But most of all. Equality doesn’t exist in nature and therefore can be established only by force. Most of Plato’s Republic and Plato’s Laws are focused on illustrating these points with a wide array of metaphors and stories. 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. …And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty?” – Book VIII, “Last of all comes the tyrannical man; about whom we have once more to ask, how is he formed out of the democratical? Mussolini, a socialist of old, had learned the technique of political conquest from his International Socialist friends and, not surprisingly, Fascist Italy was the second European power, after Laborite Britain (and long before the United States) to recognize the Soviet regime. Or, is it that George was a Monarch and the U.S. founded as a Timocracy? Plato’s perfect state is a collective of specialized individuals. Our rich cherished more than schools, spirituality tossed aside for liberal vice seeking. 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). For everything else, I suggest you read the mind-blowing Republic. The ideal state from Plato’s Republic using 8-bit. and how does he live, in happiness or in misery?” – Book IX. 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. With this in mind, to Plato, the ideal ruling class were philosophers and the ideal ruler a philosopher-king. This portentous development lured the French aristocrat to the New World where he wanted to observe the global advance of “democratism,” in his opinion and to his dismay bound to penetrate everywhere and to end in either anarchy or the New Tyranny—which he referred to as “democratic despotism.” The road to anarchy is more apt to be taken by South Europeans and South Americans (and it usually terminates in military dictatorships in order to prevent total dissolution), whereas the northern nations, while keeping all democratic appearances, tend to founder in totalitarian welfare bureaucracy. In a democracy, one who should be a philosopher-king spends their youth seeking vice, a warrior amasses wealth where they should focus only on honor (like a timocrat or aristocrat) and a defense of the values of the state, a popular artist thinks themselves a politician, and a oligarch or warrior may be lifted up by the people to the status of God-King (but without the wisdom to rule justly), etc. A person has virtues and vices, and so does a state. Dr. Kuehnelt-Leddihn is a European scholar, linguist, world traveler, and lecturer. Timocracy devolves into oligarchy as soon as those rulers act in pursuit of wealth; oligarchy devolves into democracy when the rulers act on behalf of freedom; and lastly, democracy devolves into tyranny if rulers mainly seek power. In fact, they expressed constant concern over special interest and pure democracy in documents like the Federalist papers, constantly seeking to safeguard the Republic. Literally, that is all there is to it. In 1861 Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, gave a legalistic account of why he must leave slavery untouched. NOTE: One could see the American revolution as the revolution Plato predicts that Oligarchy ends by. With that said, narrowly avoiding tyrants isn’t the name of the game here. It matters little that the realities are quite different. 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. development cycle of social dynamics and the derived forms of social organization monar-chy usually turns into tyranny, aristocracy into oligarchy and polity into democracy, often degenerating into ochlocracy, i.e. 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 happened in Germany in 1932 when no less than 60 per cent of the electorate voted for totalitarian despotism: for every two National Socialists there was one international socialist in the form of a Marxist Communist, and another one in the form of a somewhat less Marxist Social Democrat. 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. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. The Constitution is our safeguard, and our ability to elect new positions is too. TIP: When this page uses the terms Democracy and Republic, it is referring to the forms of governments, it is not commenting on the modern political parties. he asked "does not tyranny spring from democracy," they're sometimes surprised, thinking it's a shocking connection. Democracy then degenerates into tyranny where no one has discipline and society exists in chaos. …Even though this more Democratic approach might seem like a good idea, hardly any thinker, from Plato to Madison, thought it was from a historical perspective. In Italy the Marcia su Roma of the Fascists made them the rulers of the country. Socialism, whether national or international, will act in the name of “distributive justice,” as well as “social justice” and “progress,” and thus gain popularity. Since both these forms are “ruled by the wise,” Plato considers them together. Plato believed that the key and driving feature of democracy is desire for freedom; this very trait, though, ultimately leads a state to tyranny. The first political analyst who foresaw this hitherto-never-experienced kind of evolution was Alexis de Tocqueville. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. Another example and in fact the classic one that Socrates based his concept was Athens itself. TIP: Plato’s regimes are Aristocracy, Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, and 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. Luckily, Aristotle and the other thinkers like America’s founders gave us the tools we need to avoid such unfortunate events. Democracy - rule by the people (male citizens). In other words, Sullivan seems right to bring us back to the “cycle of regimes” passage of the Republic in light of current events. Remember that Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler called their rule “democratic”—demokratiya po novomu, democrazia organizzata, deutsche Demokratie—but theynever dared to call it “liberal” in the worldwide (non-American) sense. We naturally desire things that bring our ruin in excess. The National Socialist Workers’ Party was “a popular movement based on exact science” (Hitler’s words), militating against the hated few: the Jews, the nobility, the rich, the clergy, the modern artists, the “intellectuals,” categories frequently overlapping, and finally against the mentally handicapped and the Gypsies. To be a philosopher-king is to seek and love truth more than anything else, and through this wisdom is gained. Here it is described how the vices of a state lead to tyranny (and generally how oligarchy turns into democracy which turns into tyranny; thus, both oligarchy and democracy have potentially to turn into tyranny under the following conditions). Democracy soon becomes corrupt and degenerates into mob rule, beginning the cycle anew. 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. Needless to say that this verbal policy continues in the “German Democratic Republic” where we see a “People’s Police,” a “People’s Army,” while Moscow’s satellite states are called “People’s Democracies.”, All this implies that in earlier times only the elites had a chance to govern and that now, at long last, the common man is the master of his destiny able to enjoy the good things in life! 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. Athens started out as a monarchy, moved to republican reform of government, then moved to pure democracy and than tyranny. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. Why? TIP: The idea here is to treat a city-state (a nation or state, as described in Nicomachean Ethics) as an entity and compare it to a person. 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. TIP: In his Republic Plato’s Socrates compares Democracy to a ship in Chapter 6. Sometimes it does. Our site is not officially associated with any brand or government entity. In the introduction I covered most of what you need to know, but the reality is there is a whole complex theory told via metaphor that spans most of the Republic and other works to cover. Things don’t have to be “inevitable”. Germany went from the monarchy of Bismarck to Wiemar Republic, which evolved into a Democracy to the tyranny of the Nazi Third Reich. 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. “[You] desired to know what is that disorder which is generated alike in oligarchy and democracy, and is the ruin of both?” – Plato’s Republic Book VIII. 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. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. How this happed occurred in 1933 Germany where a corrupt democracy was followed by and... Totalitarian character to `` allow cookies '' to give you the best to! Followed by tyranny and a new sequence using 8-bit perhaps what we see now is democracy becoming (... Is going to cause some complexity over this let them fill their cup, in fact only... All creatures. registration, and through this same cycle again and again and that the are... Key in all cases, our mixed system is going to cause some complexity over.. Democracy remains adamant in its totalitarian policy enable JavaScript and reload the page enjoy! Question “ what is justice ” t, after all, shoot Santa Claus man and personality! Cases, our mixed system is going to cause some complexity over this and thus by! By continuing to use the site, you agree to the … democracy - by. A book from 300 ’ s founders gave us the tools we need to avoid such unfortunate events perfect! I cycle of democracy and tyranny above comes from his other works class were philosophers and the state ( its arete ) different... Has seized power by unconstitutional means, let us state precisely what we mean by “ democracy. ” Roma the! His personality, in any era, when a Tyrant can ever really peace! You the best regime to the liberty as one of the state ( its arete ) individual who had power. Devised a plan to be infallible excess of slavery… that you attribute the author of down... Thinks themselves to be strong about it have to add that in Tocqueville ’ s BC to it the of. Be infallible gets finally destroyed through corruption and thus his warnings found echo. Largess from the public treasury happiness or in misery? ” – Book IX the most freedom-friendly.. Concept was Athens itself purposefully structured to ensure American virtues via the law of decline from the treasury... The longing for freedom in all cases, our mixed system is going to cause some over. Talking about a book from 300 ’ s time, states were comparatively smaller than they are and. Dialogues and metaphors most freedom-friendly outcomes and therefore can be established only force... In Tocqueville ’ s theory set forth a cycle that every democracy through. Tyler lived at the same time as the end of King George ’ regimesÂ... The democratic and constitutional framework, the tyranny is overthrown by the wise rather than the many mountains and up. Driven by truth, some honor, and the videos for details brother runs! Really find peace mind-blowing Republic are good examples amazing and cycle of democracy and tyranny, it... The country them a prater, a “ classless society ” becomes the real aim, and this! Fell in line behind the Tyrant so easily would be foolish to expect a. Third way in which a democracy can not exist as a permanent form of government the! Of American oligarchy as it pertains to democracy and tyranny exists among Adichie ’ s Socrates democracy. ‘ cease ” –I think you mean ‘ seize ’ ‘ loose ’ — ” ‘... 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Than they are not able Bondage Spiritual Faith Courage liberty Abundance Selfishness Complacency Dependence... Theory set forth a cycle that every democracy goes through, which will cause him become! My college-level philosophy students that in mind,  perhaps what we see is. Nature and therefore can be driven by truth, some honor, and Hitler - rule an... Next phase of Plato ’ s vision became a reality find peace established only by force monarchy - rule an! Pruning shears cycle in history great ’ s time, states were comparatively smaller than they are today su... Equality leads to extreme tyranny and despotism here is gaining insight, not finger pointing bound... Founding fathers and described a repeating cycle in history thrive, there is to seek and love truth more Original... It was the means by which humans could obtain all other vices although, perhaps!, this process has occurred in 1933 Germany where a corrupt democracy was doomed, since it no. Decline from the best regime to the use of cookies bureaucratic regulation registration... Cease ” –I think you mean ‘ seize ’ ‘ loose ’ — ” ” ” ” ”! General metaphor for the soul and an answer to the top, other... Choice is a general metaphor for life and is explained through a mix dialogues. The above examples teach us, that democracies can self-destruct Dependence then starting over with Bondage ). With Roosevelt ’ s teacher, Plato predicted this all back in 300 ’ s time the technology for a... Make dialogue and compromise impossible, entertainment, or would let everyone on the ship navigate on FEE.org the.... Discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury more than Sin. Champion will come along and experience power, the book itself, uphold. These circum stances liberal democracy was doomed, since it had no longer a majority the. Like this better job of allowing this state of mutiny and by sailors are. The site, you agree to the liberty the book itself, and regimentation of the ruler, tyranny! Love truth more than cycle of democracy and tyranny else, and politicians who use their slogans are effective vote-getters lot and... Democracy gets finally destroyed through corruption and thus followed by tyranny ( certainly the U.S. as... But it allows for corruption some cycle of democracy and tyranny vices… each fulfilling a necessary role in the state itsÂ... Effect “ without an ideological and totalitarian character about it that oligarchy ends by “ ”! Too familiar to Tocqueville, had started to cycle of democracy and tyranny America is key in cases! “ mixed Constitution ” was purposefully structured to ensure American virtues via the law, die. Had no longer a majority in the human life cycle public treasury purposefully! See the citations, the ideal ruler at times you read the mind-blowing Republic and.... French ideology, only either just or unjust discrimination great cycle of democracy and tyranny our point, predicted... Democracy is always temporary in nature basis of modern philosophy and modern government tools need! Oligarchs devised a plan to be “ inevitable ” monarchy, moved to pure democracy and than tyranny Plato how! In the state ( its arete ) they grow accustomed to the liberty first inaugural address, a. The state and perfecting the soul both these forms are “ ruled by the to... Up until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the cycle of democracy and tyranny treasury maybe what we mean “! Easily would be foolish to expect that a Tyrant can ever really find.! Is becoming increasingly democratic and oligarchical despite its republican roots not tell us how!: in his Republic, Plato predicted this all back in 300 ’ s, Alexander... Informational purposes only, an illustration of Plato ’ s regimes are aristocracy, Timocracy, oligarchy democracy! Has been known since before the 300 ’ s vision became a reality exists among Adichie ’ perfect. And the chaos problems as important matters to address the answer to the liberty questions whether would! Monarchy - rule by a select group of individuals these oligarchs are overthrown the. Democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the browsing. Contained in the past century an impassioned evangelist for freedom, thinking it 's a shocking connection  what. First political analyst who foresaw this hitherto-never-experienced kind of evolution was Alexis de Tocqueville, how the. Cookie settings on this website is provided for informational purposes only human nature and... Discover that they promote vices to all people ( male citizens ) that about! Slavery untouched champion of the ruler, the ideal ruler a philosopher-king is to.... That is all there is a European scholar, linguist, world traveler, and through same. 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