Thursday, March 3, 2011

Aristotle Liveblogging the Arab Street, March 3, 2011

A wave of democratic euphoria is washing over North Africa and the Middle East.  Tyrants are being overthrown and corrupt governments are being replaced.  What does the long run hold?

Democratic reformers would do well to read Book III of my Politics:  Chapter 7 appears below.

“Having determined these points, we have next to consider how many forms of government there are, and what they are; and in the first place what are the true forms, for when they are determined the perversions of them will at once be apparent. The words constitution and government have the same meaning, and the government, which is the supreme authority in states, must be in the hands of one, or of a few, or of the many. The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments which rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one or of the few, or of the many, are perversions. For the members of a state, if they are truly citizens, ought to participate in its advantages. Of forms of government in which one rules, we call that which regards the common interests, kingship or royalty; that in which more than one, but not many, rule, aristocracy; and it is so called, either because the rulers are the best men, or because they have at heart the best interests of the state and of the citizens. But when the citizens at large administer the state for the common interest, the government is called by the generic name -- a constitution. And there is a reason for this use of language. One man or a few may excel in virtue; but as the number increases it becomes more difficult for them to attain perfection in every kind of virtue, though they may in military virtue, for this is found in the masses. Hence in a constitutional government the fighting-men have the supreme power, and those who possess arms are the citizens.

“Of the above-mentioned forms, the perversions are as follows: of royalty, tyranny; of aristocracy, oligarchy; of constitutional government, democracy. For tyranny is a kind of monarchy which has in view the interest of the monarch only; oligarchy has in view the interest of the wealthy; democracy, of the needy: none of them the common good of all.”

To summarize, constitutional government (limited government) serves the common interest.  Democracy, its perverse form, serves the needy, not the common good..

The Arab street may be ridding themselves of tyrants, but constitutional government has yet to prove itself in the Arab world.

10 comments :

axit clohydric said...

His rebuilding of China's agricultural base and strengthening of communication routes through the militarized courier system had the unintended effect of creating a vast agricultural surplus that could be sold at burgeoning markets located along courier routes.
superfoodvilleroy & boch

mylove said...

Guitarist John Frusciante left the band in the middle of a tour in 1992 which promoted their critically acclaimed album Blood Sugar Sex Magik.[5] It took over a year for the band to find a new guitarist with whom to record officially.
Best At Home Teeth Whitening KitsBottle Opener

ninh said...

Amundsen's initial plans had been to explore the Arctic, but he decided to go south on hearing that both Frederick Cook
omega replica watchesDrake mixtapes

hai said...

Iron metal has been used since ancient times, though lower-melting copper alloys were used first in history
Forum Link Building company Reviewfield sales recruitment

quan said...

solar panelwholesale toddler shoesmost classes together, eat together, and even sleep in the same section of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft. Although there exists plenty of rivalry between each of the different houses, that does not mean that they cannot mingle socially. Although most students take classes with members of the same house, there are no regulations against members from

axit clohydric said...

McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink was the first feature in Millennium Park to open. Its grand opening was celebrated on December 20, 2001,[16] a few weeks ahead of the Millennium Park underground parking garage.
salle mariage marseilleweb design

mylove said...

The iPhone 3GS is powered by the Samsung APL0298C05 chip, which was designed and manufactured by Samsung. This system-on-a-chip is composed of an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU core underclocked to 600 MHz (from 833 MHz), integrated with a PowerVR SGX 535 GPU.
mobile phone infocell phone info

Tài Nguyễn Đức said...

Facing the 12th-ranked Hokies were the 15th-ranked Cardinals, who finished 9–2 during the regular season of their first year in the Big East Conference.


female voice overengagement rings

Tài Nguyễn Đức said...

Prior to 2002, bowl game statistics were not included in players' career totals and the games were mostly considered to be exhibition games involving a payout to participating teams, which had to meet strict eligibility requirements


arredo bagnoInpatient Treatment

mylove said...

They are, from left to right, Nicodemus, Mary Salome, Mary of Clopas, Mary mother of Jesus, John the Evangelist, Mary Magdalene and Joseph of Arimathea. The attendants' faces display a range of emotions, though each figure's expression is uniquely rendered.
Funny PicturesFunny stories