Sunday, May 30, 2004

Democracy, Tyranny and Communism

Many of the different political ideologies that we encounter today have been around for at least 2400 years. Today, I will attempt to discuss Communism, and the Road of Tyranny through Democracy.
When Communism was first described by Marx and Engels during the mid 19th century, a great many people were astonished with their reasoning and utopian ideals. On paper, communism seemed like the greatest idea ever known to man, and thus, it started a chain reaction, that eventually led to countries adopting Marx and Engels' brand of Communism. However, when looked upon objectively, the Soviet Union, or even Mainland China isn't a full communist nation. They might be identified as communist, but they are not fully communist on paper. You still find a great social divide, with dichotomy ever present. The leader of those countries, should, in paper, not have absolute dominating control. A central government was a must, but it didn't mean that the leader had to carry an iron fist. There were some advantages to communism that we can't find in a democracy. At it's best, there was no social class, and each person's rank in society was based on merit. The nets that were cast to draw those with certain abilities in their respective fields was a large one. If one was gifted in science, they would not be left behind, but supported and even backed by the state. If another was a good with their hands and at crunching numbers, they would become architects, or engineers. Even the status and role of women didn't stop them from achieving certain objectives. For example, the Soviets had a woman orbiting space far before Americans ever sent one. I'm not saying one form of government was better, but this was the advantage of communism. However, the greatest disadvantage was the diminished role of the individual, since the state dictated everything, and had an iron grip on every segment of the population, people were feeling squeezed, unable to freely move about. Freedom is a large necessity, and in the Soviet communist ideal, freedom was sacrificed for order and efficiency.
Communism however, did not start with Marx or Engels, but surprisingly, with Plato. During the height of Greek intellectual growth, Plato taught a great many concepts, and actually wrote them down in a book. Since the Greek influence was dominating the Mediterranean region at the time, Plato's Republic had a vast following, even among the non-Hellenic states. In the Republic, Plato actually talks about communism, and the Utopian ideal. As it turns out, Marx and Engels were not geniuses, but well-read individuals who borrowed Plato's concepts, and modernized it, as well as added economics. The original idea, however, was Plato's. Plato mentions the "perfect society" in the republic. In fact, he describes all modes of government, including anarchy, monarchy, tyranny, democracy, and finally his ultimate ideal, which we now call communism. However, Plato's communism was far more influential and extreme then Marx and Engels, or the eventual adaptation of Lenin's and Stalin's. Plato's communism would be composed of 3 main orders, or in effect classes. You would have first, the soldiers, who would follow the Spartan ideal. Basically, they would all be of one class, each generation living within the same accommodations. Few amenities would be included in their homes, and they would be exclusively trained for combat and defense of the nation. Sex would be under strict control, where each couple would have to be chosen by the state, in order to produce the strongest offspring. All the children would be raised together, in one commune, without knowing who their parents were. In turn, when they became the combat generation, they would all be part of one big family, calling each other brothers and sisters, not knowing who their siblings actually happened to be. The state would then choose the couples, based on their strengths, as well as limiting the possibility of inbreeding. The second order, or class, would be that of the merchants and artisans. They would be allowed to live in relative modesty, but with certain amenities. They would be chosen from a pool of youth that showed talent in their given fields. If they were keen as a shoemaker, they would become cobblers, if they had a knack for business, they would become merchants or traders. This order would not be under such stringent control as those of the soldier class, and they would have more personal freedom. However, they would still be under state control. The third, and final order would be the philosophers. They would be the state, making the rules, and enforcing the social order within the society. They would decide on all actions of the state. There would be stringent requirements but if a child was found to have the abilities and gifts, they would be chosen and educated as philosophers. Not only excelling in matters of the state, but also in science, and mathematics, etc. One may notice however, the lack of certain groups in this society. There is a lack of artisans, no poets, painters, or singers. There is also a lack of religion, no priests, or temples or anything of the like. Although this concept may be appealing to some people, one must realize that a great deal of people need religion. Although it's not for all of us, most people could not function properly without some sort of organized religious order in their lives. Without some sort of faith and understanding that comes not out of rationality, but out of the need to believe in something, even if it may seem so irrational.
So as one can see, communism was not an invention of modern times, but has been around since at least as long as Plato, and in certain instances, before that time as well. It has been modified since Plato's extremist example, but at it's root, it remains a similar concept. Democracy has also been around since Hellenic times, and we have all learned this in secondary school, or even before that, so I won't get into details. However, I will say that Plato warned against Democracy, along with other forms of government such as monarchy, and anarchy. The dangers of Democracy, according to Plato, is that it leads to Tyranny. And his words could not have echoed any truer in our world today. Democracy reaches a point where people feel so much freedom, they are complacent towards politics. But this freedom that they feel, comes at a price, and it's the blind eye they have against their leadership. Without realizing it, an influential leader can change the course of the government and lead it straight into Tyranny. We have this in the United States today. The last few decades especially, has resulted in the strengthening of the Federal government.
The United States government, upon creation, was based on loosely associated states, that had limited federal control. Each state had more power the the federal government could have. Basically, the Legistlative branch of government, was far stronger then the Executive branch. However, through checks and balances, at one point, around the late 19th century, all 3 branches of government were relatively equal, with their checks and balances still in place. However, since Franklin D. Roosevelt, we have been headed towards a stronger central government, with weaker state and legislative control. A strong central government is not a bad thing in itself, however, when presented differently, then we are sheep with wool pulled over our eyes. Take Canada, for example, they have a strong central government, and most provinces, except for Quebec, are highly dependent on the state government (Quebec in some ways as well), but Canada does not hide the fact that they are a strong central government. Even socialized Europe, with their stronger governments, doesn't hide that fact. However, here in America, our leaders have lied to us, and trapped us between an ideology on paper, and one that goes against the constitution. Switzerland, however, is not dominated by a strong central government, nor do they claim that fact. The power in Switzerland is distributed through it's member districts, or Cantons (similar to states, but which have more power), and the president is rotated every 7 years among these cantons. Not one state has more power over the other, and the government still functions well under free enterprise and it's healthcare system. I realize that the American Model is not the same, due to the greater population, but my point being that a true federation can exist. Member states joined together, each stronger then the federal government. If our leaders can't agree to the constitution, then let them change it, and lets become socialized, similar to the Canadian model. However, they can't have it both ways, claiming to represent the people, yet going against what we believe.
As one can see, the Democracy that should be part of the American system of politics has collapsed, and become Tyranny. Bush and his gang are going against the mainstream, destroying any credibility, or what was left of it, in the world stage. They are acting unilaterally, and refusing to acknowledge mistakes. Their concept of Neo-conservatism is destroying the foundations of the constitution. They aren't part of any political party, as much as they want to associate themselves as Republicans, they spend more then any Democrat ever did. My next topic will be about the neo-conservative movement and the destruction and internal dessication of the United States. I will also propose some novel solutions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is no better way to explain politics that is so easy to understand. I agree 100% with what you are saying. Again you are one of the most talented writers I have had the privelege to read. I have learned a bit about Marx, but not enough. But I see where George Orwell got his concept for 1984. Let's just hope for this election to make Bush leave, and then hope that in the 2008 elections, we get someone completely reliable.

~Fellow Agnostic