06 March 2009

Plato Speaks


Time Magazine whines:

Last Friday, Vice President Joe Biden and seven White House Cabinet members traveled to Philadelphia to kick off the inaugural gathering of President Barack Obama's Middle Class Task Force. The task force will convene monthly in cities across the country to confront the problems faced by average Americans. It's an admirable goal — in light of rising costs, stagnant wages and job cuts, a Pew Research study found that 78% of self-described middle-class Americans have trouble maintaining their current standard of living.

have a better shot at making ends meet than at influencing the Middle Class Task Force. That's because no member of the Middle Class Task Force is actually middle class. While defining America's most beloved demographic group has never been an exact science, most academics agree that the term refers to anyone earning between $30,000 and $100,000 a year. (Median household income in the U.S. hovers around $50,000.) Every member of the President's task force — from Biden ($227,000) to Council of Economic Advisors Chairwoman Christina Romer ($172,000) to Energy Secretary Steven Chu ($191,000) — makes well over $150,000, putting them in the top 5% of wage earners.
Why is Time complaining. Haven't they read Plato's Republic? As Plato pointed out in the Parable of the Metals, some people are just destined to rule - those of Gold - while we mere middle class folks are only Brass, or maybe Iron. It is not our place to command and decide. That is why we live in an oligarchy.

4 comments:

Exodio said...

Nobody understands what a Republic is anymore. Whenever I argue against things like ballot initiatives (Prop 8 is the latest to bear debate) as Democracy, people jump on board to defend it.

We are ruled by laws, not mob rule.

Tony said...

When I was young and idealistic (in other words, stupid. Or perhaps, just stupider...) I studied political science, and I romanticized about the West and its threefold set of 19th century reforms: initiative, referendum and recall.

Having lived in Washington State and listened to Oregon news for the 10.5 years, I can now tell you that what I really think those states need is legislators with the stones to do their jobs.

Of course, Prop 8 would not have been necessary if the Ca Supreme Court would pay attention to the Law as well.

Exodio said...

From some perspectives, the CA Supreme Court was administering it's function - deciding whether laws are valid or not under the constitution of the state.

Proposition 22 as enacted in 2000 did not comply with the State constitution Sec. 7 (b) "A citizen or class of citizens may not be granted privileges or immunities not granted on the same terms to all citizens. Privileges or immunities granted by the Legislature may be altered or revoked."

The State constitution never defined marriage, and as such it was deemed that marriage fell under the category of a "privilege" that must be granted to all citizens. Without the definition, marriage is a legal contract between two consenting adults granting certain rights and benefits. To disallow entering a civil contract based on sex is discrimination.

Now Prop 8 went a step further and inserted a definition into the Constitution. It is up to the Supreme Court of CA if that definition is Constitutional in and of itself, and whether the people by ballot have the right to amend to constitution in such a way.

Operation of Law at it's finest?

My cynicism leads to not trusting either party, where yours seems to have led you to trust the Republicans uber alles.

As a side note, 6 of the 7 judges that ruled in the In re Marriage cases were appointed by Republicans. The vote was 4-3 to overturn the ban on same sex marriages based on Constitutional grounds.

Tony said...

Trust Republicans above all? I think not.

My position on this matter has nothing to do with party.

If you are going to overturn thousands of years of normative structuring of society across nearly every culture, the burden of proof ought to be higher than "He gets a privilege that I don't? Waaaaahhhhhhhhh."

This is part and parcel of the triumph of feelings and personal rights devoid of responsibility in this culture.