A Great Idea From the Ancient Greeks

athens

When All Else Fails, Ostracize
Ancient Greece, specifically Athens, is considered to be the birthplace of democracy. The early Athenians passed down many great gifts to western civilization, including philosophy, science, sculpture, architecture, and the theater. But their most enduring contribution has to be the form of government known as democracy: rule by the people. It took one revolution after another to get rid of the small groups of the rich and powerful families, but eventually the people prevailed – if only for a couple of hundred years.

“It is called a government of the people (demokratia) because we live in consideration of not the few, but of the majority.” –  Thucydides on Pericles’ view of democracy, 450 BCE

Back then the citizens of Athens took their politics seriously and if a politician became overly ambitious or tyrannical they could be voted out in the famous unpopularity contest called ostracism. It was a simple procedure. Once a year there was a vote to determine if a politician was becoming too powerful and might threaten the democracy. If at least 6,000 votes were cast the man with the most votes lost and was sent into exile for 10 years. It’s time to ostracize San Diego’s disgusting mayor, Bob “who looks like the devil” Filner. Don’t dramatize, ostracize!

Enjoy the Rolling Stones ‪performing Sympathy For The Devil at Glastonbury, May 2013:‬

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