The Pirate Republic - A worthy democratic experiment?

Aug 2012
1,554
So, I've recently been researching about the age of piracy. And whilst there is a lot I don't know yet, and I'm sure a lot of you guys are more learned on the subject, what interested me was how they attempted to establish their own state in Nassau.
I would be interested to hear your opinions of it, and if you think their model of government, in which their leaders were elected by popular vote, was in any way an admirable attempt at democracy in an age where such ideas were not exactly the norm in many countries. Or does their lifestyle of pillaging and warfare negate any good qualities their republic may have possessed?
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Or does their lifestyle of pillaging and warfare negate any good qualities their republic may have possessed?
Yes, this is correct. You can have the best government structure in the world, but if your primary source of income is from piracy, which has with it the inevitable violence of rape, murder and pillage, then these people should not be help up as role models. There is a violent way to go about democracy, and a mostly non-violent way, and the pirates thought the former was perfectly acceptable. It's also not as if semi-representative government didn't exist in the 18th century before the American Revolution; Great Britain, the Netherlands and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth all had their own unique versions of it, the former two being world-leaders in democratic and progressive thought that influenced countless future republics.
 
Mar 2018
786
UK
Why can something not have good and bad qualities simultaneously? You can admire one quality in a group of people while simultaneously disdain another.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
You can have the best government structure in the world, but if your primary source of income is from piracy, which has with it the inevitable violence of rape, murder and pillage, then these people should not be help up as role models.
Nitpicking (but not that much): states (sometimes "more than honourable') perpretated violence, rape, murder, pillage.

The difference sometimes is just semantic: it isn't called "piracy", but "state interest", "for the good of the nation", "God wils it" and so forth. In some way, the "pirate state" was more honest: it named what it did as such, not hidding behind "noble concepts".

On the other hand, it's almost shocking to see how some features (like social security, equal rights, if not even positive discrimination for handicapped persons, etc.) were practiced a couple of centuries before "normal states" adopted them.
 
Feb 2019
833
Pennsylvania, US
Though I'd prefer to hold to WhatAnArtist's ideals / perspective, there is something to be said for the fact that many "virtuous" governments were no better in terms of harming the weaker members of their own population. Nothing is more terrifying that those sort of "God wills it" type of statements mentioned by Deaf Tuner. It seems especially heinous to turn against a certain social strata/fringe group within your own citizenry... whereas it seems somewhat less awful to move against some "other" target... In some way, it is 10x more offensive to champion equality for all and yet be underhandedly denying the rights of some... there is something to be said for being a rogue with no other pretense. ;)

Just quickly reading a bit about it, this Pirate Republic it seems like they had a code of equality within it's own ranks that was ahead of it's time...