nothing to watch, and you can do what you hke with therncountry.”rnThere have been elite classes that were up to the job: clanrnchieftains, medieval barons, the senatorial and equestrian aristocracyrnthat did the real work of governing Rome in its greatrndays. But there are obvious drawbacks to an upper class thatrnis defined by men like Periander, Cesare Borgia, or WilliamrnJefferson Clinton.rnHow does a people go about getting rid of a tyrant or a degeneraternruling class? Opposition to tyrants does not, for thernmost part, come from the people themselves but from aristocratsrnwho envy the Leader’s power and have suffered from hisrndepredations. To succeed, the rival aristocrats must be able tornpass themselves off as legitimate representatives of the popularrnwill. Washington and Jefferson, although they were far fromrnbeing “men of the people,” were, nonetheless, only a higher expressionrnof the character and qualities of Virginia farmers. IfrnJefferson had really been the Enlightened Francophile thatrnConor Cruise O’Brien has portrayed, he could never have beenrnelected governor of Virginia, much less President of the UnitedrnStates. Today, the ruling elite looks down upon the people as arnrace of serfs and helots. This disdain is understandable in suchrnforeign masters as Rupert Murdoch, George Soros, andrnMadeleine Albright, but even our native sons and daughtersrnwho come to power can barely disguise their contempt for thernMiddle American helots who hew their wood and draw theirrnwater. When Mrs. Clinton tells us she knows how to rear ourrnchildren better than we do, half the population rises to its feetrnto applaud her generous condescension.rnRepublican Americans are groaning under the tyranny of thernmodern state, but they have failed to produce the leadershiprnthat can overthrow the regime. If we give up on the fictions ofrndemocracy and republican independence—as I fear we must,rnso long as the government can keep this continental empire inrnone piece—then we are going to have to do something aboutrnreplacing the alienated, vulgar, self-indulgent degenerates whornare not content with owning and managing the country but insistrnupon interfering in our private life to an extent undreamedrnof by ancient tyrants and emperors. Nero was popular with thernmasses, whom he flattered and left alone; it was only the peoplernunlucky enough to be in his social set that he preyed upon.rnWe, however, are all in the same boat, because in reconstructingrnthe American republic as a democracy resting on the popularrnwill, we have invested the “modern prince” with the ultimaternpower to decide questions of good and evil, life and death.rnIf Nero was a tyrant, we may need a new word to describe therndespotic democrats who rule over modern states.rnIn the days when the word “tyrant” first made its appearancernin the ancient world, the Spartans distinguished themselvesrnby opposing these demagogic leaders who spoke for the people.rnThe Spartan commonwealth was, at least in its best days, a disciplinedrnrepublic, whose citizens enjoyed more “democratic”rnprivileges than any citizen body in history (with the usualrncaveat that citizenship did not extend to women, slaves, helots,rnaliens, non-Spartan perioeci).rnEverything in the so-called Lycurgan constitution was designedrnto prevent the emergence of any social or political distinctionrnwhich could serve as the basis of personal rule. Therntwo kings, of different lineages, were kept in line by the ephors;rnthe ostentatious display of wealth was curbed both by restrictionsrnon money and by the requirement that adult males dinerntogether in common messes.rnMore important than Sparta’s sumptuary restrictions was thernsystem of education, the agoge. Sparta was one of the fewrncountries of the world, ancient or modern, that based citizenshiprnnot merely on the facts of descent, class, and wealth, butrnalso on the compulsory training given to future citizens. A noblernSpartan who did not undergo the agoge could not enjoy thernprivileges of citizenship, whereas foreigners (like Xenophon’srnsons) who survived the ordeal may have been eligible. EvenrnSpartans who completed their education could lose their statusrnfor failing to live in the Spartan manner or for displaying cowardice,rnbecause the object of the agoge was not so much knowledgernor mental agility—though a certain wit and “laconic” stylernwas highly prized—as it was character. Xenophon, the Athenian-rnborn mercenary and writer who went to live in Sparta, emphasizesrnrepeatedly that the purpose of Spartan training was torninculcate both shame and obedience, and the Spartan entriesrnin any good encyclopedia of antiquities are filled with anecdotesrnand proverbs illustrating the self-discipline of Spartanrncitizens.rnCritics of Sparta have objected that once they got off thernfarm, Spartan leaders like Pausanias (the victor at Plataea) andrnClearchus (the mercenary commander who accompanied thernyounger Cyrus in his bid for the Persian throne) turned intornmoney-grubbing tyrants. The criticism is valid but not entirelyrnfair. How many successful leaders, once they have brokenrnfree from the restrictive customs and sense of shame imposedrnby small-town life, succeed in holding on to their virtue? Inrn20th-century American history, Frank Capra’s Jeff Smithrncomes to mind, and for real-life examples we have to turn tornGeorge Washington, John Adams, and General Lee. ThernAthenians had little to brag about in the character of theirrngreatest leaders—the double-dealing con-artist Themistocles,rnthe dictator Pericles, and that thoroughgoing scoundrelrnAlcibiades. The really remarkable thing is not the number ofrnSpartans who failed to resist temptation “once they had seenrnSardis,” but the number who remained, like King Leonidas andrnhis band of 300, “obedient to the commands of the Spartans”rnuntil death.rnThe lesson taught by the Spartans (and by the Romans ofrnthe early Republic) is that a responsible elite class can only berncreated by an education that forms the temper as well as thernmind. As Francis Bacon put it in his essay on “Custom and Education”:rnCustom is the principal magistrate of man’s life…. mostrnperfect when it beginneth in young years: this we call education,rnwhich is, in effect, but an early custom… . Certainlyrnthe great multiplication of virtues upon human naturernresteth upon societies well ordained and disciplined.rnDifferent societies have handled this problem in differentrnways. In Europe, the son of a knight or nobleman was frequentlyrnsent as a page to another court, where he would not bernspoiled by his own family, and English boarding schools, for allrntheir vices, gave England an elite class capable of governing anrnempire. The apprenticeship of young workers, apart fromrnteaching the boys a trade and establishing family alliances, alsornserved to avoid spoiling the boys who might grow up to be merchantrnprinces.rnAny sensible businessman who made his money the hardrnway is worried about what will happen to his own sons whorn12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn