Historic human struggle for equality and liberty

  • The more things change: Plato’s arguments 2,500 years ago are still applicable today

    The more things change: Plato’s arguments 2,500 years ago are still applicable today

“Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils.”

— Plato, 4th century BC

How many times have you heard it said: “You can’t expect a different result if you keep doing the same things the same way.”

The classic human struggle is for liberty and the freedom of the human spirit. However, the challenge to that human liberty has been the incessant need by a few for power and control.

It is not a new story. Socrates had to confront it, which was in 400BC. In our Western context, you can follow on from the Magna Carta some 800 years ago when the barons wanted more say in the monarchy.

It became an attrition of wrestling power from an unyielding monarchy to gain liberties for the common man. History of upheavals and movements both religious and political, labour movements, and from the Levellers to the classic examples such as the French, Haitian and the American revolutions inclusive of the Marxist input were all attempts to arrive at the equality of man.

On a local level, we miss the whole point entirely of the human historic struggle when we become preoccupied by militating over a narrow battle between whether the Progressive Labour Party or the One Bermuda Alliance should govern. Certainly narrow when neither have presented a clear picture of the kind of democracy they envision for Bermuda or the world.

You say they inherited a system; now all they need to do is govern effectively. Truthfully, they inherited the tail end of an incomplete battle for full equality and liberty.

The monarchs were smart. They maintained their position and granted a structured division with two parties battling for a turn to rule while the people failed to enjoy full participation or a real bill of rights that would define their value to the equation as an equal member.

It is not unreasonable to hope that by now some party or organisation with an understanding of the historic human struggle for equality of citizenry and liberty would have emerged to develop that republican sense among our people.

It is entirely possible to develop a participatory democracy; all that it requires is the will and the vision.

What Plato argued almost 2,500 years ago is still applicable today.

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Published Jan 19, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 18, 2019 at 10:57 pm)

Historic human struggle for equality and liberty

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