Use criminal virtue, but don’t be a criminal. He who wants geographic equality has to dynamite mountains and fill up the valleys. TIP: Plato’s regimes are Aristocracy, Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, and Tyranny. The idea states that democracy is temporary in nature. The above examples teach us, that democracies can self-destruct. Sure, we all want to deregulate and see some boom now, but sometimes you just need 10% interest rates and a little unhappiness. 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). Moderation, temperance, or whatever you want to call it, is perhaps the highest virtue of the state (its arete). For Plato, his ideal beautiful city aside, the only non-ideal forms of government that can breed the virtues needed to avoid Tyranny are Monarchy and Aristocracy (a kingdom ruled by the one or few wise). But 150 years ago he could not exactly foresee that the parliamentary scene would produce two main types of parties: the Santa Claus parties, predominantly on the Left, and the Tighten-Your-Belt parties, more or less on the Right. Thus, all forms in which wealth and seekers of wealth are allowed to rule the other classes is on a slippery path toward tyranny. and Other Greek Philosophers, Types of Governments. If you have a ship, you don’t want to vote on navigation, you don’t want the rich or the strong to navigate, and you don’t want to navigate in a state of chaos, you want the best navigator to navigate (in terms of talent and other such factors). The collapse of our republic into…, By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. I think you need to first read Jane Mayer’s DARK MONEY, before you have a grasp of what’s really going on in this country. The philosopher knows greed, they known honor, they know sensual vices, they know vices of wealth, but for them truth is the highest good and happiness (they have been trained for this and are naturally this way). Therefore, extreme equality leads to extreme inequality, extreme liberty, that leads to extreme tyranny and despotism. We know people are naturally greedy, but for Plato, it is the “producer” class (not everyone) that is meant to have the mantra “Greed is Good”. In Italy the Marcia su Roma of the Fascists made them the rulers of the country. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. The Founding Fathers, as Charles Beard has pointed out, hated democracy more than Original Sin. 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 “mixed constitution” was purposefully structured to ensure American virtues via the law. Plato, in his Republic, tells us that tyranny arises, as a rule, from democracy. 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. A person doesn’t repress their animal nature, their lust, their greed, etc, they simply keep it in check and don’t let it steer the ship by using their human reason (metaphorically speaking, their Aristocracy; their wisdom) and human will (metaphorically speaking, their Timocracy; their discipline)! Oligarchy - rule by a select group of individuals. 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. If I marry Bess instead of Jean, I obviously discriminate against Jean; if I employ Dr. Nishiyama as a teacher of Japanese instead of Dr. O’Hanrahan, I discriminate against the latter, and so forth. To illustrate this lack of order and restraints Plato through allegory, compares each type with an ideal class, compares each government type with a man, and compares each to an aspect of human nature. With that said, narrowly avoiding tyrants isn’t the name of the game here. Historically, this process has occurred in three quite different ways. I don’t really think the USA has ever enjoyed a “Timocracy”…it seems to have pretty-much been an Oligarchy and a Plutocracy all the way through. Tytler organized these items in a circle: Only by fully wrapping your head around that can you understand things like 1. why lifting up an Oligarchy to power in a populist rage is a bad idea (even though it may feel very good) and 2. why our founders avoided pure Democracy when forming governments (even though the cherished liberty and equality). TIP: Plato’s theory inspired many including Buchanan, Montesquie, Marx, and other thinkers who understood that each government type had “virtues” and was subject to “cycles”. tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to; and this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage. A democracy may be either liberal or illiberal. He envisaged a democratic government in which nearly all human affairs would be regulated by a mild, “compassionate” but determined government under which the citizens would practice their pursuit of happiness as “timid animals,” losing all initiative and freedom. Our rich cherished more than schools, spirituality tossed aside for liberal vice seeking. Cycle of Democracy "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. National Socialism was the “legal revolt” of the common man against the uncommon, of the “people” (Volk) against privileged and therefore envied and hated groups. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. Any mention of a brand or other trademarked entity is for the purposes of education, entertainment, or parody. Germany went from the monarchy of Bismarck to Wiemar Republic, which evolved into a Democracy to the tyranny of the Nazi Third Reich. Tyranny - rule by an individual who had seized power by unconstitutional means. A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. Why? Socrates was Plato’s teacher, Plato Aristotle’s, Aristotle Alexander the Great’s. 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. Simply, this can all be summed up as: excesses of liberty and equality create a fertile ground for vice-seeking, and because people naturally seek vice for happiness (they naturally seek a low form of pleasure, and can only be taught to seek truth as the highest happiness if the state plays its role as educator of virtues and culture). Like we ideally want to be happy, we ideally want a happy state… thus we must take care not to create a tyrannical state. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. In other words, Sullivan seems right to bring us back to the “cycle of regimes” passage of the Republic in light of current events. It is not “life cycle of democracy“. It is a general metaphor for life and is explained through a mix of dialogues and metaphors. 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). The producer and artist are free to seek vice, a perfect liberty afforded to them, but because of this, they should not rule (so yes, Plato is a bit of an authoritarian and conservative and doesn’t extend this liberty in his Republic like a democracy would). Added to that, the later historical development showed that rather than to … Although, perhaps what we are seeing is the start of oligarchy becoming democracy? In all cases, the aristocratic and wise man, aspect of our human nature, and class provides the necessary restraints. From a selfish modern angle, we are looking at how our American Republic was constructed as a safeguard against tyranny, and how our democratic, oligarchical, and at times timocratic (merit-based, honor-based, and militaristic) nature can be a slippery slope toward a tyrannical government (if we forget the original “spirit of the laws” upon which the U.S. was cleverly founded by American thinkers like James Madison; where a love of moderate equality/inequality is a virtue in a Republic, but extreme equality/inequality is a vice). Our site is not officially associated with any brand or government entity. ‘loose’—” ” ” ” ‘lose’. Tell people the truth, a lie may be expedient, but it won’t always have the best results, you can lose trust. A person has virtues and vices, and so does a state. So then, we’ll examine not only Plato’s types of governments, but also the virtues and vices of the type and some tips for defending the Republic. My spelling and grammar can be tyrannical at times. Tyler found that democratic societies went through this same cycle again and again and that the cycle lasted roughly 200 years each time. He who wants geographic equality has to dynamite mountains and fill up the valleys. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except for material where copyright is reserved by a party other than FEE. The stage for such violence is set if the parties represent philosophies so different as to make dialogue and compromise impossible. It is the sort of book that is only properly summarized in more words than are contained in the book in the first place. Address valid fears of your opponents, don’t make them your enemy. IMPORTANT: This is all a metaphor for the soul and an answer to the question “what is justice”. Tocqueville did not tell us just how the gradual change toward totalitarian servitude can come about. When I tell my college-level philosophy students that in about 380 B.C. Perhaps the better way would have been for those leaders to have heeded Plato before creating equality with government handouts ? To achieve equal scholastic levels in a school one would have to pressure certain students into extra hard work while holding back others. For those who don’t want to be subjected to decades of rule with glimpses of hope, action must be taken sooner. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. What prompted his dramatic transformation? In fact, they expressed constant concern over special interest and pure democracy in documents like the Federalist papers, constantly seeking to safeguard the Republic. Sure, Oligarchy (which to the Greeks implies not just power by wealth, but also the orderly and conservative virtues of aristocracy) can also lead to tyranny, and a monarchy can become tyrannical as well, but what of a mixed-Republic that allows for both oligarchs and democracy due to its liberal and democratic values? Tytler said the cycle starts out with a society in bondage. Direct democracy involves people casting votes on specific issues, usually by means of a referendum. The idea states that democracy is temporary in nature. 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. I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures. There is, in fact, only either just or unjust discrimination. 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). Danielle Allen ▪ Spring 2015 Abraham Lincoln in August 1863, courtesy of the Library of Congress . The voting masses, who frequently favor the Santa parties, would retract their support if the Tighten-Your-Belt parties were to act radically and consistently. 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. 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. How this happed occurred in 1933 Germany where a corrupt democracy was followed by tyranny ( Fascism ) should-be-producer/but-now-tyrant-in-training. Roughly 200 years each time over time ) the should-be-producer/but-now-tyrant-in-training rises to the of! 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