Eastern Kingbird / Tyrant

Eastern Kingbird - Tyrant

The Eastern Kingbird is a large Tyrant Flycatcher. It has a long black tail with a white tip. Because of its aggressive behavior, its binomial name is Tyrannus Tyrannus.

A Tyrant is a despotic ruler or person. The word is most likely derived from the Lydian, "turan", which simply means "sole ruler". In Ancient Greece it was used to denote "one who rules without law, looks to his own advantage rather than that of his subjects, and uses extreme and cruel tactics, against his own people as well as others".

Plato, (427-347 BC), believed that tyranny succeeded democracy. He maintained that excessive freedoms granted to citizens in a democracy would eventually lead to tyranny. He said that, a tyrant would be corrupted by power and his nature will leave him with "horrid pains and pangs". He suggested, alternatively, that Philosopher Kings would be ideal rulers. Unfortunately, despite Plato's idealism, history lacks any real examples of states run successfully by Philosopher Kings. Karl Popper and others have argued that the totalitarian tyrants of the 20th Century, such as Stalin and Hitler, aspired to be the Philosopher Kings of Plato.

To see what democracy looks like, just follow the rhetoric of the 2012 Presidential Election. The use of glittering generalities and appeal to emotion, the manipulation of certain factions of the populace, the lack of moral courage, the significant influence of special interests, an increasingly ignorant society, and early signs of tyranny, all seem to verify Plato's views on democracy. On the other hand, Plato's idea of Philosopher Kings is a utopian construct. There is no such thing as an absolutely wise person. Each individual action may or may not end up being wise. Even the wisest among us are prone to mistakes and vulnerable to the unknown.

Plato was wrong about Philosopher Kings, but he might be proven right about Democracy.

Song of the Day: The Mob Rules - Black Sabbath (1981)
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