When we think of kingship, we immediately think of an unjust king. All those who have the power of life and death over a subject people, though prefer to be called kings, are tyrants, (Cicero, 106 BC- 43 BC)
What’s in a name?
Apparently the Greeks, Romans and Chinese had a great disdain for the idea of a king. And they put a lot of philosophical thinking into that notion. And at about the same time, the 5th Century BC. What their thinkers, Solon, Plato, and Confucious came up, respectively, were the Athenian Republic, the Roman Republic and Chinese “Spring and Autumn” era. All were considered to be classical eras of government, leading away from the totalitarian kingship model. Still, on closer inspection, the political structures of their day were hardly what Americans would call liberty-based. Citizenship was limited, a political ruling class was institutionalized, as was a wealth-based aristocracy. There was slavery and slave labor,, and pretty little boys were sold to wealthy citizens for pleasure. Plato and Socrates were especially fond of little boys. And the Roman Republic was just as rapacious in the military conquest of their neighbors as were the emperors after Caesar. If you were an ancient Thracians or Spaniard, it made no difference to you whether is was an emperor or a consul who lopped off your head, took your land, raped your wives and carried your children into slavery. In fact, by the time Plato had gotten around to writing “The Republic”, toward the end days of the Athenian Republic (c300 BC), the idea of the powers of kingship had generally crept back into the realities of the day, for what Plato, and Aristotle his pupil, were looking for was a better form of government headed by a smarter, wiser leader, where the kings were all philosophers (like themselves) instead of grape-popping, orgy sating, wine-chugging aristocrats. (I think secretly, the academic Left originally saw this vision in Barack Obama in 2008. No longer) In fact, Rome gave the world just such a man, Marcus Aurelius, who also was both a great philosopher and one of the most rapacious killers of Christians known to the world.
So there is much more to be being a king than just a title and a crown. A king by any other name is still a tyrant, and tyranny, not a legal title, is what free people need to be on the look out for.
The other day, Mary Landrieu, in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, in trying to dodge her Obamacare vote, while taking credit with it marginal successes as if they were hers personally, stated that “80,000 Louisianans were now getting insurance who hadn’t had any before.” That’s likely not true, for Democrats have been known to lie…often…but she failed to surround these saved 80,000 with the millions of Louisianans who opposed the process by which those 80,000 were rescued. She neglected to say how many of those 80,000 Louisianans didn’t want insurance in the first place, but were forced to take it, want it or not, or the many thousands more that were, and are, forced to pay for those 80,000 couldn’t afford it. She’s said nothing about the other shoes still to drop. All she wants is to still be able to draw a government paycheck when that occurs, for she will be untouchable then.
Bret Baier, I’m sure because it is old news, did not press Sen Landrieu about the moral, ethical and unconstitutional notion that government should not be allowed to force people to buy a product they don’t want. In fact, I doubt Landrieu has ever made a public utterance about those deeper notions about democracy and freedom, since there was no real debate on the bill when it came to the Senate floor for a vote in march, 2010. At that time, Landrieu proudly, even gloatingly, echoed Obama’s promise that “if you like your doctor and insurance company you can keep them”. In fact, I doubt, if called on to do so, she could make an intelligent comment about democracy and freedom if her life depended on it, except of course that “she’s for it.”
Four and a half years later, after the sin of the century and the lie of the decade has sunk into the public as an untreated open wound, Mary Landrieu has still never been forced to stand in the well of history and explain why she thinks her role as an elected official authorizes her to inflict this wound on behalf of 80,000 and at the expense of millions.
But this isn’t entirely about Mary Landrieu, for that is just political. My question is largely cultural and philosophical, in that the underlying lies underneath the lie still goes unchallenged. Where’s Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness? Where’s the GOP? (Well, now, there’s a stupid question.) Where’s the challenge to the undemocratic assumption implicit that this political debate is all about good kingship versus bad kingship? How can voters really vote if they don’t know the real stakes here, much less the real (vacant) soul of Mary Landrieu.. Have we surrendered the moral high ground so easily?
There is an old saw about the Left, “tell a lie often enough and it will become the truth”. Apparently the embedded lies in Obamacare have already become truth, for no one even challenges them anymore, even the liars themselves who have never had to explain the philosophy behind their actions.
Half a millennium before the Greeks, Romans and Chinese began musing about republics, another democracy existed on the earth for almost 300 years. It was the period of the Judges in the Old Testament. And since their elected leaders had become so rotten the Children of Israel went to Samuel, who went to God and told Him the people wanted a king. God gave Samuel the same warning about kings Cicero voiced, above, but then, in His best John Wayne voice, told Samuel to tell the people, “A man oughtta do what he thinks best.” And they went ahead. It was all down hill for the children of Israel after that.
Finishing Cicero’s thought…A tyrant by any other name…