We tend to think that we are more intelligent than people were thousands of years ago. I gravely doubt that that is so. In fact, it is quite possible that people 30,000 years ago, when they were painting on the walls of caves depictions of the animals which roamed around at that time, were just as intelligent as we are. What has changed is that human expectations have become extensive and varied; we all expect to own a car and take holidays in exotic places; we expect not to have to hand-wash our clothes, or collect fuel for our fires. I remember seeing people, around 1950, going on tips of coalmine slag searching for bits of coal. “Success” in those days was not earning a bunch of pound notes – it was collecting enough coal to make a fire. 5000 years ago, people in England built Stonehenge. It is just a circle of stone pillars with ‘cross-members’ on top. Here is a pic:
I have seen it stated that some of the stones came from South Wales. Stonehenge is situated near Salisbury, some 70 miles South of London. How were those huge stones transported? A huge amount of effort must have gone into its construction, bearing in mind the rudimentary tools available at that time. BUT THEY BUILT IT! That suggest to me that there was ‘peace in the land’ at that time.
In fact, it is easy to believe that, for generations, people live in peace. It may be that ‘the dark ages’ are only ‘dark’ because there was universal peace.
I think that it was Plato, the Greek philosopher, who first proposed that the best form of Government would be ‘philosopher kings’. ‘Philosophy’ means ‘love of knowledge’, so our ‘philosophy kings’ would be clever. In fact, King Solomon, it the bible, was just such a person. He was wise.
It seems to me that, despite the rise in ‘Democracy’, we still have ‘Philosophy Kings’ running out nations – Trump in the USA, May in the UK, Merkel in Germany, Putin in Russia.
But here is the problem. Are they really ‘wise philosopher kings’ or are they charlatans?
Blair’s imposition of the smoking ban leads me to think that he in particular was a charlatan. He was boss of the Labour Party, whose supporters were the working class. He deliberately decided that it was OK to persecute the working class – those who enjoy tobacco most. It is said that he ‘agonised’ over the smoking ban. Bollocks! He and his Government enthusiastically imposed swingeing penalties on anyone who defied the law. I remember visiting a restaurant just before the ban, and the owners did not allow smoking in the dining area, but allowed it in the bar. No problem – that was their decision.
The ban was supposed to be about the health of bar/restaurant workers, but that was always a lie. Did Blair know that it was a lie? The real purpose was one step to reduce ‘smoking prevalence’. EVERYONE who worked in or visited a bar or restaurant could not smoke during the time that they were in that place. The ban on smoking in cars with children present has nothing to do with children – it is entirely to reduce places where you can smoke. And it gets crazier. The Zealots want to stop us smoking in our own cars, even it we have no children. Why? Simply to reduce our opportunities to smoke.
And that is where the idea of ‘Philosopher King’ breaks down. HIS pleasure comes from making ‘wise’ decisions; HIS PEOPLE’S pleasure comes from beer and cigs.