Tagged: Democracy

The Philosophers and The Gentlemen

Socrates, in The Republic, defines the five essential forms of government in rank order, from most to least just: aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, tyranny. His cleverest rhetorical trick, the most famous (and probably least understood) conceit in the dialogue, is his redefinition of aristocracy by means of the radical proposal that in order to realize a truly just city in practice, philosophers would...

A Few Political Questions Answered

Q. What would Donald Trump have to do to change your mind about him? A. He would have to replace his rational faculty with that of Thomas Jefferson, his temperament with that of Ronald Reagan, and his principles with those of George Washington. Unfortunately, his life, past and present, shows him to be on the very opposite end of the spectrum on all...

RFK Jr. Notes

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the third party presidential candidate who is essentially running as Donald Trump with a fully developed brain — admittedly a significant step up from the worn-out brain stem that is currently running as the real Donald Trump — has made headlines this week by declaring, to the incredulous consternation of the CNN talking hairdo who was interviewing him, that...

Reflections On The New Tribalism

A Symptom.— Public shaming implies a character that is incapable of mercy, which implies a lack of empathy, which implies an inability to recognize one’s likeness in the other, which implies seeing the other as specially separate and thus essentially unfamiliar. The inability to recognize one’s likeness in the other, i.e., to see the subjectively unfamiliar as objectively familiar, indicates an uncivilized man....

A Pearls Before Swine Moment

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has gotten himself in trouble with the mainstream media again. And as is often the case, he has done it in a way that reassures me that I was right to lend my loud support to his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, at the moment when he was the last conservative standing against eventual nominee Mitt...

True Democracy

A headline I just read from Jacobin: “True Democracy Is Incompatible With Capitalism.” My random responses to this headline and accompanying article, as they occur to me on the fly (since flying past quickly is the only reasonable way to look at such blather): How presumptuous to assume that one has discerned which sense of democracy is the true one — but never...

The Unexamined Life Today

The challenge in teaching Plato’s Apology used to be overcoming the students’ incredulity and incomprehension faced with the historical fact of a supposedly democratic society rejecting the philosophic activity so stridently as to put a man’s freedom and his very life on trial, merely for asking questions that the political establishment did not like. “How unjust and intolerant the Athenian people must have...

Passing Remarks On Late Modernity

We are all supposed to defend the idea of democracy today as though our lives depended on it. In fact, anyone who fails to do so, or who dares to ask questions such as whether this democracy we are all bound to defend amounts to anything in practice but the blunt force of absolute majority rule, is condemned or ridiculed as an enemy...

On the Protectors of Democracy

An American friend — or rather I ought to say the American friend — responding to my recent article, “Democratic Equality 101,” offered the following musing: The entire discussion of “protecting our democracy” here in the USA makes me want to vomit. The purposeful dumbing down of our citizenry is apparent everywhere. A Constitutional Republic was/is intended to be a safeguard against unruly...

Democratic Equality 101

I reproduce here, with minor modifications, my reply to a multi-part inquiry from a serious Korean student about the meaning of equality, as that term is used in the context of democratic theory and practice. I have included a few of the student’s own questions (designated with “Q”) from our written exchange, as they form the context for my particular points of emphasis. ...