What did he REALLY mean? And what does that mean for us today?
This sounds close to home. In the USA.
Great thoughts and argumentation. One element that tends to be left out is the other forms of living in community that reject the existence of kings, presidents and other figures of vertical power pyramids. If what is called civilization can only be based on these social realities based on the enslavement, subjugation and other sophisticated means to rule over others then there is something fundamentally wrong with that.
Excellent summarizing essay. Thanks. But, I prefer to follow the U.S. Founding Fathers dictum: Democracy are two hungry wolves and a sheep discussion what's for lunch.
Neither Plato nor Aristotle could grasp the concept of a Constitution (as we have again lost the concept today thanks to Progressive Education) as the Enlightenment followed by the Industrial Revolution was necessary for thinking people of that era to grasp it then and bequeath it to us.
Though I advise against getting to sucked into political philosophy / theory for the sake of our own sanity / time to read ethics, an interesting read in “Democracy: The God that Failed” by Hans Herman Hoppe. Extremely controversial but he’s an anarchist trying to show that Democracy is regressive from monarchy and actually results in larger and more invasive governments. It’s an interesting read, even if you don’t agree with all of it.
In Athens the women out voted the men in selecting the serpent woman and her tree (that's how they lost the right to vote.) Democracy is the Original Sin, whereby man can make his own laws regardless of those pre-existing "natural" laws. Moses tried to correct the situation by articulating a set of laws that were bestowed by our Creator, but the people cried out for Monarchy. America's founders designed a constitution with rights bestowed by our Creator, but democracy has overwhelmed it.
This is precisely why the most successful and prosperous "governments" have been constitutional republics, such as these United States of America. Pure democracy is a 50% majority plus one with no moral or ethical foundation of transcendental truth and no consideration of the rights and freedoms of the minority. That is why democracies have historically deteriorated into a tyranny of those ruling elites who can craftily exploit the imperfections of the human condition.
The complexity of reality is so fundamental to the life and death of democracy as human history a display of contradictions at all levels. Hegel had summed up well the Greeks with his full on demonstration of philosophy of dialectics with which guidance I set on to critique "the legitimation of economic and political power in Tonga" for my PhD thesis. By the way, I thoroughly enjoy reading this.