A villager of Dutch descent escapes his nagging wife by wandering up Kaaterskill
Clove near his home town of Palenville, New York in the Catskill Mountains.
After various adventures (in one version of the tale, he encounters the
spirits of Henry Hudson and his crew playing ninepins at the top of Kaaterskill
Falls), he settles down under a shady tree and falls asleep.
He wakes up 20 years later and returns to his village. He finds out that
his wife is dead and his close friends have died in a war or gone somewhere
else. He immediately gets into trouble when he hails himself a loyal subject
of George III, not knowing that in the meantime the American Revolution
has taken place and he is not supposed to be a loyal subject of any Hanoverian
The story has become a part of cultural mythology: even for those who
have never read the original story, "Rip Van Winkle" means a person who is
inexplicably (perhaps even blissfully) unaware of current events. That
describes Edward Bellamy fans and other modern socialists.
In 1888, this 38-year-old New Englander published Looking Backward: 2000–1887,
a Rip Van Winkle–esque novel promoting a national socialist dogma that Bellamy
called "military socialism."
Edward's cousin Francis Bellamy aided and abetted Edward by authoring the
Pledge of Allegiance, the origin of the stiff-arm salute adopted later by
the National Socialist German Workers Party. Both Bellamys influenced
the National Socialist German Workers Party and its dogma, symbols and rituals. http://rexcurry.net/pledge-allegiance-pledge-allegiance2.html
If the Bellamys had awakened in the year 2000, he would have discovered
that millions were dead in the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust
was a part): ~60 million slaughtered under the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics; ~50 million under the Peoples Republic of China; ~20 million under
the National Socialist German Workers Party. http://rexcurry.net/socialists.html
Instead, Sam Walton of Wal-mart and other capitalists had fed, clothed
and sheltered the poor of the world, while socialism had expanded the number
of poor and killed millions of them.
If, in the year 2000, Bellamy hailed himself a loyal subject of
socialism, not knowing that in the meantime the socialist Wholecaust had
taken place, he would have committed a foolish error that continues to be
committed by many American who were educated in government schools (socialist
The predominant view, until fairly recently, holds that the Republic
is Plato's statement of what the ideally best city is; the Laws, on the
other hand, describes the city that would be best, given less optimistic
assumptions about what human nature is capable of. This position has two
variants, depending on one's view of whether Plato at the time of the Republic
thought that its political program was compatible with human nature.
The Social and Political Institutions of Magnesia
This section provides a brief overview of the basic social and political
institutions of Magnesia. Magnesia will be located in a part of Crete that
has been left empty by an ancient migration and is about ten miles from
the sea. The site is basically self-sufficient in resources without having
much excess to export. Plato sees this unsuitability for active commerce
and distance from the sea as advantages: they discourage the maritime and
commercial activities that corrupt cities by fostering a love of money-making
in the citizens and by allowing close contact with foreigners who bring
innovation and have not received the good ethical education afforded to
The city will be relatively populous: its number of households is to
remain permanently at 5, 040. Immigration and emigration policies are
designed to avoid population excess and deficiency. Each household will
have an allotment consisting of two plots of land: one nearer the city's
center and one nearer its borders. Each household's allotment is intended
to be equally productive (Laws 737CE, 745CD) and to support a comfortable,
although not luxurious life for the household's members. The households
and land are not owned or farmed in common, but each shareholder must consider
his share to be at the same time the common property of the whole city (Laws
740A3-6). Part of the sense in which the lot is in common is that it is
inalienable and cannot be divided or aggregated: the assignment of the lot
to a household is intended to support the household throughout the generations.
(There are also restrictions on the use of the land. ) Further, each
household will help, out of its own resources, to fund Magnesia's system
of common meals. Plato establishes four property classes: the members
of the top or first class have assets worth between three and four times
the value of the lot (and the tools and animals needed to farm it), the
second class between two and three times this value and so on. Anything
accumulated over the highest amount will be confiscated by the city (Laws
744D-745A). Such assets do not include gold and silver, since these may
be possessed only by the city; there will be only a token currency (Laws
Many of Magnesia's inhabitants are not citizens. There is a considerable
slave population (including both public and private slaves) and they, of
course, are not citizens. Also found within the city are transient foreigners
and resident foreigners (metics) who may stay for twenty years. Slaves and
foreigners are an economic necessity for the city for they will carry on
the trading, manufacturing and menial occupations that are barred to citizens.
The lot holders or heads of households are citizens, but citizenship is
not restricted to them and owning land is not a necessary condition of citizenship.
The sons and heirs of lot holders are called “citizens” and are liable to
military service at age 20, can participate in elections at that age and
can serve in office at 30. They will not inherit the household lot, however,
until their father dies. What of women? In Magnesia, the private family
is not abolished. Although women lack an independent right to own property,
they are liable to military training and service and attend their own common
meals (Laws 780D). The Athenian holds that they can attain the four cardinal
virtues and for this reason requires that they be educated (Laws 804D-805A).
For Aristotle, women are not citizens of the ideal city, since they are excluded
from political office. But in Magnesia, women can participate in elections
and hold political office and the Athenian explicitly counts them as citizens
Let us turn to the political system or constitution (politeia) of Magnesia.
Magnesia has a rich variety of offices, but the main ones are: the Assembly
(koinos sullogos, ekklêsia), the Council (boulê), the magistrates,
especially the guardians of the laws (nomophulakes), the courts and the
Nocturnal Council (nukterinos sullogos). The Nocturnal Council is discussed
in more detail below in section 4.
The Assembly is the main electoral authority in the city; it is composed
of all citizens, or more precisely, all those who have served or are serving
in the military. The Assembly is responsible for the election of most of
the city's officers and magistrates. The other functions explicitly given
to it are
1. a role in judging offenses against the public,
2. making awards of merit,
3. extending the term of residence for metics, and
4. passing on proposed changes in the laws, at least those
regarding dances and sacrifices.
It may also have other responsibilities in connection with foreign affairs.
The Council is composed of 90 members chosen by election from each property
class for a total of 360 members. Men are eligible for office at age 30,
women at age 40. Members serve one-year terms. The Council exercises ordinary
administrative powers, such as calling and dissolving the Assembly, receiving
foreign ambassadors, supervising elections and so on.
The guardians of the laws (nomophulakes) are composed of 37 citizens,
at least fifty years of age who serve from the time of their election until
age 70 (Laws 755A). There are four ways in which the nomophulakes guard
1. Although they do not seem to have the authority to discipline
other magistrates, they are assigned the general task of supervising them
and are expected to bring appropriate cases to the attention of the proper
2. They exercise wide supervisory powers over citizens in
general and, for example, are charged with fining those who spend excessively,
granting permission to travel abroad and overseeing the care of orphans.
3. They possess various judicial functions and are in charge
of especially important or difficult cases involving the family, property
and the abuse of laws.
4. Perhaps their most important task is the revision and
supplementation of the existing laws, although the extent of revision possible
Finally, there is an extensive system of courts in Magnesia, both public
and private. One of Plato's major innovations, compared with Athenian law,
is the elaborate structure of appeals in judicial cases. It is worth noting
that Plato holds that citizens, in virtue of their standing in the political
community, may legitimately expect to have a share in the administration
of justice (Laws 767E9-768B3).
Francis Bellamy wrote the pledge and he was touting the same national socialism
as his cousin Edward Bellamy, an author of socialist novels. The Pledge was
the origin of the stiff-arm salute adopted later by the National Socialist
German Workers Party toward their flags/leaders (mimicking American socialist
behavior) and, by the way, their flag's symbol they called a Hakenkreuz (hooked
cross), not a swastika, and they used it to symbolize crossed S-letters for
"Socialism" under the National Socialist German Workers Party. All of the
above are part of the discoveries of the symbologist Dr. Rex Curry.