Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Loving Tyranny

Pisistratus was the son of Hippocrates (Hippocratic oath that doctor's take) and wanted to rule the government. Herodotus tells us about his cycle of seizing the government and then losing it, over and over again. It seemed that being the 'tyrant' was the only thing Pisistratus wanted to do.

The first time he seized the government he did it by faking an attack on himself, asking the people for bodyguards and then using them to take over. The next time he dressed a woman in armor, put her in a carriage and told everyone she was the goddess Minerva (Athena) who was his patroness. The last time he waited 10 years in exile, gathering money from those who owed the state money and then, with his son, he returned and was "joined by...partisans from the capital and by numbers from the country districts, who loved tyranny better than freedom."

That last part me really struck and I stopped and thought about that: They loved tyranny better than freedom?! How can that be? Who loves tyranny better than freedom?

So, I did some research. Guess what I found out? It turns out that Pisistratus was a socialist of sorts. He didn't mess with the governmental structure or the laws but he gave the poorer classes a lot of handouts. He tried to help equalize the classes this way and keep the lower class appeased. That's why, when he returned, those from the "country districts" fled to his cause, because he had taken care of them.

What was the truth? That men loved comfort more than choice!! Sure sounds like modern America.

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