Monday, August 18, 2014

Quote of the day

“The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.” G. K. Chesterton


Logan Smith said...

Very interesting quote. It's true, because the rich can always buy their protection.

Cleophus said...

I have always subscribed to Thomas Jefferson's idea of the ideal "government;" which is, "That government is best which governs least." I wonder, does that make me an aristocrat? To me it doesn't; though I reckon that would depend on one's definition of "government." I comfortably abide the ten commandments, and have always strove to bend my will to that of the Lord's, beyond that, you're going to get an argument.

rex osborne said...

Very good quote from Mr. Chesterton, who also said, "Tolerance is the virtue of a man with no convictions."

Weaver said...

"Aristocracy" though used to require a great deal more money for education and training.

Increasingly, these things are more affordable, so "aristocracy" is increasingly less reliant upon wealth, making it potentially less at risk of corruption.

Aristocracy, according to Aristotle who should be our authority here, is defined as rule by the "best", in contrast with rule by the rich. It's distinct from what we can call plutocracy by how it rules for the whole, not the rulers.

And "aristocracy" is distinct from "meritocracy" with the concept of virtue. An aristocrat isn't supposed to be merely capable but also virtuous. While a meritocrat is an excellent bureaucratic cog, an aristocrat is supposed to do what's right by acting for the best interests of all, not merely for wealth and personal power as a meritocrat would.

In a recent book "Excellent Sheep", the US "meritocracy" of graduates from top schools is criticised for essentially lacking souls. All they know how to do is jump threw the next hoop, pursue success. They lack a sense of a greater purpose, and they lack the ability to think for themselves.

So what do I mean by all of this? Everyone wants the best rulers in power. It's simply a question of how to get them there.

I don't know entirely what system would allow for an aristocracy, only that this old system might be possible today with great improvement, due to the modern inexpense of education and training. Past examples could perhaps be studied without leading to rule by a few rich families.

So, how would such be designed? I simply don't know. You never find a Golden Age in history. You only ever find positive traits from one government or another. I believe the ideal is rule by saints, though such an ideal is likely too high for mere mortals. "Theocracy" is a useless word, because every system is properly a theocracy, founded upon the sacred.

In South Carolina what we called "aristocracy" might well have been more of a plutocracy, which isn't to say such things are black and white. I don't desire a ruling caste that exploits the rest. I simply find "one man, one vote" to be overly inclusive. We can say a more aristocratic system than this would be to exclude the vote to those with certain qualities, for example being over the age of 30. Or, we could attempt to improve it via other means, via another system entirely; but the point is "aristocracy" is defined as rule by the best. The original US system was even more exclusive than is our current system today, white male property owners.

Cleophus said...

Weaver said "I simply find "one man, one vote" to be overly inclusive." Wow! I can't believe it, Weaver and I finally agree on something!