Richard Bellamy’s “very short introduction” is just that, but also rather insightful. There were many things he discussed that were not to my knowledge but more than worthwhile, such as the foundations of Greek and Roman society and how they compare to modern society. In terms of the book as a whole, I found myself more or less agreeing with each of his arguments. However, this is a huge concept to unpack in 123 miniature-sized pages and I do feel that there are some conclusions that cannot be made on this topic.
The point that I found most important and most difficult to resolve is the idea of participation as a citizen. Bellamy argued that “It is through being a member of a political community and participating on equal terms in the framing of its collective life that we enjoy rights to pursue our individual lives on fair terms with others” (Bellamy 16). Though I do find this to be true, I think it is a difficult ideal to achieve. In our country’s modern society, citizens are horrible in terms of participation. Bellamy points out the root of the term ‘idiot,’ which is someone who pays no mind to the public realm. He and I both agree that the majority of citizens today are idiots in that sense of the word.
Bellamy addresses the fact that citizens in our society are completely disenchanted with politics, “Political citizenship is rejected as both too demanding and of dubious worth” (97). From my own experiences as a citizen of this society, I whole-heartedly agree with that statement. For the first election that I was eligible to vote in, my own father’s name was on the ballot. I was taking a U.S. government class in high school and our teacher had given us voter registration forms and said she’d turn them in for us. When I went to vote in the primary election, they couldn’t find my name in the system because apparently my teacher did not send in our registration forms. I did not vote in that election but registered so that I could vote as an absentee voter...
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