Give me a break!; silly criticisms of Ancient GreeK (direct) democracy

You might have heard the criticism: “Greek democracy was not so hot because women and slaves could not vote,”

This is a ridiculous argument, this is why:

Greek democracy started 2700 years ago, when all other nations, close and far, from Ancient Greece where in the dark ages; from Israel to India, from Egypt to China, from Northern Europe to the tip of Africa from North to South America, all had no clue about democracy, even representative democracy, let alone direct democracy.

In none of those places could the people, men and women, slaves or not, vote. Also, all of them practised slavery.

The list or barbarian practices of other peoples, right up to the Renaissance which was when the Europeans started to, (we are not fully awake yet), wake up to Ancient Greece from the Christian slumber, is long.

In Ancient Greece there was freedom of thought; as proven by the many philosophical schools they had, religion and divine kings and prophets dominated other lands.

The nonsensical idea of “absolute truth” also dominated them (still dominates many), as “told” to humans by the gods and their priests. Anybody who believed differently deserved punishment, including death. The Greeks did nothing of that.

The Greeks not only allowed freedom of thought in Greece, they did not convert any of the peoples they conquered. They allowed them to continue practicing their religions. They did that with Jews, Indians, Egyptians, Persians, etc.

“But slaves and women could not vote!” Come on!, nobody could not vote in the World right up to the American revolution. There are some very localized exceptions; the Swiss accepted that common people (men) vote in the local assemblies even in the 12th century. The English, some Norther Europeans and a few others had forms of government that recognized some people, outside king and Church have a say in government.

As for slavery; practically all nations practiced it until recently. Major nations did not abolish slavery until the twentieth century, quite a few other abolished it in the twenty-first century!.

The critics of Greek slavery try to discredit Greek democracy because they practiced slavery 2700 years ago. Let us be serious; the French maintained slavery even after the French Revolution! As for the US, it abolished slavery in the 19th century, and they had a civil war over it because half the country wanted to keep it.

Many slave owners were very religious people; Catholics, Anglican, Presbyterians, Jews, etc.

Critics of Greek democracy believe Greek democracy had deep flaws because it allowed slavery 2700 years ago. These same people do not feel that US democracy, or French democracy, or all all other representative democracies are delegitimized because they practiced slavery until yesterday.

But it gets worse. The French, the Americans and the rest enslaved blacks because they felt blacks, somehow, should be slaves. Sadly, other blacks were not too perturbed by black slavery; many of them practiced it in Africa and sold fellow blacks to the Europeans and the Arabs.

Ancient Greek slaves were people of the same race as the Greeks, people captured in war and turned into slaves because of that.

But women could not vote in Ancient Greece! This is a joke! The first country who allowed women to vote was New Zealand, in 1893!

Had Greek democracy survived, it is obvious they would have outlawed slavery and allowed women to vote, many, many centuries ago. I say this because already 2600 years ago several Cynic philosophers opposed slavery.

We also know slaves and women in Greece had much more freedom than in the US and other “modern” countries. How we know that? Because we know Plato, in his famous Academy, admitted slaves and women too. For example, Hypatia, a woman, directed the Platonic Academy of Alexandria. Fat chance a woman would direct a university in the Modern World until recently!

There are other facts that show Ancient Greece was far more developed than us politically and socially. Two other examples; Greeks tolerated homosexuality and did not practice polygamy.

Ancient Greece is still a light to the World; they had more tolerance for diversity of ideas. Even today, dogma enslaves the modern world;  religious dogma and by Atheist dogma do it. Modern atheists, including Communists, often despise or hate God and organized religion, but feel comfortable being as dogmatic in their beliefs, and against God and organized religion, as organized religion was, and often id, against Atheists until recently.

Conclusion; do all you can to bring a modern version of Greek direct direct democracy back. Direct democracy, besides returning the power of the people to the people, is more tolerant of freedom and diversity.

The only country that comes close, but does not yet match Greek democracy, is Switzerland. For now, Switzerland should be our reference, but can be improved. Interestingly, the Swiss are starting to talks about bringing direct democracy fully to their society.

Full direct democracy means no politicians, no political parties, as a result, no lobbyists either; the people a selected by lot, and further selection by special panels appointed by the people, to serve in government; once their time is up they go home, no hanging around as lobbyists, appointed to other government institutions, etc. Government by the people, literally.

Victor Lopez

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