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Post More on the "Greek Cycle": How Do You Prevent Tyranny?
Created by John Eipper on 07/05/18 11:13 AM

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More on the "Greek Cycle": How Do You Prevent Tyranny? (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 07/05/18 11:13 am)

Thanks to John Heelan (July 2nd) for reminding us of the classic Greek Cycle-kyklos concept, somehow forgotten in the mist of my old youthful readings of Plato and other classic authors.

This vicious cycle of political history in societies must be understood it in its historical context, yet it seems to be in force in many examples today. It raises a crucial question: Is it possible to break the cycle to obtain democratic stability?

I suppose the question is related to how we define democracy. This is an issue which, even today, WAISers seem to have no consensus, after discussing the question many times.

Maybe John forgot to mention some of the ancient Greeks' suggestions to break this vicious cycle:

--To reduce changes or modifications in the basic democratic law, the constitution.

--To mix the three basic systems into one, obtaining the best of all of them.

--An uncorrupted judicial system.

--The middle class must be strong and numerous.

--A strong educational system.

Of course I would add some other measures to preserve modern democracies and prevent negative developments of the cycle:

--A true separation of political powers.

--Strong democratic institutions.

--Good social moral and ethical standards.

--Freedom of speech and expression.

--Public awareness or strong sense of citizenship responsibility and political participation

--Healthy and responsible political parties.

I am pretty sure there would be many other factors which could protect modern democracies from falling into the degenerate forms of ochlocracy, oligarchy, and tyranny. In fact I believe many of current world political systems enjoy the benefits and privileges of democracy because they have wisely applied, partially or completely, "correctives" of the above kinds.

In conclusion, despite the so-called democratic crisis in Europe or the US, I am optimistic regarding the future of mature democracies and I do not foresee their collapse or degeneration into more perverse forms of government. Consider for example the Representative Monarchy form, as an example of a blending of two of the systems.

It is more difficult to assert the same in other countries in other parts of the world, such as South America or possibly Asia, where incipient, emerging, and immature democracies are mired in deep crisis or are at the risk of being transformed into ochlocracies or tyrannies.

JE comments:  Following Jefferson's claim, I would add that a free and vigorous press is also essential.

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