Skip to comments.The Real Ten Commandments: Solon vs. Moses
Posted on 08/22/2003 10:59:42 PM PDT by Destro
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Were I depart from atheists is that they see all religion as unnatural. I don't. In point of fact a religious belief system it is a naturally occurring phenomenon amongst all peoples since the dawn of time. Therefore I consider religion to be a positive part of our human psyche, God or no.
I also consider the Christian religion (outside of the theocratic reasons) to be the most perfectly formed religion for the achievement of freedom and a just society. It is no accident that the Greco-Roman world merged with Christianity.
I too have found the Left's assault on or Greek and Roman roots to be a big threat. More so than the issue of the removal of the 10 commandments from the Alabama Court House.
You would think, except there's that free will thingy.
It does not purport to be the Foundation of our Liberty. It acknowledges, as a self-evident truth, that our Liberty comes from the nature of Creation--from the Creator. That is the initial premise, before the long recital of quite specific grievances.
As for applying the grievances (see Declaration Of Independence) to the present excesses of our Federal Government, I do so all the time. The fact is that it is not just in this ongoing attack on religious symbols, that has so many stirred up, that the contrived erosion of our institutions is taking place. The traditional restraints on the arbitrary exercise of undelegated power, have also been under unrelenting attack for most of a Century--and generally from those having the same Fabian mindset or approach, as those who have supported the attack on religious symbols.
It will only make my point the more, to go back to you acceptance of the idea of a civil basis for determining rights. The so-called "Civil Rights" acts, which were premised on that idea--among others--specifically outlawed private preferences based upon religious beliefs in hiring and housing.
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
I also consider the Christian religion (outside of the theocratic reasons) to be the most perfectly formed religion for the achievement of freedom and a just society. It is no accident that the Greco-Roman world merged with Christianity.
Well said and worthy of a repeat.
I too have concluded the same thing, after a recent research into various philosophies. The search for religion is universal in man, it is tied to the 3 questions we want to ask: Where we came from (creation); who we are and who we should be (morality); and where are we going (purpose of life, life-after-death, etc). We are always seraching for meaning. The nihilists who deny meaning have confused a process of truth-finding (skepticism) for a result. they end up holding a philosophy that is impossible to hold in 'real life'.
There is some error in Western civilizations' realms of faith and reason, in the duality of it. Yet our synthesis of Greek-derived reason-based philosophy and Christian faith-based religion into a world view that gave us the framework (logic) to learn and the motivation (moral imperative) to do so. Without *either* faith or reason we would not be modern society; without the mind-set to consider both subject to human understanding and advance, we would not have advanced.
You need look no further than the Buddhist-run societies to see the stark constrast; Buddhist moral vision is compelling (suffering exists, so overcome it by overcoming desire) yet impaired by the inward-looking-ness of it all. I see Buddhism as the only other religion close to Christianity in its completeness of moral vision. (Confucius was more practical than idealist; Islam is flawed.) But it takes you out of the world, whereas the example of Christ is one of going *into* the world. Can modern man deny all desire? Yet a culture that encourages this is a culture that creates incredible passivity and lack of change. Which is why Tibet is not New York city.
Now this does leave aside the question 'is it true?' and yet consider the lesson of doubting Thomas, and the Greek philosophic tradition, carried on by scholastics and western philosophers: They tested faith with reason, reason and natural experience with faith, and tested and considered both in their own realms. The beginning of science is to understand that a statement can be falsifiable by the evidence, and that what we "know" is less than we assume ("All I know is I know nothing" -Socrates). Moreso than any other religion, the simple question "Is this true?" is asked in ours - with meaning. Christian theology, unlike the theologies of other religions is *also* imbued with that questioning eye; it's led to schisms and dogma, but also to *advance*. And perhaps, even to those who split off completely into agnostic and atheistic doubt.
One of the book I read on my own recent philosophic excursions was a book on the New Age "wisdom" by Tony Schwartz, a secularized Jewish reporter who went looking for meaning in his life. Lot's of interesting stuff there are Esalen, new psychotherapies, bio-feedback, theories of mind, sports trainers pushing excellence (let your mind go, learne to relax) and whacky new age spiritualism (higher modes of consciousness thanks to LSD, meditation, that take us beyond the rational - so there is subrational, rational and above-the-rational), but in the end he came to conclude the answer is the search. And I came to ask while reading "Why didnt you just ask a Rabbi or a Minister these same questions?" the answers to his questions have been given in the Torah and in the Epistles, and in meditations of St Francis, Augustine, Aquinas, etc.
It is a testament to the eternal search. Yet also a testament to Chesterton's point that: "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything." -- GK Chesterton. That's my one-sentence summary of the entire grab-bag of New Age spritualism. Despite trying to 'beyond' mere Christianity, the New Agers end up reverting to primitive mysticism of a type that even devout Christians would find weirdly superstitious.
The only real advance of the modern era, when you look at it, is science and the natural knoweldge of the world we have gained. No moral vision has yet to surpass what Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount. It is complete; yet universal ("Do unto others as you would have other do unto you" is the best formulation of a similar ethic carried in practically all major religions). It doesnt mean we should accept faith of 100AD christian blindly, but we should be humble about assuming we can 'invent' something better.
I too have found the Left's assault on or Greek and Roman roots to be a big threat. More so than the issue of the removal of the 10 commandments from the Alabama Court House. I go back to Chesterton on this. They destroy the old moral fabric because they want to install their own, not because they are hard-nosed skeptics: Worshipping animals (Peter Singer), woman-Gods (Wicca feminism), hedonism (take your pick), and other superstitions.
An appropriate response might be, not likely must be, a secular-based Conservative traditionalist moral foundation. Curiously, the best example of that would be found in (egads) the Deist Founding fathers, like Jefferson, etc., and the legacy they gave us. Which returns us to the idea that the best way to stop the depradations of the Left on common sense would be to defend the traditions of both faith and reason - and civic duty and freedom - that the founding fathers gave to our country.
So we need to ask: WWJD? What Would Jefferson Do?
You said and yet consider the lesson of doubting Thomas
What a perfect example! Thomas doubted the resurrected Jesus. Jesus then asked him to probe his crucifixion wounds. Is that not the observational-rational-scientific basis of Greek philosophy employed by Jesus to us?
That is why Christianity survived and prospered in the Greco-Roman world while the popular mystery cults of that time died out.
Islam in contrast would never allow its worshipers to probe God.
The Greeks (Athenians really) invented rhetoric. Rhetoric is the ability to argue both sides of an issue. The theory being that you can learn more bout the thing by seeing all sides to it before you make up your mind.
It was controversial thinking back then too.
We owe more to the Greeks than to the Jews but we would not owe the Greeks anything if not for the Jews!
The words Dissoi Logoi are Greek words for "different words." The phrase really carries the meaning of contrasting words, and it refers to the ancient rhetorical practice of arguing both sides of an issue. Because rhetoric normally is concerned with arguing about opinions, it is the case the positions taken on some issues may be equally valid, even though the people who hold them think their position is obviously the right one. And even in regard to issues in which one side is generally perceived to be superior to the other, it is important to know both sides of the argument. Therefore, it was a common practice to ask students to speak or write arguments for both sides of a controversy.
A good way to do that is to pretend that you have been asked to be an advocate for someone. After reading a text or hearing a position, create the best argument you can in defense of it. Think of yourself as a hired lawyer, or spokesperson. What are the best arguments you can make in support of your client's position? Then pretend like you have been hired to argue against the same position. What are the best arguments you can make against the position?
By putting yourself as fully into each side as possible, you begin to see the internal logic of each position. This insight is important for several reasons. First, it may help you to be more understanding of your opponents' position (they're not always the fools we think they are when we haven't explored their position carefully). Second, it may make it possible for you to find some area of common ground between the two positions that will produce cooperation rather than arguing to "win." Third, even if you think the opponents' view are wrong and must be defeated, you at least know what arguments they are likely to use, and you can figure out how to disarm those arguments ahead of time.
But what do you do if you feel strongly about your position, and you feel guilty even listening to the other views, let alone taking them into yourself so far that you are able to write them as though you believed them? When you first start doing this kind of exercise, such qualms are common, but it is much better to take the "poison" (if that's how you think of the other view) on your own time and under your own control than to find it being used against you in the heat of battle when you don't know how to deal with it. So, on the one hand, you can overcome your qualms by assuring yourself that you are preparing yourself to make an even better argument than if you didn't write on both sides.
Even more important, though, from an ethical position, is the value of exploring the other view so that you can be fair. Is it always the most ethical thing to win your argument? What if your opponents have some truth in their position? Isn't it more important, if possible, to find ways to cooperate than to push toward polarized positions? Consider places where long-term animosities are destroying countries. This is not to say that one should compromise his or her beliefs, but one reason people argue their side without listening to the other is that they are insecure in their beliefs. A good way to overcome that fear is to explore the thing you're afraid of; perhaps you will change your mind, but perhaps, you will come away with a stronger sense of security in your own position.
Like yours, the comments made by the clueless author of this article will only favorably impress other ignorant mentalities.
Anything that is posted from DemocratsUnderground or Infidels (our present political opponents) - will bring forth such involuntary bias from me that it would be a waste of my time (and unfair to the author) to read it.
That one is completely lost on the Democrat Party.
This is not what was meant in Commandment 10. The word is to "covet", not "desire". And it relates to adultery or specific possessions that you would wish to steal. It does NOT refer to "keeping up with the Joneses.". This analysis is very simplistic.
I don't know the answer, but having evil out in the world would suggest otherwise.
Yes, Greek society was so tolerant and mindful of "civil rights" that they sentenced Socrates, their greatest thinker, to death for daring to tell the youth of Athens to question established conventional wisdom. In other words, a death sentence for freedom of speech.
I also agree with others that there is next to nothing in Solon's "suggestions" which could be used as a basis for law. It seems to me rather that Rousseau and Socialism/Marxism have more in common with Solon than do the Founding Fathers, who were clearly more influenced by biblical precedent.
"Those who intellectually contributed to the Constitutional convention were the Founding Fathers. .... Back then church membership was a big deal. In other words, to be a member of a church back then, it wasn't just a matter of sitting in the pew or attending once in a while. This was a time when church membership entailed a sworn public confession of biblical faith, adherence, and acknowledgment of the doctrines of that particular church.
Of those 55 Founding Fathers, we know what their sworn public confessions were. [excerpted]: HERE
Specifically, the 55 Framers (from North to South):
John Langdon, Congregationalist (Calvinist)
Nicholas Gilman, Congregationalist (Calvinist)
Elbridge Gerry, Episcoplian (Calvinist)
Rufus King, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
Caleb Strong, Congregationalist (Calvinist)
Nathaniel Gorham, Congregationalist (Calvinist)
Roger Sherman, Congregationalist (Calvinist)
William Samuel Johnson, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
Oliver Ellsworth, Congregationalist (Calvinist)
Alexander Hamilton, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
John Lansing, Dutch Reformed (Calvinist)
Robert Yates, Dutch Reformed (Calvinist)
William Patterson, Presbyterian (Calvinist)
William Livingston, Presbyterian (Calvinist)
Jonathan Dayton, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
David Brearly, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
William Churchill Houston, Presbyterian (Calvinist)
Benjamin Franklin, Christian in his youth, Deist in later years, then back to his Puritan background in his old age (his June 28, 1787 prayer at the Constitutional Convention was from no "Deist")
Robert Morris, Episcopalian, (Calvinist)
James Wilson, probably a Deist
Gouverneur Morris, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
Thomas Mifflin, Lutheran (Calvinist-lite)
George Clymer, Quaker turned Episcopalian (Calvinist)
Thomas FitzSimmons, Roman Catholic
Jared Ingersoll, Presbyterian (Calvinist)
John Dickinson, Quaker turned Episcopalian (Calvinist)
George Read, Episcopalian, (Calvinist)
Richard Bassett, Methodist
Gunning Bedford, Presbyterian (Calvinist)
Jacob Broom, Lutheran
Luther Martin, Episcopalian, (Calvinist)
Daniel Carroll, Roman Catholic
John Francis Mercer, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
James McHenry, Presbyterian (Calvinist)
Daniel of St Thomas Jennifer, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
George Washington, Episcopalian (Calvinist; no, he was not a deist)
James Madison, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
George Mason, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
Edmund Jennings Randolph, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
James Blair, Jr., Episcopalian (Calvinist)
James McClung, ?
George Wythe, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
William Richardson Davie, Presbyterian (Calvinist)
Hugh Williamson, Presbyterian, possibly later became a Deist
William Few, Methodist
William Leigh Pierce, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
William Houstoun, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
William Blount, Presbyterian (Calvinist)
Alexander Martin, Presbyterian/Episcopalian (Calvinist)
Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr., Episcopalian (Calvinist)
John Rutledge, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, III, Episcopalian (Calvinist)
Abraham Baldwin, Congregationalist (Calvinist)
And don't confuse the modern-day "pop-culture" mainline Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Congregationalist churches with the ones extant in the days of the Founders. Today's mainline churches have been co-opted by the Marxist left.
Madison was a Calvinist:The Political Philosophy of James Madison by Garrett Ward Sheldon
... "Sheldon argues that it was a fear of the potential 'tyranny of the majority' over individual rights, along with a firmly Calvinist suspicion of the motives of sinful men, that led him to support a constitution creating a strong central government with power over state laws." (editorial review)
THE RELIGIOUS FAITH OF OUR FOUNDING FATHERS all but calls Madison a Calvinist.
Gracchus -- Charles Laughton says Julius Ceaser -- John Gavin as they are leaving the Senate and buying some white doves to sacrifice to the temple.
Julius Caesar -- John Gavin: Sacrifice to the Gods? You don't believe in any of them.
Gracchus -- Charles Laughton: In private my dear boy, I believe in none of them, In public I believe in all of them.
If he were right about our society being entirely opposed to the first four and last commandment, the Roy Mooore affair would never have happened, and in fact Carrier wouldn't have seen a need for this article. Or perhaps "our society" means something other than America.
Also, he seems to lack reading comprehension. The last Commandment prohibits not desire in general (these are not Buddhist commandments), but desiring what your neighbor has, which precedes theft, or adultery in the case of your neighbor's wife. Surely theft and adultery aren't the basis of capitalism. And "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me" doesn't imply "and kill those who do." Unless he thinks you can't hold a position about religious matters without wishing to persecute those with other positions, in which case he has no business claiming free speech as "our" ideal.
And Solon's "ten commandments" read like the first ten entries in an ancient Life's Little Instruction Book.
In the course of Western Civilization, there have been two trials ending in a sentence of death imposed upon two individuals later deemed grossly unfair and unjust by the verdict of history. One trial was that of Jesus Christ, the other that of Socrates.
Of course, it can be said with justification that each man steered a course that ended with a fatal termination from the power structure of the time.
It was Jesus' destiny.
It was Socrates' choice.
Both philosophers and theologians, by defining proper moral conduct, carry a political message, a message apt to rub the ruling power structure's nose in its own mess. Honesty is a dangerous double-edged sword wielded by a messenger of truth speaking to power. Christ defined and built a new moral order. All Socrates ever accomplished was questioning and probing the democratic beliefs of his day. He refused to define proper behavior and what should be done by government. Socrates built nothing, wrote nothing; instead he strove to destroy the legitimacy of free men ruling themselves, brown-nosed to concepts of authoritarian rule, and thus was never more than a moral vandal and graffitti-tagger to the social-order Parthenon of fifth century Athens, perhaps the most brilliant civilization ever seen on this planet.
Both Christ and Socrates were killed at the orders of lesser men for what they said. The story of Jesus Christ and the world in which he lived are well known. Now let us look at Socrates, the world's first "intellectual" and the stage he acted upon.
Fifth Century B.C. Athens was the world's first and most brilliant democracy. From being governed by kings, one of them the legendary hero Theseus, it had gradually opened the franchise from an oligarchy of nobles and rich landowners to where even poor men could serve on the Council of 500 or on the jury. Every citizen was expected to govern and perform military service for his city. Athens also had a middle class, the backbone of all democracies, who were expected to arm themselves and serve as hoplites, heavy infantrymen in a phalanx. This middle class carried arms and underwent military training, both to proctect their government and their rights.
Late in the sixth century, the Persians in trying to expand their empire came in contact with the Greeks. The Greeks, loving their freedom, helped their cousins living in Asia Minor resist the Persians. The Persians tried to conquer and punish the Athenians and Spartans who had interfered in their goals of empire.
Both the Athenians and the Spartans successfully resisted the Persians and in a number of battles on land and at sea eventually drove the Persians out of Europe and back to Asia Minor. Athens was not able to grow enough grain to feed her people. So the population grew olives and grapes and exported their wares and silver all over the known world. Thus Athens became a trading maritime, then a sea power.
Sparta, on the other hand, was a militaristic state, ruled by principles opposite to those of Athens. The land was fertile. The Spartans enslaved the non-Dorian population and made them grow food for the Spartans. In order to guard against slave revolts, Sparta became a police state, and the free citizens were trained in the arts of war from the age of seven. At 30, a Spartan citizen was allowed to live in his own house, but his male children belonged to the state, to train a new generation as soldiers.
Thus Sparta was not a trading state. Its coins were made of iron. Its soldiers were the best in Greece. Sparta did not produce a single poet, writer, or artist. In order to keep some of its slaves docile, no man could live free.
When the Athenians and Spartans faced a common enemy, they were allies. Once the Persians were driven from the scene, both city-states, unable to understand the other, became first rivals and then enemies. Out of alliances between the various city-states forged during the Persian wars, came the bloody fraternal conflict known as the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.)
The Athenians were in charge of the naval organization known as the Delian League. The Spartans led the armies of Peloponnesian League. Picture the Peloppesian War as equivalent to a naval America in conflict with a land-based Russia, or a Great Britain at war with Germany. It would be an apt comparison, because that is the way the war was fought; politically, economically, and morally for 27 years.
And Socrates lived in Athens, was a citizen there, and in every utterance he is recorded to have said, openly preferred the tyranny of the Spartans over the democracy of the Athenians, much in the same way socialist "intellectuals" without intellect live among us today, sucking up to the notions of a dictatorship of the proletariat, a dictatorship that will make common cause with the intellectuals to rule the common herd of common man.
Socrates was a moral and intellectual traitor. He lived and died to destroy the country which gave him birth.
It took a while for easygoing Athens to get Socrates' number. Socrates was the town character, as mentioned in Aristophanes's "The Clouds." While a member of the middle class, he was on good terms with Pericles, the ruling aristocrat voted the first strategos (general) for over 30 years. Socrates, the perfect snob, surrounded himself with the gilded aristocratic youth of Athens.
But there is a limit to even the most patient of governments. When a legitimate government is strong, it can afford to ignore pinpricks of ridicule. But after Athens lost her empire by losing the Peloponnesian War and had undergone two oligarchic reigns of terror at the hands of the gilded, Socratified rich kids, her patience with Socrates ended.
Socrates was charged in 399 B.C. with "impiety against the gods of the city" and with "corrupting the young." He was guilty on all counts.
On the count of impiety against the gods of the city, the charges pertained not to bad-mouthing Zeus, but to Socrates' love for dictatorship and disdain for democracy. After having fought wars against tyrants -- foreign and domestic -- Athens felt that she had to protect herself from the contaminating sources of bloodshed, death, and poverty. And lest we condemn Athens, was it not Abraham Lincoln who protested against "shooting the 16 year old deserter" and then "not harming a hair on the head of the wily old agitator" who egged him on?
Socrates' basic premise of government -- according to Xenophon's "Memorabilia" -- was "that it is the business of the ruler to give orders and of the ruled to obey." So the ruler should have total, unaccounted power.
And who should the rulers be? "Kings and rulers are not those who hold the scepter." Scratch conventional monarchy. Certainly not "those who are chosen by the multitude." Ick, not nowhere near a democracy. Shudder, elitist shudder, to think of the "herd" trying to rule themselves. "Nor on those whom the lot falls." Athens chose by lot from out among the democratic herd those who served on the expediting committees of a given day. Socrates did not like Athenian democracy at all, not even when tempered by chance. "Nor those who owe their power to force or deception." So much for traditional musclebound tyrants. The best form of government is by "kings and rulers," "those who know how to rule."
After hearing this, it's not too difficult to figure out where Plato got his notions of rule by "philosopher-kings." Absolute rule by so-called intellectuals who know what is best for the rest of us, over we who are nothing but sheep to be used for the good of the elites who would rule us.
Socrates was the world's first killer intellectual, the world's first proponent of "dictatorship of the proletariat," the first apologist for for Leninism, and the first colonist of the nasty lot of moral squatters on free soil who infiltrate and destroy the social order of free men.
Athens would have spared herself a lot of trouble if she had bestirred herself to write Socrates' name on broken potsherds -- the ostracism -- branded the Spartan equivalent of the hammer-and-sickle and a swastica on his butt, and given him a no-expenses paid, free, ten-year trip to Sparta where he could have enjoyed the life of a menial helot under a system he supposedly admired.
But no, the Athenians, a relatively decent lot, got tricked into indulging Socrates' death wish, and Socratic intellectuals have been whining up the sad fate of this moral criminal ever since.
The second charge against Socrates, that he had corrupted the youth of Athens, was even more damning. The foremost examples of the gilded youth he led astray was Alcibiades and Critias, although Socrates' effect on the rich young aristocratic fops was already mentioned in Aristophanes' "The Birds," written in 414 B.C., fifteen years before he was called to account:
Why, till ye built this city in the air, _____ line 1280 All men had gone Laconian-mad; they went __ [Spartan-mad] Long-haired, half-starved, unwashed, Socratified, With scytales in their hands; but Oh the change! They are all bird-mad now, and imitate ____ line 1284
Aristophanes made fun of the dandies with their Spartan habits, dress, and even carrying their little Spartan secret police short clubs about town, but this was before the rich kids turned mean. When he mentions the intellectual beliefs of the Athenian "Spur Posse" as being "Socratified" he refers to their instilled beliefs that they were better than everyone else and that the poor and middle class were disposable human beings they could use with impunity.
One rich kid named Alcibiades was a relative of Pericles and raised in Pericles' own household. Brilliant, handsome, rich, and of noble birth, Alcibiades had it all, except for a good character. As a general, he betrayed Athens, fled to Sparta, knocked up a Spartan king's wife and was kicked out of Sparta as a troublemaker, ran back to Athens, got elected general again, betrayed Athens again and was kicked out, then fled to Persia where he was killed upon the orders of another Athenian rich kid named Critias who set up a dictatorship backed by the Spartans. The Athenians loved Alcibiades, but nobody could trust him.
Alcibiades was Socrates' favorite pupil. Socrates saved his life on a battlefield. But the lesson Alcibiades learned from Socrates was that the rulers have no duty to their country; that their ambitions and desires come ahead of the common herd's well-being and lives. Alcibiades was a Socratified "superman."
The other pupil of Socrates mentioned in this indictment was Critias. Critias was Plato's uncle and Plato wrote a dialogue about him. In 411, an aristocratic over-throw of the Athenian democracy occurred and Athens lived in a state of terror for four months until they were able to restore a democracy. In 404, Athens lost the Peloponnesian war and the Spartans installed a puppet government of the aristocratic "Socratified" element.
The leader of The Thirty, Critias, was the Athenian Robespierre. He killed and murdered as many Athenians from the middle and poor classes as the Spartans had killed in battle over the last ten years of the war. The democratic element fled Athens and waged a civil war and retook the city the next year. To have it said that you had stayed in the city was thereafter a mark of reproach.
But a mark of reproach was all it was, because Athens did one thing not done before or since -- it forgave. An amnesty was offered. Even the aristocrats were offered amnesty without an acre of their lands being confiscated or a copper obol of their money seized. They were not loved, they were not respected, but they were allowed to live in peace.
Critias and another leader of The Thirty, Plato's uncle Charmides, a man Socrates urged to go into government, didn't live to see the armistice. Before they were overthrown, like Nazis seeking refuge in South America, the Thirty carved out a temporary refuge in the small village Eleusis, where they murdered 300 of the male citizens under color of law, having forced an Athenian assembly to vote in a death sentence without trial. Soon afterwards, Critias and Charmides were killed in battle and the amnesty declared.
The aristocrats left for Eleusis and used their money to buy mercenaries to attack Athens. The alarmed Athenians executed the ringleaders, but still extended the amnesty to the rest. Finally, in 401 B.C., two years before Socrates' trial and death, a weary, tired peace came to Athens, who had lost a war, her empire, and many of her citizens.
Socrates remained in Athens and kept his mouth shut when mildly threatened by his Socratified pupils of The Thirty.
Plato does not allude to these matters for some reason. He was 25 years old, military age, and was urged to share in his uncle's and first cousin's government, but like so many "intellectuals," he wussed out. He preferred government by "philosopher-kings" in a book, but never did anything to actually attain it.
So now Athens is as whupped as a cut dog. Her walls have been torn down by order of the victorious Spartans and she has no navy. A civil war between rich and poor has weakened her social cohesion and confidence among her populace. And here comes Socrates, an intellectual Bourbon having remembered everything and learning nothing, preaching the gospel and glories of Spartan style despotism and wanting to teach a new generation of rich kids to despise their elders and their social order.
Athens had had enough.
Athens put Socrates on trial in 399 B.C. when he was 70, a ripe old age considering the times. If Socrates had put on a defense of demanding that Athens live up to its high ideals, perhaps he might have only been ostracized for ten years, a fate that had happened to both good and bad men before him. But instead, in accordance with his wanting to destroy the moral legitimacy of a free government by using its judicial system to fulfill his death wish, he baited both the jury to find him guilty and to punish him with death.
Socrates, who always said that he knew nothing while he asked his destructively critical questions boasted about how the Oracle at Delphi declared that Socrates was the wisest, most free, just, and prudent man in the world. In other words, "I am a fool, but I know I'm a fool and that makes me smarter than you." The jury convicted him on both counts. Then Socrates asked that his penalty be that he be declared a civic hero and fed at the public table for life! That did not go over too well. The jury, incensed, gave out the death penalty.
One of Socrates' disciples suggested a jailbreak and escape, with the tacit connivance of the authorities who just wanted him gone, but Socrates refused. So he drank the hemlock while he put on the airs of a martyr. After all that he had done for democratic Athens, this is the thanks he got! Christ wept over Jerusalem, but Socrates shed not a tear for Athens.
Socrates' most famous pupil, Plato, figured out the heat was on, so he traveled abroad for 12 years, living on his inherited money. Then when the stink cleared, he gave up his notions of becoming a playwright and instead wrote up numerous books about his leading man, Socrates. He formed an academy, wherein his most gifted student, Aristotle, studied. Of course, Aristotle formed his own conclusions, most of which differed from Plato's.No philosopher kings for Aristotle! Aristotle's royal pupil was Alexander the Great.
Read Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Aristophanes yourself to judge how a man like Socrates acted upon the Athenian stage. Fifth century Athens was possibly the brightest and most beautiful civilization that ever graced this planet. Fourth century Athens did not shine as brightly, and afterwards Athens did not produce any more great men or institutions. Athenians became like the Mayans, living in stone huts outside the splendid ruins of their ancestors. Socrates should bear some of the blame for this.
But let this article close with the judgement of another man of Socrates' generation, the Greek playwright Euripides, "the philosopher of the stage," as he was known by his contemporaries. Euripides wrote with feeling and humanity about the tragic follies of powerful people who forgot to act with decency and the punishment the gods brought down on them for their misconduct. Character determined destiny. With Euripides began Western Civilization's worthy portrayal of women and the poor. Euripides, while of noble family, was a democrat in the best, most responsible sense of the word.
In one of his lost plays, The Auge, Euripides has one character say in the few lines which survive:
"Cursed be all those who rejoice to see the city in the hands of a single man or under the yoke of a few men! The name of a freeman is the most precious of titles: to possess it is to have much, even when one has little."
Yes, cursed be Socrates, Plato, and all the "intellectual" petty Hitlers, Stalins, FDRs and other big-government butt kissers since.
Sorry I've never heard of this guy before neither do i want to and moses is not the lawmaker God himself laid down the laws Moses carried them down to the people in Gods name not In his own!
To follow this solon would be simple IDOLETRY.
How sad I am for your ignorance. Not your fault, the left is doing all it can to remove the DEAD WHITE MEN whose wisdoms are the foundation of our Western Civilization.
No, they don't. Moses brought the tablets down from Sinai at least 600 years before this guy. There aren't many that knew this guy and the founders were not much aware of him either.
"The Athenian's Commandments are far more noble and profound, and far more appropriate to a free society.
The commonality is mostly that they are a list of ten.
2. Do not speak falsely. (Thou shalt lie)
10. Have regard for your parents. (Honor your father and mother.)
9. Honor the gods. ( The greek gods were made up out of thin air as these "commandments" are)
3. Do good things. (The 10 commandments and what is written in the Bible ID and define what is good, these don't. These leave it open.)
The rest are contained in the Book of Wisdom. That book contains much more and predates this.
1. Trust good character more than promises.
4. Do not be hasty in making friends, but do not abandon them once made.
5. Learn to obey before you command.
6. When giving advice, do not recommend what is most pleasing, but what is most useful.
7. Make reason your supreme commander.
8. Do not associate with people who do bad things.
These have no prohibition on theft, murder, covetousness, adultery. They are worthless and so are the folks pushing them as worth something more than the 10 commandments.
Did Moses pay Hammurabi any royalties?
There is no genius in being so etherial the statement has no meaning whatsoever. The legalisms are important. Thou shalt not kill, steal, covet, lie, or break your promise(adultery).
No freaking kidding--it was a joke. By the way even as a God fearing Christian to say the laws of Moses are best because God said so is not a valid argument. That is not how the Church Fathers went about explaining Christian thought.
and which Abraham and his family left, taking the central idea of a single, all powerful, God with him. He also took with him a notion from En Heduanna, Sargon's daughter (Sargon was one of Hamurabai's predecessors) and priestess of the moon goddess En (since morphed into Allah, according to a lot of fundamentalist sources) of a personal relationship with the deity (she is also credited with being the first named author in history). And from Abraham and his "legitimate" child the Jewish nation was born. And they have the begats to back that up...
In the meantime he left behind his oldest (but illegitimate) son, Ishmael, and Ishmael's mother, who was his wife's slave. Folklore has it that the Arabs are all descended from Ishmael (what happened to everyone else, I wonder?), and that is their claim to "ownership" of the one we know as God, Jehovah, Yahweh, etc.
However, the descendants of Ishmael showed scant concern for that God until around the year 700, when an illiterate gigolo (pbuh) had a hallucinatory vision in a cave. He had his wife's scribes take parts of the holy writings of others (particularly Jews and Christians) and said "they got it wrong," and changed the things he didn't like to make himself the all powerful voice of god. He had anyone who disagreed with him killed. And he particularly hated the Jews, because they represented the line of Abraham which had spurned his ancestor. They had to acknowledge him as the one true voice of god, renounce the Torah, or die. He gave them 3 chances. When they refused ("let us considert this" they said) he had his followers start killing them, and they've been killing the Jews, and their Christian "heretics," for 1300 years. And His followers still pray to a big black rock in a city on the Arabian peninsula and to a moon god, 5 times a day.
Hatfields and McCoy's got nothing on this family feud.
Hey, Mr. Rushdie, you got room for another person to hide out with you? I feel a fatwah coming on...
"I drank what?"