The oligarchy and the elite rise and there is inequality. My spelling and grammar can be tyrannical at times. A champion will come along and experience power, which will cause him to become a tyrant. But actually it’s not obvious that democracy always produces the most freedom-friendly outcomes. TIP: See our discourses on Rome, Sparta, and Athens for how different sorts of popular governments dealt with democracy and class warfare… and how they ended. He is widely acclaimed by the many and builds up a body guard only to protect himself and, of course, the interests of the “people.”, Think of Hitler’s SA and SS and also of the tendency to apply wherever possible the prefix Volk (people): Volkswagen (people’s car), Volksempfänger (people’s radio set), des ge-sunde Volksempfinden (the healthy sentiments of the people), Volksgericht (people’s law court). This is an argument for a government ruled by the wise rather than the many. This has been known since before the 300’s BC, and since Athens and Rome have fallen. Sometimes it does. ‘cease”–I think you mean ‘seize’ In simple terms, although this can be said many ways and is in the book (mostly using metaphor), pure oligarchy and pure democracy are bound for tyranny due to their very nature (as is timocracy to some extent) and thus these forms require the checks and restraints offered by the more principled and orderly forms. The Tighten-Your-Belt parties, if they unexpectedly gain power, generally act more wisely, but they rarely have the courage to undo the policies of the Santa parties. For everything else, I suggest you read the mind-blowing Republic. The first political analyst who foresaw this hitherto-never-experienced kind of evolution was Alexis de Tocqueville. Danielle Allen ▪ Spring 2015 Abraham Lincoln in August 1863, courtesy of the Library of Congress . This development could have been halted only by a military dictatorship (as envisaged by General von Schleicher who was later murdered by the Nazis) or by a restoration of the Hohenzollerns (as planned by Bruning). In all cases, the aristocratic and wise man, aspect of our human nature, and class provides the necessary restraints. and Other Greek Philosophers, Types of Governments. December 28, 2016 . The people will start to hate him and eventually try to remove him but will realize they are not able. Gifts cannot be distributed without bureaucratic regulation, registration, and regimentation of the entire country. NOTE: One could see the American revolution as the revolution Plato predicts that Oligarchy ends by. This means that an absolute monarchy could be liberal (but hardly democratic) and a democracy could be totalitarian, illiberal, and tyrannical, with a majority brutally persecuting minorities. and Other Greek Philosophers, our American Republic was constructed as a safeguard against tyranny, Plato: The Republic – Book 8 Summary and Analysis, Plato: The Republic – Book 9 Summary and Analysis, Democrats and Republicans got their names from the Greeks, but their modern ruling style in practice has little to nothing to do with the conversation, we live in a state that is becoming increasingly democratic and oligarchical despite its Republican roots, to understand why our American founders weren’t just being cute when they created a Republic, the government types defined by Plato and Aristotle, a popular state-based “winner-take-all” voting system that favors the minority, a mixed-Republic that allows for both oligarchs and democracy due to its liberal and democratic values, the early socialist aspects of the NAZI platform, a government like a Democracy can be corrupted by extreme equality and extreme inequality and collapse into a tyrannical government, The Republic by Plato – Book VIII – Part 1 of 2. This isn’t about judgement calls of what part of the cycle we are in, it is about expanding one’s mind to these concepts so we all have a clear understanding of “what not to do” and “how to safeguard the republic“. And while each new phase gives another round of hope, history doesn’t show us many peaceful ends to tyranny (outside our American revolution). We explain Plato’s theory as it pertains to democracy and tyranny. He also jumps around a lot, and some of what I described above comes from his other works! The Tyrant-in-training fights the elite on behalf of the faction, but the power is corrupting and soon [speaking metaphorically] the early socialist aspects of the NAZI platform become concentration camps and nationalist imperialism. Our “mixed constitution” was purposefully structured to ensure American virtues via the law. NOTE: Plato is the author of wrote down the dialogues of Socrates. Democracy soon becomes corrupt and degenerates into mob rule, beginning the cycle anew. This class is meant to be separate from government, separate from military, and even separate from the other vice-based sub-class of “producer”, “the luxury and artist” class. Although wealth is the most corrupting of the virtues (when it becomes greed), it actually has a few perks over pure liberty and equality (which become extreme quickly as mob rule sets in), as at least oligarchy has some semblance of order and restraints. For Plato, the Republic does a much better job of allowing this state of true liberty and equality to thrive. mob rule. Like a chariot driver restrains their horses, or like how a sage restrains their base desires with their intellect and wisdom, a mixed-Republic restrains itself via a mix of government types with a system of checks and balances (with each wiser form restraining the other more liberal form; but with each form having freedom and playings its role). SUMMARY: To quickly re-sum the above, this page explains Plato’s Republic in general, but specifically his five regimes and ideal state, and specifically how oligarchy and democracy become tyranny. Aristotle. Why are we talking about a book from 300’s BC? Under this type of democracy one could properly say that the majority rules and thus the threat of a tyranny of the masses is real. The above examples teach us, that democracies can self-destruct. The answer it provides is: regardless of who rules, government must be carried out in such a way that each person enjoys the greatest amount of freedom, compatible with the common good. Thus, in a way, what Plato is really going to describe is how Democracy, becomes a Tyrannical Democracy (Anarchy), becomes a Tyrannical Oligarchy. When the governor, however entitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule, and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties Educate the young to be honorable and virtuous, not to value wealth most or to think themselves equals of our greats out of the gate. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. See this Golden Mean chart for example (note that democracy and oligarchy are both based on vices of excess; they need to be retrained by true virtues like wisdom, honor, and duty): To Plato, wealth was the most corrupting of all things (it wasn’t a vice, it was an emblem of the path toward vice). “The excess of liberty, whether in States or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery…. Genuine liberalism is the answer to an entirely different question: How should government be exercised? To avoid the fall of a Republic and the rise of a Caesar, a society must avoid extremes (such as the extreme corruption of the Roman Senate or the extreme economic inequality of the Weimar Republic. For educational purposes only, an illustration of Plato’s five regimes. Who are populists like Caesar or Hitler if not charismatic leaders of the beast of many heads that had become enraged by inequality and the corruption of the ruling class aristocracy in a democratic Republic? The best way to stop a tyrant is to stop the source of the frustration (to stop the “spirit” which causes the decent into the next form)… Deal with inequality now, don’t exploit the loophole and wait. Our rich cherished more than schools, spirituality tossed aside for liberal vice seeking. Oligarchy and Democracy do not do this! If and when the war is won, and all opponents crushed, do those who are left really think they won’t be next? Equality doesn’t exist in nature and therefore can be established only by force. When a democracy which is thirsting for freedom has evil cupbearers presiding over the feast, and has drunk too deeply of the strong wine of freedom, then, unless her rulers are very amenable and give a plentiful draught, she calls them to account and punishes them, and says that they are cursed oligarchs. Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. Tytler organized these items in a circle: These oligarchs are overthrown by the people who set up a democracy. You don’t repress the Democracy, you put checks on it. IMPORTANT: This is all a metaphor for the soul and an answer to the question “what is justice”. Life Cycle of a Democracy. Democracy gets finally destroyed through corruption and thus followed by tyranny and a new sequence. Set term limits, uphold just law, uphold the separation of powers, and uphold human rights. Socrates was Plato’s teacher, Plato Aristotle’s, Aristotle Alexander the Great’s. Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing? A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. Tyler found that democratic societies went through this same cycle again and again and that the cycle lasted roughly 200 years each time. Oh, that and we live in a state that is becoming increasingly democratic and oligarchical despite its Republican roots. TIP: The most important concept in the Republic, in terms of this idea, is the premise (there are five aspects of government, soul, state, person, etc) and the solution (a system of checks and balances, in the right mix, to avoiding giving too much power to the corrupting but desirable virtues of liberty, equality, and wealth… even though this a the natural desire). A democracy may be either liberal or illiberal. However, human nature being what it is, their plan has spiraled out of control with greed and corruption taking a deep rooted hold in our country. This is less a judgement call and more a truism of human nature… according to Plato at least (Plato notes how excesses naturally cause paradoxical reactions in all things). Cycle of Democracy "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. Meanwhile, one who seeks wealth at the expense of ethics is pretty far from this ideal ruler. With that said, we know (like Plato knew) that not everyone is this virtuous or inclined to be virtuous, but that is why Plato strongly advocates for his class system (which is also a metaphor for the soul, in both cases balance of powers is key to the theory). Cycle of Democracy. The idea states that democracy is temporary in nature. Or, one could see that as the end of King George’s Timocracy and the start of American oligarchy. The Santa Claus parties, with presents for the many, normally take from some people to give to others: they operate with largesses, to use the term of John Adams. Thus, a “classless society” becomes the real aim, and every kind of discrimination must come to an end. Do they? The Bolshevik wing of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party could not win the elections in Alexander Kerenski’s democratic Russian Republic and therefore staged a coup with the help of a defeated, marauding army and navy, and in this way established a firm socialistic tyranny. The whole of Book 9, especially the first part is equally as important to the conversation, as this is the main place where the difference between the “democratical” and “tyrannical” man are described. Things don’t have to be “inevitable”. Pondering the question of “Who should rule,” the democrat gives his answer: “the majority of politically equal citizens, either in person or through their representatives.” In other words, equality and majority rule are the two fundamental principles of democracy. See our, Saying “Moshi Moshi” Proves You Aren’t a Ghost, The Equal Rights Amendment Was Never Ratified, There is Already a Wall Between the U.S. and Mexico, There are Elections Each Year in the United States, Democrats are Responsible for Trump’s Immigration Policy, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Died on July 4th 1826, Different Branches of the Military Use Different Battle Cries, Deductive Logic by St. George William Joseph Stock Explained, Friedrich A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom Explained, Capital in the Twenty-First Century By Thomas Piketty Explained, Andrew Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth Explained and Annotated, Lincoln’s Letter to Joshua Speed on Slavery and Know-Nothings Annotated and Explained, Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism Explained, The Main Differences Between Trump, Biden, and Bernie On HealthCare, Capitalism Works Because Capital is a Built in Incentive, Why People Call Left-Wingers “Commies” as an Insult, The Philosophy Behind the Types of Governments, Plato. To explain this another way, governments based on the virtues of liberty, equality, and/or wealth only (just those with no “checks and balances“) tend to produce chaos and naturally result in tyranny over time due to a lack the proper restraints (true for a soul, a person, a community, a state, etc). Greatness is earned, and it is only equatable to wealth for the producer class, greatness of a solider or a politician is a thing of honor or virtue, not wealth. The point is balance is key in all aspects of life, and the state is no exception. Oligarchy - rule by a select group of individuals. Every nation thinks it is perfect, but every drunk thinks themselves to be infallible. Democracy - rule by the people (male citizens). In summary, on all levels, the more “ideal” forms avoid tyranny because they are at least in part run by the wise and thus they can provide the necessary restraints (note that Plato’s monarchy/aristocracy denotes rule by the wise; not rule by wealthy posh elite hereditary aristocrats specifically)… However, to rule only by those higher forms is to repress one’s self (or the expression of the self within the state as citizens) and thus we see the merits of a system which contains all the forms. A very high-ranking Soviet official recently said to a European prince: “Your ancestors exploited the people, claiming that they ruled by the Grace of God, but we are doing much better, we exploit the people in the name of the people.”. It matters little that the realities are quite different. (One should not be surprised if an opera house that rejects a 4-foot tall Bambuti singer for the role of Siegfried in Wagner’s “Ring” is accused of racism!). The lack of a common political philosophy is more conducive to the development of outright revolutions in the South where civil wars tend to be “the continuation of parliamentarism with other (and more violent) means,” while the North is rather given to evolutionary processes, to a creeping increase of slavery and a decrease of personal freedom and initiative. The problem being that liberty in an extreme is just as corrupting as extreme authority, with the same being true for equality and inequality. 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