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Old March 14 2013, 05:44 PM   #76
Pavonis
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Sci wrote: View Post
And why shouldn't we judge earlier societies by modern standards?
Because they'll always fall short, and criticizing those ancient societies won't change them. You may as well save your "constructive criticism" for societies that can change.


All of which is a very long way of saying: We don't adhere to the meaningless rhetoric used by the Romans. We call their emperors their emperors, not their "pontifex maximus with tribunician power and imperium superseding all others."
Perhaps we shouldn't though. The Athenians called themselves a democracy, so why shouldn't we? The Roman "emperor" wasn't called an emperor, so why should we?
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Old March 14 2013, 05:56 PM   #77
Sci
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
And why shouldn't we judge earlier societies by modern standards?
Because they'll always fall short,
So what? You speak as though the goal is to find a reason to venerate them.

All of which is a very long way of saying: We don't adhere to the meaningless rhetoric used by the Romans. We call their emperors their emperors, not their "pontifex maximus with tribunician power and imperium superseding all others."
Perhaps we shouldn't though. The Athenians called themselves a democracy, so why shouldn't we? The Roman "emperor" wasn't called an emperor, so why should we?
Because we can see through the lies they told themselves.
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Old March 14 2013, 06:02 PM   #78
Pavonis
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

The goal is to accept history as it occurred and accept that societies were different in the past. Criticizing the past for not being modern is pointless.
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Old March 14 2013, 06:07 PM   #79
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
The goal is to accept history as it occurred and accept that societies were different in the past.
Sure. Accepting what they were doesn't mean you can't still judge them by modern standards.

Criticizing the past for not being modern is pointless.
Of course it's not! By judging them by modern standards and learning to see through the lies they told themselves, we can learn about how to improve our world today. If we, for instance, insist on not calling ancient Athens a democracy because only 20% of its population was allowed to vote, that can help us see through similar propaganda people in the modern age use to justify disenfranchising others.

You can learn from a historical society by judging it critically rather than just accepting its rhetoric on its own terms.
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Old March 14 2013, 06:20 PM   #80
Pavonis
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

In theory, I agree with you. On the specific matter of ancient Athens, though, since they developed and practiced a primitive and limited form of democracy rather than being another's monarchy, I find it pointless to criticize them for not making the leap to full universal suffrage in one go.

They were was progressive as they could be in their own time. We are as limited by our sensibilities now as they were then. We all have limits to what we can imagine, even you, Sci. Will we be criticized by future historians for not making social leaps that we aren't facing now and can't even imagine? Should we be criticized for not letting computers have a vote? Will we be looked down on for not letting chimpanzees run for office? What kind of revolutions will occur in the future that will make even you seem like a backward heathen to future people?

The past is what it is, what happened happened, and we can learn from the past without faulting them for their limitations that they couldn't overcome or even see. They weren't telling lies to themselves. They were just limited in their understanding.

Last edited by Pavonis; March 14 2013 at 06:41 PM. Reason: added bold
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Old March 14 2013, 06:59 PM   #81
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
They were was progressive as they could be in their own time. We are as limited by our sensibilities now as they were then. We all have limits to what we can imagine, even you, Sci. Will we be criticized by future historians for not making social leaps that we aren't facing now and can't even imagine?
I hope so!

The past is what it is, what happened happened, and we can learn from the past without faulting them for their limitations that they couldn't overcome or even see. They weren't telling lies to themselves. They were just limited in their understanding.
Of course they were telling lies to themselves. Men have always known the full humanity of the women they were oppressing; slavers have always known the full humanity of the people they held in bondage; the wealthy have always known the full humanity of those they kept in poverty. And all have feared their subjects' rebellions throughout history.

Saying you have rule by the people when you're only letting an elite actually rule? That's a lie you're telling yourself. And future societies should recognize that lie.
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Old March 14 2013, 08:04 PM   #82
Pavonis
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Sci wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
They were was progressive as they could be in their own time. We are as limited by our sensibilities now as they were then. We all have limits to what we can imagine, even you, Sci. Will we be criticized by future historians for not making social leaps that we aren't facing now and can't even imagine?
I hope so!
Oh, really? Even if future societies have ideals and mores that offend your merely 21st century sensibilities? Are you really that enlightened?

Of course they were telling lies to themselves. Men have always known the full humanity of the women they were oppressing; slavers have always known the full humanity of the people they held in bondage; the wealthy have always known the full humanity of those they kept in poverty. And all have feared their subjects' rebellions throughout history.

Saying you have rule by the people when you're only letting an elite actually rule? That's a lie you're telling yourself. And future societies should recognize that lie.
It's not a lie, as in a deliberate deceit, though. It's a limitation in their view. "All humans are equal" isn't an ancient dictum that all past societies were failing to live up to just because you think they were deliberately being elitist asshats; it's an idea that is far most recent and one past societies hadn't latched on to yet.

You may as well criticize the ancient Athenians for not being vegan as well as for not being ideal democrats.
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Old March 14 2013, 10:18 PM   #83
Dal Rassak
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

As to one remark at the top of this page... in actual fact, one of the titles of the Roman head of state was imperator, "the one who commands", which is where English gets the word emperor from.
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Old March 15 2013, 06:11 AM   #84
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Dal Rassak wrote: View Post
As to one remark at the top of this page... in actual fact, one of the titles of the Roman head of state was imperator, "the one who commands", which is where English gets the word emperor from.
We covered this.


Sci wrote: View Post
And the word imperator was not a synonym for "emperor" in our understanding of the term:

In Roman Republican literature and epigraphy, an imperator was a magistrate with imperium (Rivero, 2006). But also, mainly in the later Roman Republic and during the late Republican civil wars, imperator was the honorifical title assumed by certain military commanders. After an especially great victory, an army's troops in the field would proclaim their commander imperator, an acclamation necessary for a general to apply to the Senate for a triumph. After being acclaimed imperator, the victorious general had a right to use the title after his name until the time of his triumph, where he would relinquish the title as well as his imperium....

At first the term continued to be used in the Republican sense as a victory title but attached to the de facto monarch and head of state, rather than the actual military commander. The title followed the emperor's name along with the number of times he was acclaimed as such, for example IMP V ("imperator five times"). In time it became the title of the de facto monarch, pronounced upon (and synonymous with) their assumption.
So, the title of imperator referred to successful military commanders, not hereditary monarchs -- and the monarchy we now call the Roman Empire was not an official monarchy, but was a de facto monarchy legitimized by the accumulation of republican constitutional offices. (One might compare it to the same way the ruler of, say, North Korea legitimizes his status through the accumulation of numerous seemingly republican titles [such as General Secretary of the Workers' Party, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army].) Imperator was merely one of the titles a de facto emperor would acquire.
Tl;dr: "Imperator" may be where "Emperor" comes from, but it did not itself mean "hereditary monarch."
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