17 March 2011

Polites

The notions of citizenship, liberty, and equality of political rights, as well as popular sovereignty, were closely interrelated. The most essential feature of citizenship was one's origin and heritage: Pericles was the 'son of Xanthippus from the deme of Cholargus'. From 451 BCE, one had to be born of an Athenian mother and father in order to become a citizen. Defined by his belonging, the citizen (polites) was opposed to the idiotes, or non-citizen—a designation that quickly took on a pejorative meaning (from the notion of the isolated individual with no belonging came the idea of the 'idiot'). Citizenship as a function thus derived from the notion of citizenship as status which was the exclusive prerogative of birth. To be a citizen meant, in the fullest sense of the word, to belong to a homeland—that is, to a homeland and a past.

- Alain de Benoist, The Problem of Democracy (2011)

5 comments:

Stockton Andrews II said...

We have none of the ideals of the ancient Athenians here in California although we will soon have the economy of modern-day Greece.

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, As a dual citizen I suppose I can call myself an idiot polite, is that worse, as good as or better than an idiot savant?

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

AEF ~ We're all dual citizens now. One foot in the glorious country that once was, and the other in the stinking shithole that is.

Vesuvian Woman said...

A.E.F. - quite the cheeky idiot you are ; )

All in all, people have to choose to honor their homeland. The ancients didn't have our current over-haul of non-sensical stimulus to compete with national pride.

A.E.F. said...

Vesuvian Woman - my true home is on Mars....