To an ancient Greek or a Roman, citizenship was far more than an accident of geography. It was something that was earned. The Greeks even went so far as to say that the struggle for citizenship is also the struggle to become a human being. The isolated individual can be neither truly intelligent nor moral and therefore lives as a form of intelligent beast. The term 'idiot' actually means 'private individual'. This may seem harsh until we consider the people we know who have no interest in the world. What can they talk about? Celebrity gossip? Rumors about co workers? Shopping. These guys are idiots whatever their I.Q.
I am not arguing in favour of restricting the vote to some self appointed group of 'worthy' people. I am proposing a system that actually already exists. Idiots (with their limited mental world) will be invited to vote every five years. Citizens (who see themselves as part of a larger world) will create great art, great business empires and other advances. Each group will remain almost unaware the other exists.
We must realise that voting every five years is a very minimal form of democracy. We cannot control the governments we elect. All we can do is kick them out if they become corrupt or self serving. Much of the time elections are won or lost on the basins of economic cycles rather than politics. If the economy is doing OK then the government gets the credit regardless of its effectiveness.
This is democracy for idiots (in the Greek sense). Even quite dim people can grasps the basics of the party political system. They know that the Conservatives offer lower taxation and that Labour offer higher spending even though they have probably not read either manifesto. In this way an idiot can participate in public life to the limit of his ability.
But what of the rest of us? What if we want more?
There are a variety of options.
a) Take power and rule the country for the benefit of the idiots until they can be sufficiently educated.
b) Do what needs to be done without bothering (or being bothered by) the idiots.
The first option is the history of the Soviet Union and every other bloody dictatorship. An educated elite takes power but ends up slaughtering thousands or millions of its own followers. This occurs because there is no way of telling who is worthy to rule. Monarchies have rules of inheritance. Democracies have popular elections but Marxists and their allies can only settle their differences through violence because there are no other criteria open to them.
Needless to say I am not keen on this option.
The second option is the source of almost all human progress. Every technical advance in history occurred because a group of men (nearly always men) got together and simply got on with it. The same is true of great art and worthwhile institutions such as public libraries. Each of these things were created by people with the citizen mindset who simply got on with it.
A citizen is simply a person who concerns them self with the public good. This may be done in a hundred ways. The citizen simply looks around them, selects a target and then gets on with improving that area of life.
The citizen does NOT wait for majority opinion to catch up with them. This is a recipe for stagnation because majority opinion is made up largely of idiots. Idiots (by definition) are people who are only dimly aware the outside world even exists. I would advise you all to talk to an idiot or two and ask them some questions. Have they heard any news about Japan recently? (No). Do they know where Japan is? (It is a country in the war... or is that China?). What can they tell you about Japan? (The most common answer is that it is Communist).
Try this for yourself. The answers will shock you.
The citizen makes the world better but he does not ask any ones opinion about it.


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