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Herding Dogs as a Model for Ideal Government?

Recall I was wondering how the experience of working with the general public can change a person's political views. I have thought for years that democracy was an over-rated shibboleth.

But the experience of working with the general public as a campground host has convinced me that democracy is completely impractical.

One could generalize on this and make a big project out of re-reading and re-estimating the classic authors on political science. I haven't really done that. In part it is laziness.

But it has always seemed that general thinkers float around in the clouds too much, and that they are actually lazy and inaccurate thinkers. They fall in love with their own pretty theories and think they have had the final word on the subject, and that the disciples of rival philosophers should be tortured and then put to death.

A good Baconian (like me) would rather reduce the size of an issue to something small enough to be manageable.

As an example of that consider how a general political philosopher, discussing society in the abstract, forgets that society is made of real people. A campground sees real people every day.

Perhaps you are wondering what my alternative to democracy is? What is the right form of government? Who are the right rulers, and what is their relationship to the masses?

The other day we had a cattle drive through the campground. I was so impressed with the three or four herding dogs. (They were much more impressive than the cowboys or the cows.) One abandoned the herd for a few seconds: it came over to my dog and barked at her, just a few feet away. The herding dog had adrenaline squirting out its eyeballs. What a force of nature it was!

It's as if he were saying, "This is what life is all about, honey. Join us. You've got the right stuff. And the stupid cows can't live without us."

Did Plato give any thought to herding dogs before he wrote his nonsense in "The Republic?"


Ed said…
I'm reading "The Fate Of Empires and Search For Survival" by Sir John Glubb in PDF format. From what I have read so far he doesn't seem to think that any form of government will last for extended periods of time. We should probably expect cycles of the different forms but it is only a few people that live through the transition from one to the other. We may, at this time, be fortunate enough to be living through one of the transitions.
Egyptian pharaohs, Chinese emperors, and European monarchic dynasties lasted for centuries or millennia.
But the book, you refer to, sounds interesting. I will look for it. You could have given a link!
Ed said…
Sorry kaBLOOnie, I tend to forget that everyone is not Google Search adept. It is more a long article than a book:

He passes over Egypt, China and all of the Americas as well when talking about Empires. Does not consider the monarchic dynasties to have been Empires.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Ed, I've read half the essay. Which transition are we going through and why are we "fortunate"?

Edward L Frey said…

I think we are moving through The Age of Decadence which marks the Fall of Empires. I consider us fortunate because very few people get to live through such periods in history.
When I say live through it that is probably not going to be true for all of us but we will have lived through some of it and watched history in the making until we die of natural or unnatural causes.