In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« You Want Us | Main | Free Reads -- Pauline Kael »

September 18, 2002

Policy Break: Learning from Athens


Donald Kagan, in his Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy, describes a key element in the success of democratic government:

For more than two thousand years, democracy has had many powerful enemies and few friends...Most ancient writers...called democracy unstable, a scene of devastating struggles between factions and classes, where the poor majority trampled on the better-off minority, careless of the rights of the individual...The facts about Periclean Athens, as we have seen, were very different. Through the horrors of almost three decades of the Peloponnesian War, military defeat, foreign occupation, and an oligarchic coup d'etat, the people of Athens showed that combination of commitment and restraint that is necessary for the survival of popular government and life in a decent society. This restraint is all the more remarkable when we consider how simple it would have been for the Athenian majority to plunder the rich and take revenge upon their enemies...

Plato...blamed Periclean democracy for its excessive commitment to equality. Twentieth century critics, on the other hand, have largely complained of its inequalities, demanding not equality of opportunity for all citizens, but equality of result...Political equality was the cornerstone of Athenian democracy, but economic equality, as we have seen, was no part of the democratic program in the age of Pericles or after. Early in the sixth century, the Athenian peasantry had demanded a redistribution of land and isomoiria (equal portions) of the land of Attica, but the demand was not met; nor was it ever renewed. The experience of social revolutions in other states, where violations of the right to property had produced civil war, anarchy, tyranny, and poverty, showed that equality before the law, not equality of possession, was the only form of the principle compatible with prosperity, freedom and security.



posted by Friedrich at September 18, 2002


Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?