Discovering the Circle Structure of Real Democracy

Many records survive from ancient Athens that show exactly how the different democratic institutions worked, sometimes in specific cases involving specific individuals. But the Athenian democrats themselves seem to have written nothing at all about the nature of democracy itself — and certainly nothing that contrasts its unique circular structure to the pyramid structure of oligarchy. At least nothing has been passed down through all the centuries of oligarchy that followed. All we have from the Age of Democracy are a few attacks on democracy made by men who hated it and wanted the Rule of the Few. The most famous of these is by Plato. After the death of his old teacher, Socrates (who wrote nothing), Plato resurrected him in his own writings as his personal puppet, using his fictional “Socrates” to promote his own imaginary “republic” where democracy is blocked by the utopian rule of philosopher kings. All we’ve had since Plato have been other Guardians of the Few who have been too hostile to the rule of the people

or too dedicated to passing off the oligarchical republic as a democracy — or too blinded themselves by the Demockracy Fraud — to point to the circle structure which offers such a clear alternative to the Rule of the Few.

Perhaps the Athenian democrats were too busy ruling themselves to write about the act of ruling themselves, too busy to write a political theory of democracy. But they did know that their government was a unique model that others were copying. In his History, Thucydides, the great Athenian historian who lived in the 5th century, has Pericles praise the Athenian Democracy.

We live under a form of government which does not emulate the institutions of our neighbors; on the contrary, we are ourselves a model which some follow, rather than the imitators of other peoples.

We need to name this model as the democracy circle it is — perhaps for the very first time. This is essential because the alternative political structure of the circle is what makes democracy possible. No democracy can exist without this circular structure.