Sunday, May 9, 2010

Early Insight

"A democracy is no more than an aristocracy of orators. The people are so readily moved by demagogues that control must be exercised by the government over speech and press."
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)


  1. I had never heard this unforgettable definition of democracy. "Aristocracy of Orators". Thank you very much for this quote.

    When I was 11 years old, for the first time in my life I thaught that freedom and democracy was something fragile if considered within a huge context, where it is not only impossible that all the community members know each other, but even impossible to know the main issues and the most important of the essential questions. At that time my doubt was only capturing an atmosphere, because I didn't know anything about the roman res publica which lasted 500 years and had been replaced by the government of an emperor when it grew too big. An emperor who for hundreds of years nearly never died a natural death, but usually was murdered. This uncertainty and the record of Cicero's death hasn't abbandoned me ever since, and we live as well in a context of growing complexity which is called globalization (and on a minor scale European Union).

    Asia seems to be the home of the Leviathan. Maybe because Asia is so big. Asia hasn't to become big to frighten us, it has always been big and will always be big. But what is "big" in Asia's case? Nothing else than "far from the seaside". As if mankind were a kind of land inhabiting dolphins ( The aquatic ape hypothesis would be a good scenery for a screen shooting musical on female hominids!

    I don't know anything about Hobbes. He is so far away from our contemporary beliefs that every news referring to him, which manages to reach our daily life, seems to originate from imaginary worlds beyond Asia where only wolves and Hobbits live.

    Homo homini lupus isn't and invention of his, he was only quoting Plautus, an ancient roman comedian.

    Aristocracy of Orator's. Maybe we have to count on vanity as our best ally against the Aristocracy of Hushers in the Open Show of res publica.

  2. May I make a Hobbesian uttering? "In the nuclear age" - Ernst J√ľnger once said to Alberto Moravia - "security can exist only if a nuclear monopoly exists, no matter WHO will be the holder of this monopoly. The more countries with nuclear power exist, the more probable a nuclear war becomes."