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Squid #86
(published Early, 2002)
Ask The Giant Squid: A Republic of Squid, not Men
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Dear Giant Squid:

I've been poring (ain't that a funny word) over the history of public education, nobody's business why. When did the good citizens of the U.S. start refering to their government/society as a "democracy" rather than a "republic"? I assume the why to that question is up to supposition, but knowing the date would be helpful in my plot to overthrough the aged of our nation.

Carnal Spider

My Dearest Spiderella Carnalicus:

For many, the answer to this question hides amongst the hillocks of history.

For to start, it is best noted that many a scholar of politics forges the distinction— significant, though often obfuscated— amongst the "democracy direct" and the "democracy indirect." In the former, each and every citizen speaks for him/her/itself on every matter, great and small, in the manner of "one entity, one vote." In the latter, the citizen-creatures choose representative, to whom they cede much, if not all, of their political decision making power. The latter democracy is thus frequently called a "representational democracy." The most detail-oriented of politico-mumblers, theororists and armchair oligarchs, however, quip that the only democracy is the democarcy direct— we have another term altogether for the farse that is democarcy inderect/representational, and this is "republic."

The earliest distinctions amongst the many ways to rule were explored by marlins, although many a sea-horse and echinoderm has been wont to argue that it was truly the walrus or sea-lion who first brought discourse-of-governance to the fore. Of course, the first surface-dwellers to explore the manifold manners of rule were the squirrels and chipped-monks— oh venerable and wise chipped-monks, always rapt in their hyperkinetic mediations on the Nature of Am and Are.

It was from these monastic chippers that the Rooks, with their parliament, learned.

The earliest human talk of democracies was taken to pen-and-papyrus by the ancient and much vaunted pedarast Aristotle. In his thoroughly overrated Politics(please, hand to me any day the starfishes' "Ruminations on Pentaverate Order" before handing my such primate-gibberish paper as Aristotle the Bunghollerro's "Politics"), Aristotle distinguished among a finite set of systems governmental, forming divisions based upon the the number of individuals or groups wielding power and whether such rule was just or unjust. He labelled the unjust and tyrannical rule-by-the-everyonne as demokratia (id est "democracy," for the slower members of Team Giant Squid Readership), and a just system of rule-by-the-everyone as politeia, commonly translated to the English as republic (this, quixotically, arrising from the Latin res publica, or 'thing public'). Aristotle Boyhump's demokratia was quite obviously what some would call "democracy direct" while his politeia is in essence that ole bane, the democracy-that-is-not-democracy, "democracy indirect and representational."

Curiously (for humans have never written an endeavour which was short on charming curiosities,) even Aristotle's demokratia lacked not elected offices. In point of facts, these officials were selected by random lot (a feature common to Greek city-states, though not approved by Aristotle and sadly absent from contemporary world politics.)

But where, how, does us bring this to, questionward? Well, we should be not surprised that those devotees of Neo-Classical architecture and teenage buggery, the Found Your Fathers of these Great United States, were great admirers of Aristotle (both in and out of the sack, HA HA HA), and arranged their notions of government much along his, lauding the "republic" as the only fair methodology of a people rolling themselves (as the republic alone can protect the individual from the Tyrannous Majority.) A democracy (by which they meant "democracy direct") could only result in slaughter, as far as they could tell.

So then, I find we dwell in agreement, Carnal Spider: How is it that a nation founded specifically in the great notion that "democracy" is tyrannical and slaughterbound, while "republicanism" is just and fair, could in but 226 years convince itself that "republicanism" is the pit of elitist scorn-for-common-man, while "democracy" is the great pinnacle of this nations Imperialist Yawp, while still in point of the fact remaining to opperate as a Republic?

Quoth Devo "What up with that? Shit's wack!"

Yes, Readership, wack indeed it is.

Yours, with great love,

The Giant Squid


I am very tired.


The answer is, June 8th, 1845. Andrew Jackson, supine on his death-bed, the thirty year old bullet wound wheezing and infected on his aged chest, whispered to me as I wiped sweat from his Hickorian brow:

"Martha," the fool was blind at that point and called me Martha, which I felt no need to correct, "we'll topple this Republic. Polk'll take Texas and Democracy'll flourish 'cross the land."

And he gave me a golden apple. It was warm enough that I could feel it through my cast-iron anti-bathosphere.

I am very very tired.


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