For MEB, forever. And Peace Liberallibbynyc, and I am sorry about any intemperance as to expression, once, and won't visit in cyberspace, or of course anywhere else, since I don't know if you are even here or in ...Argentina for all I know or care, just a mea culpa here, and may the road rise up to meet you OS, the sun always shine on your face....
As to drone strikes as assaassination and therefore dictatorship, there are concerns for the future that should there be a war that is a horrendously bad idea, but popular because misunderstood as to origins by the mass of people, that legalizing the notion of drone strikes anywhere on Earth on American citizens could be a problem as to the United States becoming a real dictatorship, mainly though for said war's predictors and/or opponents, if we are hardly there yet, nor is that very likely.
Hard cases also make bad law.
There is still plenty enough of information for people to draw their own conclusions, nor is there any reason to believe that otherwise will be the case.
If the Internet was banned, that would be more concerning than taking away guns in my view, or even if past translations of works were altered and/or made unavailable, as so long as that is the case, people can judge, and speak.
Whether anyone listens is of course another story, but then no government is perfect, made of men as Madison said, not angels.
As to the title, Athens executed Socrates on a majority vote, a drone strike of sorts, and it remained very much a Democracy, not a dictatorship.
We chose differently to protect speech by and large, if we ostracize those who speak differently than our social subset, as to the limitations of speech even with an amendment.
As to the democratic character of Socrates death, his existence was found by the majority to be incompatible with theirs at that time and place, and so they ordered his death or exile. He chose death, because he accepted that he was not a dictator as to the choices, and was loyal to his country among the two.
He accepted that sentence wisely and with equanimity, expressed so timelessly in Apology and Crito as to his political justification for chosing death over exile.
As to the contemporary risks and drone strikes, all governments having their risks, the real danger of becoming a real dictatorship in the United States even then will really not be because of drone strikes per se, but because of something Alexis DeTocqueville warned about as a feature of American like, if it happens in all societies, dictatorship or not, like with Socrates: social ostracism.
"No man can be happy alone, lest he be a wild beast or God, for man is a social animal." Aristotle.
This is why social ostracism is always the most powerful means of social control, because human beings are not wild beasts or gods, and therefore go mad if ostracized sufficiently.
Since that can happen in all societies, that cannot be said to be undemocratic per se, nor dictatorial per se.
Think about that when you see homeless people, however, and have some pity, as sometimes that's really who they were, like in the movie The Fisher King.Maybe they just never quite fit in anywhere, maybe because of just poor reading of man as a social animal, possibly the main issue with the schizophrenics, who of course are not a small percentage of the homeless.
There is also so much social diversity in the United States that one can avoid that in the vast majority of cases, and so we remain free, not living in a dictatorship.
You also can't escape that problem, of some people not fitting in to where they are perceived to belong, or the problems of envy or rivalry resulting in some people's destruction, all the sins of the world, whatever the form of government, as that's just life.
Democracy or not, that is life as to not conforming enough.
That is the human condition in any society, democracy or not, if sometimes in that cirumstance, perhaps just spelling out a little more clearly what people want solves lot of problems, "Shut up" being high on that list.
If enough people say that, one should listen, or that makes you the would-be dictator.
That is somewhat harsh as to making people do things that they don't want to do at times, but, in the grand scheme of things, it cannot be said to be unfair, or even unfree, as life is a game of musical chairs, democracy or dictatorship, Capitalism or Socialism.
As to the limits of freedom everywhere, democracies included, the Soviet Union's dissidents weren't in fact always good people at all, but like everywhere, in many cases, like everywhere, people who just didn't fit in to the social order, or their little subset of that, and democracy or dictatorship, there is always a social order.
Man is a social animal. No man can be happy alone, lest he be a wild beast or god.
The alternative to a social order is not freedom but chaos, if some social orders are freer than others too, like democracies with free speech and elections.
The vast, vast majority of the American people have access to competing views in the United States, and so we are free enough as compared to the other possible alternatives, which therefore means we remain a democracy, and can keep it, especially if we are respectful of opposing opinions.
Athens executed Socrates on a majority vote, and it remained very much a democracy, their version of a drone strike.
Fortunately in the United States, we mainly merely ostracize.
If Socrates had gone to Sparta, his preferred form of government, and given a mortal rival advice, to the extent that it was effective, that would have justified a drone strike as well, depending of course mainly on Spartan reaction, not any rights of Socrates.
Socrates was unable to find a safe place in Athens because he did not refrain from repeatedly mocking opinions that were the majority opinion, and because he demonstrated his opinion in a way others found disrespectful.That made him at least as intolerant as the majority, and in the context of those times a de-stabilizing influence.
Executing him on a majority vote was many things, but undemocratic was not one of them, and he accepted that with equanimity.
Toleration of dissent and disagreeing opinions as a species we are not very good at of course, but then that is why a democracy/republic like we have is a good if fairly novel form of government, historically speaking, like Franklin said, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
People who's opinions are unpopular can take up other activities too, if necessary, merely emailing one's opinions to oneself.
That is still freedom.
If the State ordered one to leave, and was killed by that State if one influenced a government overseas in ways thought dangerous, or if said State ordered one to a certain death combat situation, in neither case would one be unfree so long nor would that be a dictatorship as long as that was a some process that the majority of the Democracy accepted.
That is just as if the State ordered one to leave on a majority vote, or face death, one is not unfree, like Socrates.
He could have shut up a long time before it came to that.
Socrates set a good example in regards to the real and unavoidable issue of majority rule and minority opinion in the Apology and especially in the Crito, no matter the form of government, and Athens was very clearly a democracy.
He was free to leave, and chose not to, and accepted the metaphorical drone strike.
Moreover, if he had proceeded to Sparta, and had advised the Spartans how to wage war on his own country, would not the Assembly have been justified in calling in a drone strike, especially the more and more as it was more and more the case that his advice was effective?
Hard cases make bad law, and all societies have to have social rules which always restrict some people's freedom a good bit, because the alternative would be chaos.
The Condorcet Paradox proves this point, if Socrates identified the issue long, ong ago, as to its timelessness.
"I only wish, Crito, that they could; for then they could also
do the greatest good, and that would be well. But the truth is, that
they can do neither good nor evil: they cannot make a man wise or make
him foolish; and whatever they do is the result of chance." Crito, earliest version of Condorcet result about majority rule as to randomness being an isomorphism to cycles. There is nothing new under the Sun.
Executing such a person would not be unjust if done by majority vote or by some process by representatives of majority vote's consequences, nor could it be said to be a dictatorship.
We of course chose differently as to just speech, for good reasons, but it cannot be said either that what happened to Socrates was unjust, nor did he see it that way either.
Would it not be a rare case that there existed a person who other states would regard as a super weapon, to be used against his own country, if who was hated by his fellow countrymen as to the exile, and again who's presence in other states in fact would be extremely dangerous to their home state, say because of strategic mind, like say John Nash?
Would not a drone strike on such a person actually be justified, and not limit the freedom of others?
I think so.
Would not Athens have been justified if Socrates had gone to Sparta and waged war against the democracy?
I think so.
That's also not very likely, if it wouldn't be very fun to be that person either, as it would mean all friends and family in their native country had abandoned them, but then if one just reads the Apology, that would provide comfort as to it just being one of those weird cases in life, not something to lose sleep over, and in fact a good cautionary tale as to the need for all people to conform to their situation rather a lot.
Man is a social animal. No man can be happy alone, lest he be a wild beast or a god.
As to what is then really at issue with drone strikes as to assassination and dictatorship, to date, the Obama Administration has used them to kill Americans in the presence of known al Qaeda representatives.
Since we are at war with al Qaeda, or have at least authorized the use of force against al Qaeda by Congressional resolution, one could in fact merely call in a drone strike on the notion that there existed an Al Qaeda target, the nationality of the target being unimportant.
That is always done in wars, of every state.
What some might really object to is then how that notion could be applied in other wars, say for example against Marxist-Leninist or de facto White Supremacist revolutionaries, the most likely cases for the United States.
Let us say for example the Occupy Wall Street had become a violent revolutionary movement, blowing up banks, or that White Supremacists left the country and/or seceded to take up arms against a government they thought run by Marxist-Leninists.
Would that be just to call in drone strikes on such people organizing the violent overthrow of the American government under our Consitutional order?
Was Lincoln justified in using force to return the Southern states to the Union?
Were the FBI and local law enforcement justified in harassing people working for the Soviet Union's foreign policy as part of KGB operations to overthrow the American government and make it submit to the will of Moscow, even if they just thought they meant well, and weren't even paid or formal agents of the KGB, just agents of its influence?
I think so.
Those are not fun choices, and yes in fact, you do become more like your enemy in the process, but who's fault is that for not playing by the rules and results of our Constitutional order in the first place?
In conclusion, was Socrates wrong to say in terms of the following defense in the Crito of taking the hemlock instead of the proffered exile, free to leave, and instead peaceably accepting the drone strike:
Then consider the matter in this way: Imagine that I am about
to play truant (you may call the proceeding by any name which you
like), and the laws and the government come and interrogate me:
"Tell us, Socrates," they say; "what are you about? are you going by
an act of yours to overturn us- the laws and the whole State, as far
as in you lies? Do you imagine that a State can subsist and not be
overthrown, in which the decisions of law have no power, but are set
aside and overthrown by individuals?" What will be our answer,
Crito, to these and the like words? Anyone, and especially a clever
rhetorician, will have a good deal to urge about the evil of setting
aside the law which requires a sentence to be carried out; and we
might reply, "Yes; but the State has injured us and given an unjust
sentence." Suppose I say that?
Cr. Very good, Socrates.
Soc. "And was that our agreement with you?" the law would sar, "or
were you to abide by the sentence of the State?" And if I were to
express astonishment at their saying this, the law would probably add:
"Answer, Socrates, instead of opening your eyes: you are in the
habit of asking and answering questions. Tell us what complaint you
have to make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy
us and the State? In the first place did we not bring you into
existence? Your father married your mother by our aid and begat you.
Say whether you have any objection to urge against those of us who
regulate marriage?" None, I should reply. "Or against those of us
who regulate the system of nurture and education of children in
which you were trained? Were not the laws, who have the charge of
this, right in commanding your father to train you in music and
gymnastic?" Right, I should reply. "Well, then, since you were brought
into the world and nurtured and educated by us, can you deny in the
first place that you are our child and slave, as your fathers were
before you? And if this is true you are not on equal terms with us;
nor can you think that you have a right to do to us what we are
doing to you. Would you have any right to strike or revile or do any
other evil to a father or to your master, if you had one, when you
have been struck or reviled by him, or received some other evil at his
hands?- you would not say this? And because we think right to
destroy you, do you think that you have any right to destroy us in
return, and your country as far as in you lies? And will you, O
professor of true virtue, say that you are justified in this? Has a
philosopher like you failed to discover that our country is more to be
valued and higher and holier far than mother or father or any
ancestor, and more to be regarded in the eyes of the gods and of men
of understanding? also to be soothed, and gently and reverently
entreated when angry, even more than a father, and if not persuaded,
obeyed? And when we are punished by her, whether with imprisonment
or stripes, the punishment is to be endured in silence; and if she
leads us to wounds or death in battle, thither we follow as is
right; neither may anyone yield or retreat or leave his rank, but
whether in battle or in a court of law, or in any other place, he must
do what his city and his country order him; or he must change their
view of what is just: and if he may do no violence to his father or
mother, much less may he do violence to his country." What answer
shall we make to this, Crito? Do the laws speak truly, or do they not?