Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kritarchy

Davi Barker looks to a land that "happens to be the quintessential image of extreme poverty and feuding warlords for most people" but at the same time "has improved by virtually every measure of standard of living without a state, or when compared to its neighbors that still have a state" — The Law According To The Somalis. "As Africa explodes into populist movements demanding Western-style democracy,
the author suggests "that a superior indigenous alternative is nestled right in their backyard."

Kritarchy, a term the article taught me and which is used to describe modern-day Somalia, "refers to the rule of judges (Hebrew: שופטים‎, shoftim) in ancient Israel during the period of time described in the Book of Judges." Frank Chodorov's classic piece on the transition from the rule of judges to kings comes to mind — What Samuel Said about Solomon. Here is the prophet's answer to the people's request to "make us a king, to judge us, as all nations have," as quoted in First Book Of Kings (1 Samuel):
    This will be the right of the king, that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and put them in his chariots, and will make them his horsemen, and his running footmen to run before his chariots, [12] And he will appoint of them to be his tribunes, and centurions, and to plough his fields, and to reap his corn, and to make him arms and chariots. [13] Your daughters also he will take to make him ointments, and to be his cooks, and bakers. [14] And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your best oliveyards, and give them to his servants. [15] Moreover he will take the tenth of your corn, and of the revenues of your vineyards, to give his eunuchs and servants.

    [16] Your servants also and handmaids, and your goodliest young men, and your asses he will take away, and put them to his work. [17] Your flocks also he will tithe, and you shall be his servants. [18] And you shall cry out in that day from the face of the king, whom you have chosen to yourselves. and the Lord will not hear you in that day, because you desired unto yourselves a king.

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