|The idea with this chapter in a possible book is to first identify the fact that individuals are either connected by some connection or individuals are separated by some barrier.
Like measuring electricity with either resistance (ohms) or conductance (mhos), the idea is to identify the properties of the medium in between individuals, and in this first offering of one medium that exists in between two individuals, or in between many individuals, the medium is labeled accurately, the medium is defined accurately, and then the medium is described by various examples of the medium that exists in between individuals.
The label of the medium is government.
Here are two sources of study material:
In the Athenian state, as in any other, we can distinguish legislative, judicial, and executive functions. The Athenian legislative branch consisted of two bodies, a Council of 500 and an Assembly of 6000. At first glance, this system resembles the American bicameral legislature, with a small, select upper house and a larger, more popular lower house. But this appearance is deceptive.
To begin with, neither the Council nor the Assembly consisted of elected representatives. The members of the Council were selected not by election but by sortition — i.e., by lot. In other words, the 500 Councillors were selected randomly from the (male) citizen population. (And no Councillor could serve more than two terms.)
The practice of selecting government officials randomly (and the Athenians developed some fairly sophisticated mechanical gadgets to ensure that the selection really was random, and to make cheating extremely difficult) is one of the most distinctive features of the Athenian constitution. We think of electoral politics as the hallmark of democracy; but elections were almost unknown at Athens, because they were considered paradigmatically anti-democratic. Proposals to replace sortition with election were always condemned as moves in the direction of oligarchy.
Why? Well, as the Athenians saw it, under an electoral system no one can obtain political office unless he is already famous: this gives prominent politicians an unfair advantage over the average person. Elections, they thought, favor those wealthy enough to bribe the voters, powerful enough to intimidate the voters, flashy enough to impress the voters, or clever enough to deceive the voters. The most influential political leaders were usually Horsemen anyway, thanks to their social prominence and the political following they could obtain by dispensing largesse among the masses. (One politician, Kimon, won the loyalty of the poor by leaving his fields and orchards unfenced, inviting anyone who was hungry to take whatever he needed.) If seats on the Council had been filled by popular vote, the Horsemen would have disproportionately dominated it — just as, today, Congress is dominated by those who can afford expensive campaigns, either through their own resources or through wealthy cronies. Or, to take a similar example, in the United States women have had the vote for over half a century, and yet, despite being a majority of the population, they represent only a tiny minority of elected officials. Obviously, the persistence of male dominance in the economic and social sphere has translated into women mostly voting for male candidates. The Athenians guessed, probably rightly, that the analogous prestige of the upper classes would lead to commoners mostly voting for aristocrats.
That is why the Athenians saw elections as an oligarchical rather than a democratic phenomenon. Above all, the Athenians feared the prospect of government officials forming a privileged class with separate interests of their own. Through reliance on sortition, random selection by lot, the Council could be guaranteed to represent a fair cross-section of the Athenian people — a kind of proportional representation, as it were. Random selection ensured that those selected would be representatives of the people as a whole, whereas selection by vote made those selected into mere representatives of the majority.
The Council's duties were modest. It exercised some judicial and executive functions, but its main job was to prepare business for the Assembly (which met less often). The Council was convened by its President — a post that rotated among the membership. And I do mean rotated: "every fourth adult male Athenian citizen could say, 'I have been for twenty-four hours President of Athens' — but no Athenian citizen could ever boast of having been so for more than twenty-four hours." (Hansen (1991), p. 314.)
2. The Rights of Man
Though the ancient governments present to us a miserable picture of the condition of man, there is one which above all others exempts itself from the general description. I mean the democracy of the Athenians. We see more to admire, and less to condemn, in that great, extraordinary people, than in any thing which history affords.
Mr. Burke is so little acquainted with constituent principles of government, that he confounds democracy and representation together. Representation was a thing unknown in the ancient democracies. In those the mass of the people met and enacted laws (grammatically speaking) in the first person. [note: look up the word sortition for a possible greater understanding of this time period]
Simple democracy was no other than the common hall of the ancients. It signifies the form, as well as the public principle of the government. As these democracies increased in population, and the territory extended, the simple democratical form became unwieldy and impracticable; and as the system of representation was not known, the consequence was, they either degenerated convulsively into monarchies, or became absorbed into such as then existed.
Had the system of representation been then understood, as it now is, there is no reason to believe that those forms of government, now called monarchical and aristocratical, would ever have taken place. It was the want of some method to consolidate the parts of society, after it became too populous, and too extensive for the simple democratical form, and also the lax and solitary condition of shepherds and herdsmen in other parts of the world, that afforded opportunities to those unnatural modes of government to begin.
As it is necessary to clear away the rubbish of errors, into which the subject of government has been thrown, I shall proceed to remark on some others.
It has always been the political craft of courtiers and court-governments, to abuse something which they called republicanism; but what republicanism was, or is, they never attempt to explain. Let us examine a little into this case.
The only forms of government are, the democratical, the aristocratical, the monarchical, and what is now called the representative.
What is called a republic, is not any particular form of government. It is wholly characteristical of the purport, matter, or object for which government ought to be instituted, and on which it is to be employed, res-publica, the public affairs, or the public good; or, literally translated, the public thing.
It is a word of a good original, referring to what ought to be the character and business of government; and in this sense it is naturally opposed to the word monarchy, which has a base original signification. It means arbitrary power in an individual person; in the exercise of which, himself, and not the res-publica, is the object.
Every government that does not act on the principle of a republic, or in other words, that does not make the res-publica its whole and sole object, is not a good government. Republican government is no other than government established and conducted for the interest of the public, as well individually as collectively. It is not necessarily connected with any particular form, but it most naturally associates with the representative form, as being best calculated to secure the end for which a nation is at the expense of supporting it.
Various forms of government have affected to style themselves a republic. Poland calls itself a republic, which is an hereditary aristocracy, with what is called an elective monarchy. Holland calls itself a republic which is chiefly aristocratical, with an hereditary stadtholdership.
But the government of America, which is wholly on the system of representation, is the only real republic in character and practise, that now exists. Its government has no other object than the public business of the nation, and therefore it is properly a republic; and the Americans have taken care that this, and no other, shall always be the object of the government, by their rejecting everything hereditary, and establishing government on the system of representation only.
Those who have said that a republic is not a form of government calculated for countries of great extent, mistook, in the first place, the business of a government for a form of government; for the res-publica equally appertains to every extent of territory and population. And, in the second place, if they meant any thing with respect to form, it was the simple democratical form, such as was the mode of government in the ancient democracies, in which there was no representation. The case therefore, is not, that a republic cannot be extensive, but that it cannot be extensive on the simple democratical form; and the question naturally presents itself, What is the best form of government for conducting the RES-PUBLICA, or the PUBLIC BUSINESS of a nation, after it becomes too extensive and populous for the simple democratical form?
It cannot be monarchy, because monarchy is subject to an objection of the same amount to which the simple democratical form was subject.
It is possible that an individual may lay down a system of principles, on which government shall be constitutionally established to any extent of territory. This is no more than an operation of the mind, acting by its own powers. But the practise upon those principles, as applying to the various and numerous circumstances of a nation, its agriculture, manufacture, trade, commerce, etc., requires a knowledge of a different kind, and which can be had only from the various parts of society.
It is an assemblage of practical knowledge, which no one individual can possess; and therefore the monarchical form is as much limited, in useful practise, from the incompetency of knowledge, as was the democratical form, from the multiplying of population. The one degenerates, by extension, into confusion; the other, into ignorance and incapacity, of which all the great monarchies are an evidence. The monarchical form, therefore, could not be a substitute for the democratical, because it has equal inconveniences.
Much less could it when made hereditary. This is the most effectual of all forms to preclude knowledge. Neither could the high democratical mind have voluntarily yielded itself to be governed by children and idiots, and all the motley insignificance of character, which attends such a mere animal system, the disgrace and the reproach of reason and of man.
As to the aristocratical form, it has the same vices and defects with the monarchical, except that the chance of abilities is better from the proportion of numbers, but there is still no security for the right use and application of them.
Referring, then, to the original simple democracy, it affords the true data from which government on a large scale can begin. It is incapable of extension, not from its principle, but from the inconvenience of its form; and monarchy and aristocracy, from their incapacity. Retaining, then, democracy as the ground, and rejecting the corrupt systems of monarchy and aristocracy, the representative system naturally presents itself; remedying at once the defects of the simple democracy as to form, and the incapacity of the other two with respect to knowledge.
Simple democracy was society governing itself without the aid of secondary means. By ingrafting representation upon democracy, we arrive at a system of government capable of embracing and confederating all the various interests and every extent of territory and population; and that also with advantages as much superior to hereditary government, as the republic of letters is to hereditary literature.
It is on this system that the American government is founded. It is representation ingrafted upon democracy. It has fixed the form by a scale parallel in all cases to the extent of the principle. What Athens was in miniature, America will be in magnitude. The one was the wonder of the ancient world; the other is becoming the admiration and model of the present. It is the easiest of all the forms of government to be understood, and the most eligible in practise; and excludes at once the ignorance and insecurity of the hereditary mode, and the inconvenience of the simple democracy.
It is impossible to conceive a system of government capable of acting over such an extent of territory, and such a circle of interests, as is immediately produced by the operation of representation. France, great and popular as it is, is but a spot in the capaciousness of the system. It adapts itself to all possible cases. It is preferable to simple democracy even in small territories. Athens, by representation, would have outrivaled her own democracy.
That which is called government, or rather that which we ought to conceive government to be, is no more than some common center, in which all the parts of society unite. This cannot be accomplished by any method so conducive to the various interests of the community, as by the representative system.
It concentrates the knowledge necessary to the interests of the parts, and of the whole. It places government in a state of constant maturity. It is, as has been already observed, never young, never old. It is subject neither to nonage, nor dotage.
So the book idea includes the idea that the teacher is the student as well as the teacher, so as not to create a pretentious, and therefore possibly false, hierarchy where no such master/slave connection would exist otherwise.
In other words the natural order of natural equality among individuals can be allowed to exist, if it exists, without inventing, and then maintaining, a superior/inferior relationship.
So a possible student/teacher teacher/student question is asked in reaction/response to the connection made by an individual as the individual connects to all the information offered above, and the question is:
What are 10 competitive definitions for the connecting medium called government as government is then demonstrated by example as an existing connecting medium.
Government is (defined as):
Once those blanks are filled out by anyone, then a method could be employed in measuring each example relative to each other example for reasons that may then become obvious to the student/teacher.