[AAACE-NLA] The Glory of Greece
george.demetrion at lvgh.org
Tue Apr 4 14:30:40 EDT 2006
I agree that if you freeze the thought of democracy at a single line of
development, one would not be accounting for the evolution of the
concept. From what I remember (I was there, but was very young) ancient
Athenian political culture was democratic based on its notion of
citizenship, namely Greek men, I think of a certain basic property
class. There was a popular assembly which was elected by citizens, in
which, obviously, a lot of people were ruled out. Clearly, by late 20th
century standards, this was not much of a democracy, but one might argue
that it would be the height of presentist hubris to place such a
standard on a political phenomenon that is 2500 years old. The fact
that there was a constitution, representative government, reasoned
political discourse, including sharp polemics does substantively speak
the political foundations of western constitutional government.
It's possible we are saying the same thing. I agree that what existed in
ancient Athens is very far from the ideal of what a democratic political
culture should be--an ideal that eludes the reality of contemporary US
political culture, too, one might argue. Still, without the foundations
there wouldn't even be a basis for a discussion of such a phenomenon as
democracy as the concept, emerging from its Greek etymology would not
have even been invented.
Remember, this is my culture I'm defending.
Socrates the Younger
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