Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 9:55AM
Thanks to Simon Black
The ancient Greeks used the word ‘turannos’, which referred to an illegitimate ruler who governs without regard for the law or interests of the people, often through violent and coercive means.
Aristotle attacks tyrants mercilessly and clearly spells out the criteria which make a leader tyrannical. You may recognize a few of them:
- Aristotle suggests that a tyrant rises to power by first demonstrating that he is a man of the people.
- But once in power, a tyrant uses all available means to hold on to power, including spying on his people.
- Furthermore, Aristotle tells us that a tyrant thrives by creating division and conflict– “to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables [the rich]. . .”
- Controlling the economy and stealing the citizens’ wealth is also another mark of a tyrant.
- And as Aristotle points out, a tyrant also attempts to disarm the people such that “his subjects shall be incapable of action” because “they will not attempt to overthrow a tyranny, if they are powerless.”
- Naturally, a tyrant “is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader.”
Sound like anyone in power today?