Rich and powerful
Louisiana Sen. John N. Kennedy’s recent comment that “intelligent men formed the country and now we are being governed by idiots” brings a key concern of the Founders to light.
Aristoi comes from ancient Greek and means “the best.” Aristoi were members of the aristocracy and regarded as possessing intelligence, being best qualified to rule and, most importantly, having the trait of Arete: “a right nature.” This is considered natural aristocracy and the most precious gift for the governing of society.
Letters between the Founders reveal their concern about major threats to what had been accomplished. John Adams shared Thomas Jefferson’s anxiety about the continuing influence of the wealthy and well born: “Your aristocrats are the most difficult animals to manage of anything in the whole theory and practice of government. They will not suffer themselves to be governed. They not only exert all their own subtlety, industry and courage but they employ the commonality to knock to pieces every plan and model that the most honest architects in legislation can invent to keep them within bounds.”
They saw artificial aristocracy as the mischievous ingredient in government. In a letter to Adams, Jefferson agreed there was a natural aristocracy with virtue and talents being the primary characteristics. Jefferson felt there is also an artificial aristocracy founded only on wealth and birth. He thought the best remedy was provided by the Constitution, which gives citizens free elections for separation of aristoi (wheat) from pseudo-aristoi (chaff). Jefferson referenced the poet Theognis who gave a warning that when such pseudo-aristoi men determine policy, what follows is civil discord.
Jefferson did say, in some instances, wealth may corrupt and blind. The buying of mischievous aristocrats must end. Corruption, immorality, and civil discord have become the norm. If this mischievous ingredient is not removed, the United States will become a permanent pseudo-aristoi nation. Founders depended on citizens to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Jim Igleheart, Waco
I was puzzled why Juanita Case in her March 1 letter believes “collusion-with-Russia” arguments are coming apart. No facts were presented that would support this conclusion. It appeared the writer only wanted to insult Democrats by calling them “asses.”
It’s obvious the media must sort out the “alternative facts” and “little white lies” that come from the White House. That is dicey!
It is regrettable that anyone would excuse behavior and words that reek of racism, sexism, lack of empathy and disregard for the human rights promised by our Constitution — and unbelievably come from the lips of the man who holds the highest office in our land.
Joanne Hueske, Moody