David N. Snyder wrote:The author assumes that democracy is the best form of government as it has evolved from its Greek roots. But is it? I sometimes wonder if there is a better form of government, perhaps Plato's Republic or some other option. During the Buddha's time the prevailing form was absolute monarchy and it didn't seem to bother the Buddha.
Based on what I've observed of human nature in this life, I imagine an absolute monarchy would actually be ideal. This of course assumes the right monarch: a "wheel-turning monarch" or a ruler as described in the Tao te Ching. I say this because I think people tend to emulate those senior to them as a child obeys its parents. This is just as true on the societal level. A virtues of a good ruler who lived by virtue would percolate down to everyone else. The adults would emulate the virtuous leader and their children would be more inclined to obey their virtuous parents. Thus the world would live in harmony.
However, I'm afraid this is a pipe dream. The reality is quite the opposite. More peaceful people tend not to desire wielding power over others so they don't seek those positions of power like more greedy people would tend towards naturally. It's a catch-22.
Athenian democracy was a "direct democracy" which means people directly voiced their opinions in a forum and cast their votes themselves - of course only certain men could actually participate. This government was possible due in part to the fact that Athens was a geographically condensed city-state in Ancient Greece with a relatively small population. What we have today in the United States and much of the world is called an "indirect democracy" where people elect others to make decisions on their behalf. This was due in part to the constraints of geography.
With the telecommunications technology of today that transcends those geographic limitations, we could have a government truly for the people and by the people...
Another pipe dream.