Ancient Sparta – Executive Summary

  1. Sparta was a caste-based society somewhat like apartheid South Africa or 2000 Israel/Palestine, with some of Cold War East Germany mixed in too.
  2. The top caste enjoyed democracy. The others didn't (with varying degrees of how bad it got).
  3. Actually the governental setup contained elements of democracy, monarchy, and aristocracy all at once, with a lot of "checking and balancing" built in.
  4. The democratic part was based on continuum range voting.
  5. For the caste it was designed to work for, this governmental setup did work well. In fact, it was arguably the most successful substantially-democratic government in history for the people it was designed to be successful for: it lasted longer than any other (somewhere between 580 and 1040 years) despite many external enemies and dangers, plus a social setup that would seem inherently unstable and sick.
  6. Should we dismiss Sparta (and/or dismiss range voting) because Spartan society contained a lot of (to modern eyes) disagreeable features? No. We should learn what we can from it. As far as I can tell, Sparta had its problems, but range voting was not one of them.
    If you disagree, then ask yourself: should we dismiss the whole idea of democracy just because Athens had a lot of disagreeable features?

Far more details

The Spartan range voting process

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