Listening to the lectures about Plato and Aristotle, and especially Aristotle’s discussion on the different forms of the State, I wonder what we have in the US. It seems to be an oligarchy in many ways. We definitely serve a ruling class of sorts (if that would qualify as an oligarchy). The power of brute force and the printing press obviously rob the “common man.” But also our politicians also mediate the transfer of wealth from the producers to a dependent class. This seems to have the elements of a democracy that was discussed in the lecture. It seems to be a tangled mess. What system do we have on balance?
If I was forced to answer this question, I would say that what are today called ‘representative democracies’ are elective oligarchies. Our rulers constitute a distinct sub-class, and we have an occasional and limited capacity to choose between one set of them and another, but we have no real capacity to reject them as a whole. Our rulers jockey for position by serving the interests of their clients, whether those clients are corporate welfare recipients [banks, big business, the military] or social welfare recipients.
I’m glad that you find the lectures enjoyable. I undertook the research in part to fill some yawning gaps in my own knowledge and to re-read and re-understand material I’ve been familiar with for a long time. There’s an old rule-of-thumb in the teaching profession that the best way to learn anything is to teach it!
I am currently touring on the west coast of Ireland, but I will be in Dublin on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. I would really enjoy meeting you in person even if only for a brief few minutes. If our meeting is still something of mutual interest what are some times and locations that would work best with your schedule?