Sadly, this is not going to be some cool anime project I’m working on, though I’m sure someone could make it into one. Anime writers seem to love borrowing terms from Greek and Latin as much as any other group of writers.
When I use the term Megas Archon in this blog, I’m referring to the Grand Poobah, Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military force in the world, Leader of the Free World, and Chief Executive of one of the largest corporations in existence. I am of course referring to the President of the United States of America, the guy who runs the show in the land our ancestors stole from a bunch of really cool guys who were living sustainable lifestyles and killing each other arguably less often than we do today. Yep, that’s the one.
For those not familiar with Greek, the word archon is a term used for a ruler or official. Megas is an adjective indicating that said ruler is “grand” or “great”. Those, incidentally, are not adjectives I would use to describe most Presidential candidates. Presidential candidates who have a chance of winning must have massive amounts of money or influence (or both) in order to mobilize the required campaigners, acquire funding for their campaign, and meet the logistically challenging requirements to be on the ballot in each state and compete against other candidates. In essence, the requirements of gaining such power as a Presidential candidate has make it very difficult not to be focused on securing funding and power for oneself at the expense of other priorities. It is a mindset that tends to continue into a candidate’s term in office if he or she is the unlucky person voted the lesser of two evils by a deeply divided and cynical populace.
These things are true of other archons as well, which helps explain the resulting oligarchy that we have in the United States. The Iron Law of Oligarchy suggests that such a form of government is inevitable.
I disagree. While a tendency toward oligarchy will indeed exist for various reasons, it is not inevitable. It is a result of our human willingness to choose the path of least resistance, to abdicate our responsibility and power to those who are happy to use the power and not worry too much about the responsibility. We could choose not to abdicate so much of our responsibility. We could choose to use our power. We could live as free people who treat each other with dignity and respect without a variety of intelligence and law enforcement agencies checking up on us constantly. But we don’t. So many of us choose to let someone else take up the difficult burdens of leadership. So many of us are content to let someone else be responsible. So many of us are content to allow the watchers to remain unwatched.
And so the inertia of power continues to push the cart full of debt and destruction on whatever track the oligarchy has it running on while a somnambulent public either cheers the progress it is making or seeks to conserve its energy. People will be people, and Presidents will be Presidents. Even idealists like Obama are subject to immense pressures and can easily become a part of the machine they sought to destroy, often without even realizing it. Romney would not be any better, regardless of which version of him we might end up electing. He sacrificed integrity for power many years before Obama started on that same path. The addiction to power is a serious problem, no matter how good one’s intentions might be. Sometimes, the self-righteous man with good intentions is a worse tyrant than the corrupt official.
Personally, I don’t favor choosing either one as Megas Archon, though I do think the title is appropriately pretentious for tyrants who ignore the Constitution they swore to uphold and defend when it suits the inertia of their power.