Amphibian Politics

"We forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy is men who are afraid of the light." - Plato Great political metaphors earn a long shelf life.  Plato coined one of the best, a thought probably lifted from Socrates.  Plato likened the 1,500 some odd classical Greek settlements and city states arrayed around the Black and Mediterranean Seas to "frogs around a pond."  Greek culture had spread far and wide for its day, but it was still a small piece of the universe.  Early philosophers were humbled by what they didn't know about the larger world beyond Greece. Nonetheless, poor and untimely communications may have nurtured the political pluralism and religious diversity that were the true glory of ancient Greek culture.  For most Greeks, including Spartans, independence was more important than democracy.  The variety of polities in Greek waters ran the gamut from chaotic egalitarianism to ham-fisted dictatorships; when neither worked, the...(Read Full Article)

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