Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lessons from Athens

"The great philosopher Plato gives prominence to Justice in society. He was highly dissatisfied with the prevailing degenerating conditions in Athens and viewed the Athenian democracy as on the verge of ruin. [He was right. Athens had become a strong military state whose interest in empire (called the Delian League to make it sound democratic) led to the Peloponnesian War and the ultimate downfall of Athenian democracy.] Plato was disgusted by societal meddling and excessive individualism of Athenian society, and Justice was the means to correct these wrongs. According to Plato, Justice is a human virtue that makes a person self-consistent and good; socially, Justice is a social consciousness that makes a society internally harmonious and good."

 I wrote this in 2005. It's a warning worth repeating.

(Please note: justice and vengeance are two different things. Most Americans mistake justice for vengeance.)

The parallels between the downfall of Athenian democracy, the basis for our entire system of government and culture, and today's America continue to mount.

For whatever reason, movies like 300 glorify the Spartans. Sparta was a military dictatorship. Sparta conquered Athens and then Greek life for most people was hell, with war happening more often than not. Spartans terrorized everyone. Athens was devastated and feel into destitute poverty. They brought it upon themselves, because they stopped paying attention to things that mattered.

History repeating.

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