought about and followed seriously. Def. Not. They are there to make us think that we are in a Democracy. Has long as we think that were a Democracy, we won’t become a Tyranny.

Not everyone is treated equally. Some of us are given a much better chance from the get-go. I can just chill it up in my cushy cave with “Daddy’s credit card,” lives in a trailer park in Texas has about has much of a chance of succeeding in life as a person who has an I.Q. of 40. It isn’t even a case of who’s smarter; it’s more motivation in this instance. His parents most likely don’t care about his report card. His teachers most likely won’t care about his future. Unless he is incredibly motivated, he most likely won’t make it out of the trailer park.

Once a sizable group of people realizes this, our Democracy won’t work. So, someone will take the reigns. We will be so desperate to avoid anarchy and loosing the title of being one of the world’s most powerful countries, that we won’t mind having a leader making all of the decisions.

In conclusion, Plato wouldn’t think that we would have a true Democracy. It wouldn’t be a Democracy unless every person was completely free and had completely equal rights. He would most likely think that we are between Democracy and Tyranny.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
 
In response to Tobi's inquiry on book 7 alegory of the cave paper:
tobi, you are very correct when commenting that another chain is confidence. But I believe it is an additional chain rather than the sole chain... i am not sure if that was what you were implying. I believe it is an additional chain, along with organizational and time management skills. At the current time I wrote the paper, the organizational and time management skills were a central part of my thinking and I had been working on them with rob. In terms of how to break the chain of time management and organizing... i think i have already begun... prior to this year my room has been something along the lines of a dumping pit, clothes, bags, papers, all mixed up into one glob accumulating one foot off of my floor every where i stepped... recently i picked it up and have been keeping it clean since... wow i feel like an alcoholic or ciggarette addict talking about an addiction, but all the same it is true...for time management, at rob's request i purchased a palm pilot to keep me on task and not spacing out, which i happen to unfortunately do quite a bit of... i believe that these are attempts to break the chains... i believe confidence will have to come in time, and there is no single event which can cure the lack of it, other than simply a series of reasurring events, in terms of the other chains of organization and time management, only time will tell how effective my attempts to snap them will be,
thankyou for commenting on my paper,
Aaron
 
SS 5a
Erica Boudette
10/28/03
Reflection

According to Plato what kind of government
is the US now and what was it at it’s founding?

According to Plato there are five different kinds of governments and they go through a cycle from aristocracy to timocracy then oligarchy then democracy and finally tyranny. He thinks aristocracy is the best kind of government, rule by philosopher kings, like the perfect city; therefore the aristocratic man is “both good and just” (544e). This is the best kind of government to have, and tyranny is the worst.
So where is the United States on this scale? We certainly don’t have an aristocracy because the smartest and best-educated men are not the ones ruling. But some people all over the world feel that the US has the best government existing in the world, you can see this just by looking at the number of immigrants especially illegal ones that flock to the US every year. What they are looking for is freedom to do what they want and the equal opportunities that they might have in a country where “everyone is equal” meaning that they will get the same chance as everyone else to succeed. They want to be here because “…Aren’t they free? And isn’t the city full of freedom and free speech? And isn’t there license in it to do whatever one wants?” (557a) The democracy is supposed to let people grow without limiting them on what they can achieve. They can have anything they want as long as the can work hard enough to get it. Democracy is also appealing because it “comes into being when the poor win, killing some of the others and casting out some, and share the regime and the ruling offices with those who are left on an equal basis;” (556e) So the ideal of democracy is that it is ruled by the people, the poor basically, that were left out by the oligarchy. Is this what the US has today? Everyone has equal rights, an equal chance? The poor are ruling? It doesn’t seem like it. If you look at the people who make it in politics they are usually rich. Only the rich people have the money to finance campaigns and get people to vote for them. A poor person could run for office, but it is doubtful they would ever win, just because they could probably not publicize enough for enough people to know who they are, like there campaign and vote for them. Money is the biggest limitation on people today in our society, because without money you can’t get very far. People with money have a better standard of living; they get better education and have more chances from the day they are born right on through the rest of their life, immediately they have a better chance then people with little money. Also people are not free to do whatever they want, not only are the limited by money, but also by laws that are put in place. And if there are laws there has to be someone making them. Those people being are elected officials. So there are people with the power, everyone is not equal, some people get to make the decisions, and they decide how the rest of society has to live. All of these things make it clear that we are not living in a true democracy.
Plato says that a true democracy can never really last for long because there always has to be some sort of order otherwise things will just fall apart. Democracy is based on freedom, and our society is not free. People are under the impression that everyone is free, and that is why people think of democracy as the best kind of government, “….This regime, decorated with all dispositions, would look the fairest, and many perhaps,….would judge this to be the fairest regime.” (557c) But out of all the governments the democracy is the only one based on the idea of freedom. So even if people are not completely free in the US they have much more freedom here then most other governments in the world. So the US government is mostly a partially a democracy, but it also has part of another type of government in it as well. This other government is oligarchy, because so much of our society is based on wealth, just look at the kids who when you ask them what they want to when they grow up say “a lawyer or an actor, so I can make a lot of money,” and the adults that will give up everything for the pursuit of wealth. Over and over we are told and shown in the US that the best way to live is to have a lot of money. And according to Plato people in an oligarchy are “lovers of money-making and money; and they praise and admire the wealthy man and bring him to ruling offices, while they dishonor the poor man.” (551b) So are government today is a mixture of democracy and oligarchy.
But what about at it’s founding? What kind of government did the US have then? The US started when people got together and wanted to overthrow the English because of the unfair taxes the English government was putting on the thirteen colonies. So after they had overthrown the English a group of some of the most influential and powerful people got together to decide what the government for the US should look like. These people were the richest, best-educated people. And they were so frustrated with not being free under the British that they decided to set up a democracy, where people were free to be how they wanted to be. But was it really a democracy? The first president was George Washington, who was voted in by the other wealthy people who were setting up the government, probably mostly his friends. And they all talked about equality for everyone, yet the kept slaves, and only people who owned land were allowed to vote, and then only men. So everyone was certainly not equal or free here. The wealthy were the ones benefiting from this new government. So it seems that the original government was also an oligarchy, based on money. Especially once you consider that the colonies went to war in order to get more money trading goods, and be able to avoid the taxes the British wanted to put on trading, the main goal of this new government seems to be money, so our founding fathers had an oligarchy.

 
John Donahue
10/26/03
Plato
Paper
I Choose Anarchy, Personally………..

By today’s standards, Plato would say that we live in a democracy. The democracy that we live in isn’t an exact democracy, but it is a democracy nonetheless. Plato likes the idea of a democracy, but if he had it his way he would want an aristocracy. He would choose an aristocracy because the philosopher is the ruler.
Our country today is a mix of democracy and capitalism, because money is our country’s main motivation. Plato backs the idea of a democracy, but not as much as he backs the idea of aristocracy. He can see the faults the democracy presents. “……democracy by the members of the others- fall sick and do battle, and sometimes even without any external influence come divided by faction?” (556E) This quote is saying that eventually the people of a democracy will destroy their country. The foundation of democracy is based on equal rights, and that presents an issue. Someone can work so hard in there life, and try so hard and make a horrible income. Then there is the star basketball player that makes 10 million dollars a year for throwing a ball and trying to make it in the basket. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? That the hard working man, who spent most of his life working make as much, if not more than the basket ball star? This is where democracy crumbles, and jealously plays a large role in it. Every guy at some point has wanted the nice house, the fancy cars, and the five foot four, beautiful blonde female that you notice at the beach. Every girl at some point has wanted the nice house, the fancy cars, and the guy on the cover of GQ. People want the celebrity lifestyle, but not everyone can have it.
When our country was first founded, we were founded on an aristocracy. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, they were all highly educated and had followers that believed in what they said. As our country progressed, the value of education went down and the importance of money. Being intelligent is important, but being intelligent unfortunately doesn’t pay the bills anymore. Plato values aristocracy the most because be believes that it will bring out the just man in you.

 
John Donahue
10/26/03
Plato
Paper
I Choose Anarchy, Personally………..

By today’s standards, Plato would say that we live in a democracy. The democracy that we live in isn’t an exact democracy, but it is a democracy nonetheless. Plato likes the idea of a democracy, but if he had it his way he would want an aristocracy. He would choose an aristocracy because the philosopher is the ruler.
Our country today is a mix of democracy and capitalism, because money is our country’s main motivation. Plato backs the idea of a democracy, but not as much as he backs the idea of aristocracy. He can see the faults the democracy presents. “……democracy by the members of the others- fall sick and do battle, and sometimes even without any external influence come divided by faction?” (556E) This quote is saying that eventually the people of a democracy will destroy their country. The foundation of democracy is based on equal rights, and that presents an issue. Someone can work so hard in there life, and try so hard and make a horrible income. Then there is the star basketball player that makes 10 million dollars a year for throwing a ball and trying to make it in the basket. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? That the hard working man, who spent most of his life working make as much, if not more than the basket ball star? This is where democracy crumbles, and jealously plays a large role in it. Every guy at some point has wanted the nice house, the fancy cars, and the five foot four, beautiful blonde female that you notice at the beach. Every girl at some point has wanted the nice house, the fancy cars, and the guy on the cover of GQ. People want the celebrity lifestyle, but not everyone can have it.
When our country was first founded, we were founded on an aristocracy. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, they were all highly educated and had followers that believed in what they said. As our country progressed, the value of education went down and the importance of money. Being intelligent is important, but being intelligent unfortunately doesn’t pay the bills anymore. Plato values aristocracy the most because be believes that it will bring out the just man in you.

 
John Donahue
10/26/03
Plato
Paper
I Choose Anarchy, Personally………..

By today’s standards, Plato would say that we live in a democracy. The democracy that we live in isn’t an exact democracy, but it is a democracy nonetheless. Plato likes the idea of a democracy, but if he had it his way he would want an aristocracy. He would choose an aristocracy because the philosopher is the ruler.
Our country today is a mix of democracy and capitalism, because money is our country’s main motivation. Plato backs the idea of a democracy, but not as much as he backs the idea of aristocracy. He can see the faults the democracy presents. “……democracy by the members of the others- fall sick and do battle, and sometimes even without any external influence come divided by faction?” (556E) This quote is saying that eventually the people of a democracy will destroy their country. The foundation of democracy is based on equal rights, and that presents an issue. Someone can work so hard in there life, and try so hard and make a horrible income. Then there is the star basketball player that makes 10 million dollars a year for throwing a ball and trying to make it in the basket. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? That the hard working man, who spent most of his life working make as much, if not more than the basket ball star? This is where democracy crumbles, and jealously plays a large role in it. Every guy at some point has wanted the nice house, the fancy cars, and the five foot four, beautiful blonde female that you notice at the beach. Every girl at some point has wanted the nice house, the fancy cars, and the guy on the cover of GQ. People want the celebrity lifestyle, but not everyone can have it.
When our country was first founded, we were founded on an aristocracy. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, they were all highly educated and had followers that believed in what they said. As our country progressed, the value of education went down and the importance of money. Being intelligent is important, but being intelligent unfortunately doesn’t pay the bills anymore. Plato values aristocracy the most because be believes that it will bring out the just man in you.

 
It is very difficult to classify one government under one category, due to the fact that governments do not appear in pure forms. In Plato’s Republic, Plato offers the reader guidelines to help understand what form of government we are participating in, and the form our ancestors took part in.
Plato describes the rulers of an aristocracy as being the: “Best in philosophy” (543 a). He continues that: “They were to train for war and act as Guardians over the community, in return for which they were to get their keep as their annual wage, and devote themselves to the care of their fellow-Guardians and the whole state” (543 c). Plato’s aristocrats placed the interests of the state above personal agendas, and did not have excessive amounts of money. According to Plato’s criteria, the United States was initially founded as an aristocracy, with oligarchial elements. Although the United States did not duplicate Plato’s form of rule, many similarities can be drawn between the two systems. Both groups of rulers had the interests of the state truly at heart. In the Preamble to the Constitution, crafted by the founding fathers, they had the nation’s interests at heart, working to: “Promote the general welfare,” and: “Establish justice” (law.cornell.edu).
The founding fathers weren’t exactly just scraping by financially like the majority of early Americans. Many of these aristocrats had great financial wealth, not as extravagant as the current administration’s holdings, but greater still than the average citizen. This varies from Plato’s aristocracy, where the guardians had very low incomes. This wealth amongst the rulers adds a somewhat oligarchial element to the aristocrats, keeping the system from receiving the pure label of an aristocracy.
Unfortunately today, the somewhat oligarchial aristocracy has vanished, replaced by an oligarchy. Plato defines an oligarchy, as: “A society where it is wealth that counts, and in which political power is in the hands of the rich and the poor have no share of it” (550 d). Any individual who claims that the system is not an oligarchy, must look no further than the president himself and his staff to view the oligarchy in motion. “No US administration in nearly a century has been dominated to such an extent by personnel drawn directly from the executive suites of American big business as that of George W. Bush” (wsws.org). The president himself reported $744,682 in income for the year 2000. Vice President Cheney and his wife’s tax returns for 2000 display a reported income of $36,086,635. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, is estimated to have between $50 million and $250 million, and Colin Powell’s stock portfolio alone is worth between $18 million and $65 million. One must look no further than the Bush tax cut to view this administration’s priorities to promote big business and the wealthy one percent of America. In Bush’s proposed tax cut for the rich, it is estimated that Bush’s cabinet members will save $5 million to $19 million apiece in estate taxes. Unlike at the founding of the United States, it does not feel like the current administration has the best interest of the nation as a whole in heart.
Although the members of the current administration are very intelligent, they are by no means philosophers. The president’s Yale degree is proof enough he’s not a bozo, but his C avg. suggests that he isn’t exactly what we would label as a genious.
Although the Bush administration, as well as the founding one, were very different in form, they both preached to be democracies. According to Plato, a democracy: “Treats all men as equal, whether they are equal or not” (558 c). This was certainly not the case during the founding of America where African-Americans were only regarded as three-fifths of a human being. We still do not live in a democracy. If we all had equal rights, the level of education amongst African-Americans living in the projects, would not be at the level which it is at today.
Both the American aristocratic system, as well as the oligarchic system used the idea of democracy to keep the citizens happy. Plato comments that: “A democracy is the most attractive of all societies, the diversity of its characters, like the different colors in a patterned dress, make it look very attractive” (557 c). Throughout American history, the government has created an artificial ideal known as democracy, simply so that they can keep their preferred form of rule intact.
Works Cited
World Socialist Website
Law.cornell.edu

 
Rachel Smith
Topic : Government stuff
Before you all read this, I just want to tell you all that my main focus right now is getting into COLLEGE, and this whole week and last week has been hell for me with applications up the wazo. This paper is up to my best ability, time wise and mental capable with all the stuff I have going on around me. Thank you.
According to Plato, there are five different forms of the Polis. In Plato’s mind, he thinks that the form of Aristocracy is the best. This means that the philosopher kings rule, and they try and find truth for their own sake. Plato quotes “ The man who is like the aristocracy, a man of whom we rightly assert that he is both good and just.” (544 e) Connecting the ideals of aristocracy to the individual, which can be related with the city. The next form down is Timocracy, which honors the following of rules of society, and having love and respect for those rules and the enforcers. Oligarchy is the next form, which believes that the rich are in control of all and they rule for wealth. The next form is democracy, what is thought of as a mode of government where all are equal. Although this may seem like the most fair of all modes, is it dishonest in meaning; what about the blacks and their rights in this democratic society? The last form would be tyranny, where a single individual has almost all of the power in the government, and this person maintains that power.
In our own American society, we practice democracy/ Oligarchy in which most of the population is greatly interested in personal wealth. While we believe democracy is a appropriate way of running things, it also tolerates the crap that goes on. It creates the ideal conditions for the good such as philosophy to grow, likewise allowing huge amounts of crap and bad things to slip by. Plato quotes “from a city under a democracy by the members of the other-fall sick and do battle with itself and sometimes even without any external influence become divided by faction?” (556 e)
If we had Aristocracy in our society, the population would be extremely pissed off, because nobody would be able to accumulate wealth. For example, if we placed aristocratic rule in a 3rd world country, people may tend to be more accepting to this new change. However, us spoiled Americans would just look at it as us loosing our culture, our objects of desire, and privileges.

 
Tobi Drori

Everything, no matter if it is a plant or a system, has a point in its cycle of existence where it decays. A plant grows, prospers, and then it becomes old; moreover it starts to perish. As this plant starts to grow it does not get better, but worse. However after it has completely decomposed, it starts over for a second time. In Plato’s Republic, he explains that same process with the different forms of government. He recognizes that there are five structures of command. Every time a regime transforms into another, it becomes increasingly unjust for the city as a whole, and the individual. Plato ensures that this periodic cycle will always occur because it is impossible to remain in the perfect rule without anything taking place to cause a shift. “Do you suppose that the regimes arise ‘from an oak or rocks’ and not from the dispositions of the men in the cities?" (544 e). Here Plato depicts that the reason the perfect system of government, aristocracy, will always worsen is because of the ruler; the unjust man who is in control, or the injustice of many who direct the ruled. Their desires lead them to degenerate the ideal state.
According to Plato, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny all derive from the mistake of mixing different metals during the marriage festivities that were specifically formed to ensure the best, and the most just child. However, as Plato states, the most ideal and just regime, other wise known as aristocracy, is destroyed because of this simple mistake. “Although they are wise, the men you educated as leaders of the city will nonetheless fail to hit on the prosperous birth and barrenness of your kind with calculation aided by sensation, but it will pass them by, and they will at some time beget children when they should not.” (546 b). At this point, the future children will not be as qualified as past generations were for the position of rulers. Plato explains that because of this incident, it creates two harmonies instead of a just one. Now, these children that were born from the wrong people at the wrong time will not be of a good nature. The city has no one else to choose from to become their next leader, so they must choose the best from the group of children who are already unworthy. Thus begins the course of decay for aristocracy. “And the chaotic mixing of iron with silver and of bronze with gold engenders unlikeness and inharmonious irregularity, which, once they arise, always breed war and hatred in the place where they happen to arise.” (547 a). During this change in the government, nothing goes from good to better. Instead, it goes from good to worse until it reaches its worse form, which only brings injustice to the city and no happiness whatsoever, tyranny.
As Plato stated, once the mixing of metals takes place, the men who are now the rulers will have more desires for unnecessary needs that do not benefit the individual, or the city for that matter. As these wants increase and change for the worse, the regime, and city, gets closer and closer to tyranny. Moreover, in today’s society, we are already down that path that leads to the absolute corrupted form of government; the tyrannical soul. Every change that takes place is a result from the person, or persons, who hold the ruling office. In addition, every time these changes happen they result in an even more unstable society.
For timocracy, the focus of this regime is the love for victory and honor. It will be no longer for the love of wisdom, and the rulers will become desires for needless possessions. They will be pulled toward money-making and private establishments. “They distributed land and houses to be held privately…’ ‘and they occupied themselves with war and with guarding against these men.”(547 c). As the desires for money-making enhance, the regime once again transforms out of this need, and changes to rule for wealth. This regime is called an oligarchy. In this system, the city is split up into two parts, or classes; the rich and the poor. In this structure, the rich are the ones that rule, and the poor have no part in the government. The ruling position of the city is based on money and property. If we were to look at our own government, called a democracy, we would be able to see were the system of an oligarchy takes place. In every aspect of our regime we see where the wealthy have more control than the poor. Not one state representative in our country comes from a penniless family. They all come from a wealthy, relished background. The poor in this regime will become beggars because the rich will take no time to center the ruling on the city itself. This results in the degrading to the next regime, which is democracy. In this government, the desires that are wanted by the people is absolute freedom. Where no one is ruled, and treated equally. However, as we have seen from our own society, people begin to realize that not everyone is equal. When this happens an allusion is created making and artificial democracy so that a regime called tyranny can be formed. When this happens the city is no longer just at all.
When our society was first established our regime was going to be focused on a form of democracy. Where everyone would be treated equally and the society would be “free.” Equal rights were established, and the government would be ruled in such a way that the common people would have a say. They would be able to vote, and change or add inputs to law. This democracy was going to be ruled by all. However, it wasn’t, and still today it isn’t.
According to Plato, a democracy is one of the worst forms of government, which leads right into tyranny. He says that in a democracy the poor and the rich are the same and there is no difference anymore because they are considered equal with each other. They are allowed to say and do what they want in Plato’s description of a democracy. “Aren’t they free? And isn’t the city full of freedom and free speech? And isn’t there license in it to do whatever one wants?” (557 b). He says that in a democracy, because of this freedom, both the rich and poor can live privately in the way they choose to. This democracy because it has no rule, and everyone desires absolute freedom and equality, it eventually leads to chaos. Which only leads to further injustice because the desires that they have are unnecessary for making a city just; these desires make the city increasingly unjust. There is no rule in democracy according to Plato, and because this is so, it does not lead the city towards truth and justice, it does the opposite.
When we look at the democratic system that we had and have now, we see that the structure Plato described of it does not conform to what our actual democracy is. A true democracy, in Plato’s words is one where there are no rulers, and where every person, even if they were equal or unequal, would have alike opportunity to everything. “Then, democracy,’ I said, ‘would have all this and other things akin to it and would be, as it seems, a sweet regime, without rulers and many-colored, dispensing a certain equality to equals and unequals alike.” (558 c). Our form of democracy has always been an allusion to the many. It has never been a true democracy in Plato’s terms, which suggests that our democracy has degraded to an even lower level of government: tyranny.
From the start of the establishment of our government, we never had a true democracy because not everyone was treated with equal rights. In fact, it was more on the lines of a oligarchy system. Meaning that the people who had control and a say in the regime, when it began, were the elite class of white rich men who owned land. They were the ones in control of the government. This elite class was small, and the rest of the populace was poor, but had no say, and consequently they were, and still are the large in proportion wise. In a sense, this resembles an oligarchy more than a democracy because the ruling class is based on the money that they hold. The ruling position was, and is not based on equality, but rather money. Even today a poor individual does not have as much say, or power, in the government as a rich white man does. We as a society have yet to see a black, poor man, take control of the government. This implies that the so-called democracy we have today is just an allusion, an artificial structure, designed to manipulate the many into thinking that everyone is free and has the same rights as others even if they are not equal beings. This is being done for the soul purpose of leading our government to the worst and most degrading form of a regime. We can’t see what is actually happening, but it is obvious that our government is no longer, nor was it really ever, a democracy. We are heading into the stages of tyranny, where a select few individuals are making the choices for our society. Still, many seem convinced that they +have control in the decisions of the government when in fact they don’t. Our voices no longer count for anything because we are not all equal. Tyranny is coming our way, it might already be established, but we cannot change the fact that this decaying process is inevitable. Tyranny is in our future, and it is in our present.



 
Will Meyer
10/27/03
SS5

In the modern world that we live in there are many different views of government. Some of them work very well, some of them look good but then fail, some of them are corrupt, and some of them are hell on earth. However we must ask ourselves as American citizens, are we still in a democracy, or have we simply transitioned to a higher or lesser form of government?

Firstly we must define democracy as thought by Plato. “Democracy, I suppose, comes into being when the poor win, killing some of the others and casting out some, and share the regime and the ruling offices with those that are left on an equal basis.”(557a). This definition of democracy, which is with everyone being equal and the poor man winning, is very far off from the truth in the US today.

I believe that today we are hovering between a timocracy, and an oligarchy. Plato defined a timocracy as, “in honoring the rulers, and in the abstention of its war making part from farming and the manual arts.” (547d). In short, Timocracy is the military and honor form of government. I think that the United States is in this right now because there is really no other force out there that can beat our military. Don’t get me wrong there are strong militaries out there but no one else has the technology that we do.

Oligarchy as defined by Plato is, “That we have developed the regime called oligarchy, one that gets its rulers on the basis of property assessment.” (553a) Basically this form of government is, if you’ve got the bling, bling, then you have the power. The United States is in this form because of our politicians. Look at Howard Dean; he is a really wealthy guy who gets a lot of his power from money. We call ourselves a democracy, HA; we are the farthest from democracy that could be possible. Everyone’s not equal; we don’t have the same amount of money or property as everyone else. PLEASE

Our Forefathers would not think a whole lot had changed since they had left. Back then it was still about money and power. When the British invaded it was all about who had the strongest military. Sure they wanted all things to be equal like in a democracy, however they were smart enough to realize that it was impossible. At least they knew not to try to make a democracy, like we are now. I think that all our leaders should take a course in philosophy and learn how stupid they are all being.

Monday, October 27, 2003
 
Tim Aikey
Comparative Studies
10/25/03
According to Plato, what kind of government is the United States today?
What kind of government was it at its founding?


I believe that both our government now and our government when it was first founded is the same type of government according to Plato. I think that both were Oligarchies, but not purely, they were also both slightly Timocracy. Plato says that an oligarchy is “The regime founded on a property assessment in which the rich rule and the poor man has no part in ruling office”(550c-d).

I believe think that our rules i.e. the presidents in modern day and in it’s founding time are and were wealthy. “In most oligarchies, the ruling group has power because of its wealth or military authority”(http://www.aolsvc.worldbook.aol.com/wbol/wbAuth/jsp/wbArticle.jsp). Plato also says this in many different ways; “the man whose substance is not up to the level of the fixed assessment shall not participate in the ruling offices”(551b). Which basically means no money no office. Which concurs with oligarchy, which is rule for wealth. Both George Washington and George W. Bush, have inherited their wealth along with other profitable trades. “Washington's wealth was one of the reasons he was called on to lead the American Revolution” (http://www.forbes.com/2003/02/13/cx_da_0114preslide.html?thisSpeed=20000). Not only was this president wealthy, but he was chosen to lead the American Revolution because of his wealth. Plato says something similar to this, “they praise and admire the wealthy man and bring him to the ruling office”(551a). Washington is wealthy and so they bring him to ruling office. George W. Bush is also wealthy, as I said before he had inherited money from his grandfather, and he did something with a rangers baseball team. As one of my sources says, “The Bush family money goes way back.” (http://www.forbes.com/2003/02/13/cx_da_0114preslide_10.html?thisSpeed=20000). So here are two examples of both the first president and the current president where wealth is ruling, and is probably why they are ruling. Plato also says, “In cities under Oligarchies don’t you see beggers present? Just about everyone except the rulers”(552d) This is a little more radical then what we have now, but is still valid, the biggest percentage of the United States are lower class, which is maybe a class above beggars.

I also believe that both were timocracy because of the military viewpoint. As the quote about Washington said, they hired him for the American Revolution, and George W. Bush, is also heavily involved with military, and makes military very big priority in the budget.

In conclusion, I believe that government has been the same since its founding, which is a taste of oligarchy and a taste of timocracy, and is definitely not what it wants to be or is called which is a democracy, where everyone is equal, this is not the case, people are very unequal and different. I believe the government both today and at its founding had two main things, a military and wealthy ruling officers.

Don’t mess with texas.
 
Andy Howe
Objective: Our government through the eyes of Plato
In pinpointing the development of our government system rich philosophic views, were used to acquire this philosophical wisdom that lead to the collective belief of ‘democracy,’ or government ruled by the people. This sounds all nice, pretty, and plutonic, but ye eyes are deceived when one applies true plutonic beliefs as the rubric for early American government. Upon holding the original American government system up to enviable this rubric, one can conclude that what is labeled ‘democracy’ through the eyes of Americans of that time does not draw significant enough parallels required to inherit the label of democracy.
First, the ‘democratic’ leaders of the American nation are the richest of the land, are the best educated, and are the most highly respected. This formula instantly creates an aristocratic/oligarchic atmosphere, which is further proceeded by the clear fact that not everyone is politically equal, hence the leader(s) ‘whom we rightly assert that he is both good and just.” (544 e) Leaders during this time in America lead the country with the best interests of the country in mind and not always for themselves by any means. However, they continue to hold traces of old political experiences from Europe, still not having a true democratic government. The population still embraced slavery restricting women, children, and men, who do not own land, from their rightful status as full citizens. They were denied political influence and a chance for high social status through means other than wealth.
Bringing the focus up to the present day, America through the plutonic lens reveals that the country is run by an oligarchic/free market government with democratic views. According to Plato, an oligarchy is “when wealth and the wealthy are honored in a city, virtue and the good men are less honorable.” (551 a) Put another way, this is when a city advocates people higher in government based almost entirely on their superior socioeconomic status. In addition, Plato defines a democratic government as being run by the people, and having free market. Something illuminating success through smart economic decisions and basing business and moneymaking dependent on human interactions, meaning people will be dependent on their city.
Given these economic interests, the government cannot and will not support communism by any means, being that of true socioeconomic equality but lacking true political equality an without representation. It would be impossible to run a country that embraced true democratic political ideals and deny representation. At the same time, oddly, the country confuses its democratic spirit and leadership. The mindless sheep elect leaders with questionable backgrounds but who are popular with the population. Hence eliminating the possibility of any sort of true aristocracy. Ironically, having the population under the illusion that they are being run/running a democratic government, run by the people, where in reality they are being distracted by the competition of free- market, which draws attention away from the government, and by political figures that can be molded by the media to satisfy popular appetites.
Thus, a system of oligarchic/illusions of democracy or skewed interpretations of it; run the country of America in a fairly desirable fashion.

Sunday, October 26, 2003
 
ridicule**** (my deepest apologies)
 
In response to Tobi's question for Aaron (/giggle)
-> When Aaron says this 'baggage' is keeping him from a "higher degree of thinking," maybe he has pre-supposed your example of self-confidence. To me, your example has very little affect on anything new on what Aaron has already said; because, isn't lack of self-confidence just another thing that holds people back from a "higher degree of thinking." For, obviously one could not process information with an impressive level of clarity if they have a mental block(s) such as self-confidence, an enemy of the mind which soils ideas before they can evolve from their womb. Fault due to lack of courage behind the idea, deminishing its existance for fear of public redicule or a product of self protection.
Does this clear anything up?


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