"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Why Philosopher Kings Are Rare

From control of wealth comes the power to govern.
Therefore the rulers will always be either a warrior elite or a merchant elite.
How then do you have a system that consistently puts a philosopher king in power?
A system that puts governing into the hands of the most capable.
There never has been a meritocracy of governance only the rule of the strong.
The life of the warrior or the merchant demands intense specialization and requires an incurious personality.  The rulers most societies have had most of the time reflects these realities.

Plato identified the main problem of politics 2300 years ago, but no one has ever figured out how to reliably implement that basic idea of giving that job to the best qualified.

3 responses to “Why Philosopher Kings Are Rare

  1. Pingback: Why Philosopher Kings Are Rare | Neoreactive

  2. Sam April 12, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I think we had the best. Limited franchise Republican Democracy. Only those with some means can vote. Now we have mass Democracy and it’s apparent it doesn’t function well.

    One of the bigger mistakes was making Senators directly elected. Notice there was no great outcry, that I know about, to change this. I assume it was done to remove control from the States and concentrate power in the Federal government instead of giving more power to the people.

    • Giovanni Dannato April 13, 2015 at 12:42 am

      I think we will find that if the best are enfranchised, almost any system can be made to work.
      If the worst are enfranchised, the best conceived system of rule falls apart.

      So the most important question any body will ever address is who to enfranchise in its governance.

      The founding fathers, living in an age before mass schooling, had no illusions about giving the vote to everyone. They would be horrified by the mob rule we now take for granted.

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