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That phrase has been rattling in my head all day. I've concluded. It's bullshit. There is no such thing, no concept of 'advanced democracy.'

Look it. Whether or not one believes some form of government "ruled by people" was entirely invented in Greece between the 7th and 3rd centuries BCE--nowhere else on the planet-- many hundreds of generations have been indoctrinated in this belief, mostly on account of predatory success of successive leadership.

So the fact of the matter is, really, this form had one decent century at it --the rest were kings or demogogue/tyrants, depending on how rich or indigent the court reporter--Which seems to signify there were only two recorded revolts in Athens in the 4th century against and within the oligarchy that controlled civic culture. Political agency was pretty restricted among men by property rights and liturgies paid to acquire appointments and philanthrophic status when the demokratia were starving for "corn" or the Athenian Council needed more ships to raid leaugue scofflaws and "asia", that much survives very well, along with the fear and loathing of debt default, collateral being one's enslavement. How many families of citizens declined in this fashion. NO ONE KNOWS. NO ONE KEPT ACCOUNT. The dramatists chortled or lamented in fragments. One marvels at chipped inscriptions for filthy rich men here and there. The Egypytians kept better records for 2,000 years before the Ptolemies. That should tell you what.

It's one of the oddest features about classical European history: The more one searches the less one finds of records. There are tons of FRAGMENTS. There's loot to dig up, but little of of the meticulous stenography plied by Plato, who evidently toddled around Athens with a nameless, no-account slave perhaps bearing papyrus and ink, taking HOURS of dictation from all the notable sons of his benefactors. Had he no weekly newsletter, a newspaper? Did all 30,000 really wait once a month to attend ekklesia to get news from Sicily? Historians have been guessing and interpolating and extrapolating like nobody's business since, you guessed it, 1700 CE.

So. Persons have been replicating this model for millennia, with particular attention to refinements in hierarchy, top to bottom, added by Macedonians and Romans.

What I witness now is that. The difference, or "advance" if you must, in organization is one of scale, quantity of people caught up in production and value of property these masses of innumerable peasants and slaves beyond the security of the poleis return to oligarch franchise, lately taken to compounding "republic" and "democratic". That's it. No chaos at all. Merely a bad case of accounting which really chaps the asses of empiricists who call themselves big data engineers. They struggle to "wrap their heads" around unknown opportunities to exploit someone's labor.

Phew! I feel rested now.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Dec 13th, 2018 at 09:22:34 AM EST
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