the people

Scipio, in Cicero’s Tusculian disputations, defines the people as

a community bound together by the sense of common rights and mutual benefits.

Are members of the political class bound with the other citizens in mutual benefits and common rights or do they occupy different spheres and as such when we talk about the people, we really have different groups in mind?



About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

39 thoughts on “the people

  1. Scottie says:

    The political class has elevated themselves above the rest of the people and they give themselves extra perks and higher wages than they allow the people. Politicians do not deserve this elevation they give themselves, but they fight any attempt to make things better for the people. Hugs

    Liked by 7 people

  2. jim- says:

    They even exempt the club from certain laws they enforce. Sort of like preachers, really. In the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, CEOs of public companies now face fines up to $5 million and 20 years behind bars if they report faulty numbers.
    However, members of Congress can mislead the nation with budget and reporting numbers they pull out of thin air and not worry about retribution.
    They also love the social security system that they exempted government employees from having to pay into it.
    Created a loophole to not participate in the Affordable Care Act as well with their own private deal.
    They also don’t pay staffers overtime, nor are obliged to follow workers rights laws. There’s more, too. They are also protected from whistle blowers and others. Neat little club. And..they can vote themselves raises when they already earn 3X the median household.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. renudepride says:

    The political (ruling) class, in almost every society known to humankind, has always segregated itself from the concept of “we the people.” This trend is becoming even more common today as even the theoretical “democracies” are falling to the manipulations of a select few.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Hariod Brawn says:

    The political classes, with few exceptions within, cannot be ‘bound with the other citizens in mutual benefits and common rights’ as such bonds would run counter to the extant bonds with their corporate sponsors and future pocket-liners. Finally, citizens are becoming aware of this. This Greek gentleman expresses the situation in Europe most eloquently.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Atul Depak says:

    Depends upon the person belonging to the political class.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ron says:

    If I remember correctly, Scipio argued that the commonwealth encompassed the welfare of the entire people, and that such a commonwealth would soon disintegrate if the rulers became tyrants . . . or something like that.

    So, in theory at least, the answer is yes — the political class is bound with the other citizens in mutual benefits and common rights.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      you remember correctly. Still on the commonwealth, Scipio argued all forms of governance- monarchical, oligarchy, and democratical systems- each on their own are not good for the public weal and felt the best form of governance is one that combined all the three.
      in a tyranny, the welfare of the people is and that of the political class is not bound together, I think.


  7. In a system whereby the political class is given the same rights and adheres to the same standards as their constituents, then yes, I would have to say that the political class COULD be the same as the people. However, you’d be hard pressed to find more than the occasional anecdote of that ever happening. By and large, politicians are held to different standards than “the people.” They play by a separate set of rules; they are allowed to get away with more; they are given the benefit of the doubt if (when) they commit a crime – the presumption being that they did it for the common good.

    The mutual benefits side is interesting. You could argue that some politicians are held to a certain amount of “accountability” in some democratic-leaning countries. Therefore, in theory, we elect the politician (benefit to them) in exchange for their service towards our interests. However, as several studies over the decades have shown, the US Democratic system is one in which the corporation and the interest groups have more power than the electorate with regards to governmental policy. (See: Paul Krugman or Martin Gilens). With that in mind, it appears that there are instances where we elect the politicians (their benefit) only for them to put corporate interests ahead of our interests (no benefit to us.)

    So overall, I’d have to guess – in this horrendously long personal anecdote – that the political class is not generally a part of Scipio’s “people.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      I like the point you make with regard to accountability that some politicians in a few countries are held to, but one does see that in most cases, this is not the case and as you rightly point out, they get away with a lot, murder even.

      Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      I will look at as soon as I clear my head


    • makagutu says:

      Good piece, this one.
      Coming from this side of the ocean, I can’t comprehend what a government shut down is, coz i don’t think it has happened here. What sections of governmit are affected? Say, does it affect the secret service or congress? Do governmit hospitals still work?


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