Posted by: endithinks | October 10, 2008

On an interesting democracy discussion

Just an intersting conversation I had with a fellow blogger about the state of democracy here in the United States.

Democracy for Dummies by njmalhq

njmalhq said 2 days ago:

What we have in America is a political chimera, a conglomeration of the worst attributes of oligarchy, plutocracy, and democracy. I can not conceive of a viable formula to directly fix it. It may very well be a lost cause. We’ll all have to do the best we can. Towards that all I can say is that collusion is not the answer. It soils one’s hands, and merely delays the natural sequence of events. Beyond which something better may come about.

“Philosopher king” is just a label for someone who is actually intellectually equipped and qualified to run a society. We train our pilots, we train our doctors, we train our engineers, we train our soldiers, we train our teachers. Yet from those to whom we delegate the highest responsibilities of all, we require no intellectual and educational qualifications whatsoever. I can imagine a society in which civic leadership is a profession, one for which the practitioners are required to be specifically and rigorously trained, after demonstrating an inclination, aptitude and talent from the earliest age. A profession that has licensing requirements, with which are associated highest standards of ethical conduct. I can see a council of such professionals, mentored, quality-controlled and appointed from within, generation after generation, performing the functions of the “philosopher kings.”

Can we get there from here? Wielders of power are never voluntary yielders of power. This sort of argument usually leads to the doorsteps of violent revolution. Somehow I can’t see that as being applicable to the society of philosopher kings. Theirs is the power of the mind, not muscle. That leaves one option. Subterfuge.

PS: I think that is Platonic position also.

You said 1 day ago:

Wow what an interesting point of view on the idea to train those that would lead us. It reminds me of the ancient Chinese system of training politicians in schools and having to take tests and prove they are capable statesmen. Would you mind if I blog about this and use our conversation?

njmalhq said 1 day ago:

endithinks, feel free to use the conversation. Do post a linkback or something if you can, so my readers can follow back to you. Thanks.

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