Thursday, January 20, 2022

969: The Critics....

 You can say that we live in reasonable freedom in our Western democracies. We know the freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, 


freedom of speech, freedom from discrimination, freedom to go where you want, and so on.


I know that the terms are more beautiful than reality, but that will be discussed another time, as well as the question: how did we get to this point? 


What fascinates me now is the fact that around 450 BC these kinds of freedoms only existed in one place on earth, where homo sapiens consciously chose such a social organization: in Athens. 


One generation after the Persian Wars about 425 BC, political power was firmly in the hands of the entire Athenian "demos" (the people), not in that of a wealthy or noble elite. 


In Athens the "demos" (the people) was king. Athenian politicians believed that only fully-fledged democracies like theirs could count as truly free regimes. 


They argued that under a government of elites, ordinary citizens were as unfree as they were under tyranny. 


An Athenian orator speaking in Plato's dialogue "Menexus" put it this way: "The basis of this our government is equality of birth; 


for other states are made up of all sorts and unequal conditions of men, and therefore their governments are unequal; 


there are tyrannies and there are oligarchies, in which the one party are slaves and only the natural equality of birth compels us 


to seek for legal equality, and to recognize no superiority except in the reputation of virtue and wisdom." 


It sounds nice, but we have to make a few caveats. This "equality of birth" only applied to men of 30 years and older and born in Athens. 


Women didn't count at all, as did slaves and "foreigners". Even the great Aristotle, who lived and worked almost all his life in Athens, had no right to vote because he was not born in Athens.


Compare this to the position of women, foreigners, immigrants and refugees in our democracy. A small bright spot may be 


that for us the term "discrimination" refers to something negative, while the Greeks probably did not know the term in that sense.


To take it one step further, in those days not everybody in Athens was happy with the political situation. The wealthy elite saw its influence on politics slip through their fingers.


There is an anonymous treatise named "Constitution of Athens", that must have been written in that period. We know it under the title "The Old Oligarch".


The author makes no secret of his vehement opposition to the Athenian constitution. In particular, the Old Oligarch made short shrift of the idea that democracies guaranteed freedom for all. 


He equated Athenian democracy with the rule of the poor and uneducated, whom he described as the "worst" people. He writes:


"Among the people there is a maximum of ignorance, chaos and wickedness, for because of their poverty they are more likely to display shameful behavior, 


and because of lack of money some people are uneducated and ignorant." 


They ruled for their own benefit, he made clear, and thus to the detriment of the rich. More specifically, the poor majority of Athens had turned the state into a system of transferring money from the rich to the poor, "so that they get rich and the rich get poorer".


The Ancient Oligarch complained that the poor monopolized public offices and the associated salaries. 


They controlled the legal system for their own benefit. In fact, they benefited disproportionately from the city's religious ceremonies, 


as they were the ones feasting on the animals sacrificed at the expense of the state. 


Equally telling was the fact that Athens had built many gyms (gymnasia) and public baths at the expense of the state. 


"The people can profit more from these things than the wealthy members of the upper classes," wrote the Old Oligarch, as the rich had their own private gymnasia and baths.


Doesn't it sound familiar.....?


Thank you for your attention again....


Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

The Discussion


[13:16] oola Neruda: nods

[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): nothing has changed

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed, the rich afraid of loosing their money

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and power

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true

[13:17] herman Bergson: You read my mind Beertje

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same still today

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): pssss

[13:17] herman Bergson: is is astonishing.....the similarity of complaints and arguments

[13:17] oola Neruda: in fact, it has become much more "sophisticated" complicated and "accepted"

[13:18] herman Bergson: True....

[13:18] herman Bergson: the rich have much more sophisticated power now with all their money

[13:18] herman Bergson: they pay the lobbyists for instance

[13:19] herman Bergson: they buy politicians

[13:19] herman Bergson: The US is a perfect example of that practize

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): EVERYTHING IS RIGGED

[13:20] herman Bergson: Also the attitude of the rich that the masses are dumb and uneducated....

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is there a way to do something about it?

[13:20] herman Bergson: we still think so :-))

[13:20] herman Bergson: Wrell...I guess we do something about it more or less

[13:21] herman Bergson: everybody has access to political jobs , can be elected etc.

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true

[13:21] herman Bergson: For every profession you need an education and certificates, except for the job of member of parlement :-))

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm ok

[13:22] herman Bergson: kind of a paradox :-))

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you should at least know some what u are doing there, its serious stuff

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but politics in general today seems more like a grown up playpen so

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (sighs)

[13:23] herman Bergson: I believe that whatever education the enjoyed, that they do, Bejiita

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): UR DUMB NO UR DUMB BUAAAAAH U DONT AGREEEE WITH MEEEEE

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): this is the tone in politics mostly today

[13:24] herman Bergson: polarisation?

[13:24] herman Bergson: In Athens there was at least between the rich and the poor

[13:25] oola Neruda: and "news"... the license for FOX is for entertainment... not journalism... that protects them from being sued for their lies

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): is just a TV show right?

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): pfffff

[13:25] oola Neruda: sso they say

[13:25] herman Bergson: Ahh yes I heard that too , oola

[13:26] oola Neruda: my journalism background taught me about propaganda.... and i see it ... and cringe

[13:26] herman Bergson: In the US lying is entertainment ^_^

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): PRAISE THE GREAT RULER AND WHAT HE HAVE DONE FOR US BLAH BLAH BLAAAH

[13:27] oola Neruda: rant and rave sometimes... but try to limlit it to cringing

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed Herman

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it seems so

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least for too many

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Mr T made it the norm

[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but still lots of people believe these lies

[13:27] oola Neruda: too many

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (sighs)

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:28] oola Neruda: and many who have educations... do also... unfortunately

[13:28] herman Bergson: What strikes me the most is that in Athens homo sapiens came to a conclusion about how to live together in freedom.....that is unique

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): there might be more congress stormings if we don't stop that

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or worse

[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): was there freedom for everyone?

[13:28] herman Bergson: and least in our Western democracies we have revived that idea

[13:29] herman Bergson: No Beertje...not for women, slaves and foreigners

[13:29] herman Bergson: But that is also a cultural thing of those times

[13:29] oola Neruda: nor for non whites

[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why do man hate woman so much?

[13:29] herman Bergson: Today we begin talking about emancipation for instance

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): no idea

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its so strange

[13:30] herman Bergson: That is what puzzles  me too Beertje

[13:30] herman Bergson: There are or have been cultures where the women were the ruling class

[13:31] herman Bergson: But in the majority it's the male that is dominating

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess it all begun with the general thing that males are generally more muscular and stronger and from there it went to women are weak and unintelligent with small brains so men should do all important things blablabla

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that road

[13:31] herman Bergson: When we look at other social animals we see the same roles

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:32] oola Neruda: does it have to do with self doubt...due to responsibility that culture puts on them... or self doubt about being able to meet certain "standards: of masculinity

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess so too

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like men should not cry, men should not show weakness ect

[13:32] oola Neruda: men can be so mean to other men

[13:32] oola Neruda: show their "muscle".. I'm better than is proof

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and all men who are emotional and feeling are gay(nothing wrong with being gay though)

[13:33] herman Bergson: That is more so in US movies....

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): es

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:33] oola Neruda: football

[13:33] oola Neruda: etc

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the movie industry surley boost this image

[13:33] herman Bergson: Then you get those bizar fist fights

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): crying is not a matter of weakness, but of strength

[13:34] herman Bergson: really ridiculous

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its made intentionally to spread this skewed and wrong image

[13:34] oola Neruda: have to meet the image or else....

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so that men can stay in power

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its not just entertainment

[13:34] oola Neruda: agreed, PP

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): in politics are more man that woman these days

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): than

[13:35] oola Neruda: strong women are a horrible threat

[13:35] herman Bergson: equality of birth as the basis of democracy.....well...for men, yes

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then its not equality

[13:35] oola Neruda: and trophies... of all sorts

[13:35] herman Bergson: No...

[13:36] herman Bergson: what problem do men have with women? ^_^

[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): tell us:)

[13:36] oola Neruda: not getting one... or the one

[13:36] herman Bergson: I should tell you? ^_^

[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes please from the vision of a man

[13:37] oola Neruda: being obeyed

[13:37] herman Bergson: Maybe it is because men know deep in their heart that they eventually depend on women....

[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: :-)

[13:38] oola Neruda: that fits

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): otherwise they wear two different socks

[13:38] herman Bergson: maybe it is that deep longing for back to mommie's arms :-)

[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol Beertje

[13:38] herman Bergson: Is true :-)

[13:39] oola Neruda: I believe you....

[13:39] herman Bergson: That is what that woman said to that man...

[13:39] herman Bergson: hey you are wearing two differnet socks...

[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes said the man

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i rock the socks!

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :)รค

[13:39] herman Bergson: and at home I have another similar pair

[13:39] oola Neruda: lol

[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): grins

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): haha

[13:39] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i do that intentionally now and then

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a thing

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): for me

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:40] herman Bergson: I call it a vitamin A thing Bejiita :-)

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe

[13:40] herman Bergson: vitamin Attention :-))

[13:40] herman Bergson: Everubody will look at your socks then

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:41] herman Bergson: Might be a project

[13:41] herman Bergson: WHY DO MEN HATE WOMEN?

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes, a big question

[13:42] oola Neruda: the ultimate trophey can say no

[13:42] herman Bergson: lol...that is it oola

[13:42] herman Bergson: men don't take NO for an answer...

[13:42] herman Bergson: Ohh there I have a real example

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): they have to.....

[13:43] herman Bergson: there was an article on the great german philosopher Peter Sloterdijk....he is very popular in Germany

[13:43] herman Bergson: He has written a novel

[13:44] herman Bergson: and in that novel he describes women who get raped....and he says....when they say know they mean yes but say no because that has to do with  being may not tell you like it

[13:45] oola Neruda: grrrrrrrrrrr

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (shudders)

[13:45] herman Bergson: He also writes why Brazilian and African women have such big round behinds....

[13:45] herman Bergson: that is because thelove to be taken from behind...

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and this is his view?

[13:45] oola Neruda: grrrrrr

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what a monster

[13:46] herman Bergson: OF COURSe,,,no is not the great philosophers mind speaking is just a novel

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well in that case

[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): still horrifying stories there

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): terrible novel

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's like FOX....entertainment

[13:46] oola Neruda: ignorant people out there who might believe it

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but there are indeed men who think like this

[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and some people beleive in it

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:47] herman Bergson: The man is super arrogant

[13:47] oola Neruda: and more

[13:47] oola Neruda: should be locked up

[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what would happen when a woman rapes this man????

[13:47] oola Neruda: or... disfigured

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): there are scary dudes out there for sure

[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): is he calling for his mommie?

[13:48] oola Neruda: lol probly could not... would have to figure out some way to.... get around it

[13:48] herman Bergson: There is a profesor of social psychology who has written a book against Sloterdijk, accusing him even of fascist ideas

[13:48] herman Bergson: was in my newsparer this morning

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok

[13:49] herman Bergson: I ahva always regarded this Sloterdijk as a wind bag

[13:49] herman Bergson: But he seems to be very popular

[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a dangerous wind bag

[13:49] oola Neruda: and stupid

[13:50] herman Bergson: Well, he had a Ph.D. student who is now leader of the Ultra-right AfD party in Germany

[13:50] herman Bergson: Marc Jongene

[13:50] herman Bergson: Jongen

[13:50] oola Neruda: self centered... i bet

[13:51] herman Bergson: Yes

[13:51] herman Bergson: That Jongen uses Sloterdijk's ideas for his political views...

[13:52] herman Bergson: But THAT is democracy invented by those guys in Athens a 2500 years ago :-)

[13:52] oola Neruda: makes me think of how those who starve... can only think of one thing

[13:52] oola Neruda: sounds like a starving ego

[13:53] herman Bergson: Well...let's continue following the trail and see what will come next :-)

[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you all gain...

[13:53] herman Bergson: Class dismissed.

[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:53] oola Neruda: grrrrrrrrrrr

[13:54] oola Neruda: thank you Herman...