… and now in 2017, we have Trump, the very culmination of Plato’s warnings. If everyone were engaged in the complex and difficult taskof politics, little time or energy would be left for the otheressential tasks … No other nation can seem to copy the USA. 2017. At the end of the First World War, a condition for armistice decreed that Kaiser Wilhelm was to give up his monarchy. Suggesting that the state should wield such control over the livelihoods of its citizens is an affront to human liberty as we understand it now. The new democratic constitution with its expanded bill of rights was one of the most progressive in the world. "Plato S Arguments Against Democracy" Essays and Research Papers . Plato’s critique of democracy is that democracy does not place a premium on wisdom and knowledge seeking as an inherent good, much like timocracy and oligarchy. His attempt to separate ruling and wealth and to establish economic floors and ceilings for his ideal city seems especially instructive in view of problems in these areas that modern democracies have experienced. A calamity at the very heart of democracy, it would lead only to tyranny and subjugation. And so the democratic leaders will unnecessarily become involved in violent affairs, creating wars to distract the people. As well as being symbolic of Athens’ treatment of Socrates, it suggests that knowledgeable leadership cannot survive in democracy as it will be ‘warped and estranged’ by the need to remain popular. Everything is full of the spirit of liberty and even animals walk the streets with rights. Here became the Weimar Republic. As he returns to the cave to reveal this, he is met with violent rage. Once we have tasted freedom we become drunk off it. But this is not quite what the great philosopher had in mind. And before you decide to judge the philosopher Plato, try to remember that he is often considered one of the wisest men to ever live; an individual whose work was so profound that it shaped the direction of western thought and culture. But interestingly, one of the wisest people who ever lived, Socrates, had deep suspicions of it. This essay examines the Republic’s most important argument against democracy, and claims that it remains, even amidst the dominance of democratic theory, a powerful critique not only of Athenian democracy but also of representative democracy. Although some of the thoughts are reflective of “The Republic”, to get to the bottom of Plato and Socrates’ concerns for their concept of democracy, is that democracy (by its definition “the great experiment”) can not survive as it is fundamentally flawed in theory by the greater growing demands of individual needs, small groups and expectations of repairations or entitlements. Not without difference, or discussion for what is best for the nation but the willingness to put ego aside and make the laws to keep this nation whole. cbafgbecfafe. Historians have offered a number of explanations as to why it failed. A true philosopher is someone that is in love with knowledge and the search for true reality. Brains lived. Collectively they had no desire to end the captivity of Africans. Elected by the people, yet now he is protected from them. God Bless all who live in this great land. Instead, democracy suffers from the failures of the aforementioned systems insofar as it prioritizes wealth and property accumulation as the highest good. Just as 'monarchy' means 'rule by the monarch', 'democracy' means 'rule by the demos '. Democracy is a mob rule, rule by the lowest common denominator. If WE THE PEOPLE do nothing to repeal the Electoral College then WE are the problem and deserve what we get. Our apologies, you must be logged in to post a comment. It was so easy to depose their predecessors, so why not them? Plato’s Republic is written in a series of dialogues in which Socrates is given a starring role — Socrates himself never wrote his work down. Thank God for our Forefathers meaningful, deep, reflective thoughts, Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, students of Socrates, those who did not have TV news, who actually had original thoughts. That is why they believed a democratic Republic was the best government. This new form of government empowered the common citizen in ways that were unheard of. Plato’s and Hegel’s shared arguments against democracy It is important to first recognize what Plato’s and Hegel’s target is when they criticize democracy: Athenian democracy.18 Neither is considering liberal democracy and, in fact, I believe that many 17 See Hegel, PR, §273R. How sad for us, how very, very sad. It is a nigh time that we shall stop heading to democracy and start reverting to a full republic. Plato fails to condemn the institution of slavery and regard it as fundamental evil, which reflects the social construct in neighboring Sparta — a militaristic oligarch with a large serf populous. Plato predicted that democracy would lead to nations being governed by bullies and brutes. (Plato, Republic, 282) Plato's opposition to democracy exploits another apparent tension within democratic theory. Plato theorized that democracies would eventually become so bad that the people themselves would demand that a dictator come and save them. And the next time we celebrate the 4th of July, keep in mind that a far wiser man than any of us once called to our attention the unavoidable and disastrous nature of the pursuit of liberty. Americans should read their true history. (250 words) - INSIGHTS, Inclusivity: The possible dream - Moneyweb, The Fragility of Democracy: Athens and the Thirty Tyrants | Classical Wisdom Weekly, EP 3: It's an AfterMath - Economics Design, Plato And Hobbes: On the Revolutions during Arab Spring | Vidhi Legal, Antigone: Democracy vs. Authoritarianism | Classical Wisdom Weekly, Top Ten: Most Terrifying Monsters Of Greek Mythology, Five Reasons Why Socrates Was A Terrible Husband, Prometheus The Creation of Man and a History of Enlightenment. Plato was repulsed by his city’s failure to benefit from Socrates and the execution influenced his conclusion that democracy is antithetical to philosophy. Consequently, governance of a smaller population enabled more ‘direct’ forms of democracy rather than the ‘representative’ forms accorded by contemporary constitutions. Plato's main grievance with democratic culture is the notion that an ill-informed … The American people did not heed their warning and opted for democracy and now have oppressive laws, regulations, taxes and maximal surveillance, unjust foreign wars and every evil Plato and the founders warned us about. All Rights Reserved. These men were tried and executed one after another until only one remained. Instead, we should seek out only the most knowledgeable candidate as it is he who holds the required expertise. An article from the Economist claims that populations have turned on autocrats for good reason: Democracies are on average richer than non-democracies, are less likely to go to war and have a better record of fighting corruption. Only in the past few decades were we electing the Senators. Women were not allowed to vote and subsequently possessed significantly fewer rights than men. A vexing problem of democratic theory has been to determine whetherordinary citizens are up to the task of governing a large society.There are three distinct problems here. It is understandable why Plato would despise democracy, considering that his friend and mentor, Socrates, was condemned to death by the policy makers of Athens in 399 BCE. He has already dealt with the Oligarchic society and character and now moves onto Democracy and … I wonder what Plato, and Socrates, would think of how well, or not so well, Democracy is working today. Plato and Socrates saw pure democracy as a horror where anyone could end up ruling the people, if they … We are certainly not a democracy. He initially criticises the imperfect society as a whole, before leading onto a criticism of any given individual within that society; the imperfect character. The Covid crisis has brought what Plato talked about in the Republic to life. He called those able people “Philosopher Kings”: philosopher king | philosophy. Lange (1939) uses Plato’s personal experiences to explain his reasons against democracy, for example he lived through the apparent ‘enlightened democracy’, actually considered dictatorship of Pericles and that democracy had basically killed his inspiration of Socrates. reasons for criticizing democratic theory are not as clearly agreed upon, except in very broad outline: he thinks that democracy prizes freedom far too much and knowledge far too little. More fundamentally, democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s futures. They created this not so perfect but an amazing nation we call home. Ancient Greece is famed for both it’s democracy and philosophy. But rather than denunciating these substantive realities, the great philosopher was concerned this society would cause a greater conflict; a political conflict yielding hunger for a single, strong leader — a tyrant. Yet, we are allowed to doubt him if we wish. For those of you saying that the democracy is all that we have that is not true. During the course of his writings Plato differentiates between necessary desires and unnecessary desires. Donald Trump’s ascent to power appears indicative of this revolt against libertarian politics that yearns for strong leadership, in light of these insights in Book VIII of ‘The Republic’. That so many people in so many different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for this idea is testimony to its enduring appeal”. Unnecessary desires are desires that we are able to overcome, yet refuse to. It is understandable why Plato would despise democracy, considering that his friend and mentor, Socrates, was condemned to death by the policy makers of Athens in 399 BCE. Historically, the most famous demise from a democracy into tyranny happened in Germany between the First and Second World Wars. So maybe not so wise in all respects. These men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 were “not” the founding fathers of a nation but founders of a nation of selected people.. In Plato’s ideal state, groups are divided into their social utilities such as a warrior population and an agricultural population, without the ability to willfully change professions. He will make soldiers of the slaves and the degenerates. Plato was against democracy. To ensure their power, the leaders will create laws to bolster their position. The Otherwise the description of our lessons learned from Plato was most impressive. Plato and Sidney. During this time of violent transition, the people will rally behind one man, or a few men, whom they believe to be their savior. The first, rather obvious, strike against Athenian democracy is that there was a tendency for people to be casually executed. We’re used to thinking hugely well of democracy. First, Plato(Republic, Book VI) argued that some people are moreintelligent and more moral than others and that those persons ought torule. All citizens (with the pertinent qualification of their being free men) were permitted the opportunity of equal political participation: Important decisions were made by the assembly, where each citizen had the right to speak and the majority of offices were assigned by lot. The German Reichstag assumed the responsibility and offered to usher in a democracy, fearful of the rising communist appetite. When the smoke clears the old regime will be gone and a democracy will be supplanted. Athens is a city-state, while today we are familiar with the primary unit of governance operating nationwide. Plato would likely attribute this despotism to the hysteria surrounding the Hindu nationalist stance that has delivered Modi two convincing victories at the ballot box. Probably 2500 years ago Plato put down these pieces of great value, and today we are seeing the filthiest democracies. up was not so revolutionary. Plato believed that expertise is the critical attribute of a leader; He criticizes democracy of seldom producing such characters. (Image: wikimedia / … © 2021 Classical Wisdom Limited. … And now he is a tyrant, the leader has no choice if he wishes to rule. Could it be true that our leaders are the bullies and the political tyrants that Plato describes? Socrates was largely a nonentity in Athenian public life but he was an enthralling character who dedicated his life to conversations with promising young men and leading intellectuals. Indeed, it has been said that any philosophy after Plato can only be considered a footnote on any of his work. Plato correctly predicated this is a democracy governed by the wealthy and the rich where the poor remain poor and slavery is entrenched within the very laws and fabric of a democracy. During the Peloponnesian war, the ten treasurers of the Delian League were accused of embezzling funds from the Athenian treasury. In the good old USA a President is elected not by the majority of the voters. At this point, the newly appointed leaders become very nervous. A carefully selected elite should have a broad education in philosophy, history and political science. For those that can not see Plato’s foresight, please delve deeper. Plato’s ‘Republic’ is widely acknowledged as the cornerstone of Western philosophy and the first great examination of political life. Although plato was right, agreed but democracy remains the adorable and acceptable form of government. Despite this, the seminal Greek philosopher Plato was much opposed to his city’s democratic governance. Rather ironically, that is a freedom we are allowed. Not a word about repealing this outdated and archaic part of our constitution. The American founding fathers gave us an aristocratic Republic and warned us against democracy (mob rule). In 2018, Freedom in the World recorded the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. One example is the famous Athenian general and statesman. We all know what happened next. And if we are to think in this manner, then perhaps democracy is simply the least damaging form of government we have been able to create over the course of human existence. Individuals not from aristocracy, yet who possessed political ambition, often found themselves hoisted to the highest ranks of Athenian politics. And are the people so subjugated by senseless laws and stiff taxes, that they are unable to resist in any meaningful way? But what is the demos? Plato predicts that this tyrant will appeal to the lowest form of citizen. It is for this reason that there must always be some enemy combatant that the leader can cast blame upon. We have universal voting rights, but the popular vote does not determine the presidency (see Al Gore), Very energetic blog, I enjoyed that a lot. He contests that in order to select the appropriate captain, a popular vote is ineffective because people can be swayed by characteristics as irrelevant as their appearance. The first, rather obvious, strike against Athenian democracy is that there was a tendency for people to be casually executed. The powerful and wealthiest rule. But it was not only his life that had an extraordinary impact on Plato; but also his death. Instead, it was left to the ordinary citizen to bring indictments, act as jurors, and deliberate on the outcome of trials. against a ruling colonial power, followed by a unique de Does democracy lead to entangling wars for the benefit of the ruling class? At this point the citizens will try to get rid of whatever man is currently in office, either by exile or impeachment. We become obsessed with our freedom and become willing to sacrifice necessary things like social order and structure to attain it. They had great ideas, but black people and Native Indians were clearly not included in the “people” they carried so much about. Plato provides a detailed account of the degeneration of the state from aristocracy to tyranny via timocracy, oligarchy, and democracy. Our world depends on the success of this incredible democratic “experiment” and all the original thought. Of course it was far from perfect. Assuming that the Republic was intended to be a serious critique of the political thought in Athens, Plato argues that only Kallipolis, an aristocracy led by the unwilling philosopher-kings (the wisest men), is a just To summarize, this theory of subjectivity that Platonic leads to elitist political position. Plato and Aristotle are not wholly or diametrically opposed to each other and this stance against democracy is one of those where they share a similar view, even though they may differ in the specifics. And now the leader is a tyrant, born from democracy and propped up by the demand for liberty. These desires include luxuries and lavish possessions. Platos charge against democracy is that it violates the proper order of society by creating an artificial equality. It is then argued that some of Plato's proposals and criticisms of democracy are well worth our attention, especially in the case of governing. ‘Philosophy’ can be interpreted from Greek as the love of wisdom, thus a true philosopher is a person who seeks pleasure purely of the mind. During the Brexit campaign, a leading UK politician Michael Gove refused to name any economists who back Britain’s exit from the European Union, saying that “people in this country have had enough of experts”. It might be easy to assume that Plato held a grudge over the death of his mentor. In his famous Allegory of the Cave (Book VI), Plato illustrates a moment in which a man discovers the reality of the world is different than perceived by prisoners in a cave. He is so hated by the majority of the voters that there are numerious demonstration against him almost on a daily basis. Plato S Arguments Against Democracy Calderoni Plato’s Argument Against Democracy Term Paper In Western culture, democracy is deemed as the most appropriate … While there have been instances of tyranny arising from democracy, as noted in the previous chapter, democracy has been widely successful. Lawrence Torcello, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology. However Michels (2004) uses his writings to consider his reason for not be a great of a democratic state. These men continued a system which held slaves stolen from Africa, in chains to make them and their new nation wealthy. 83 quotes have been tagged as republic. I’ve had in recent weeks some stranger on Facebook accuse me of denigrating the Founding Fathers good name. Democracy is other people, and the ignorance of the many has long galled the few, especially the few who consider themselves intellectuals. However Plato believed there was a far more sinister nature to democracy. Plato, one of the earliest to see democracy … This mode of the constitution is thought to bring more unity than one preventing political dialogue between the ruled and their rulers. Socrates, another of Ancient Athens’ great philosophers, was Plato’s respected mentor and friend. What is interesting about their discontent, not a word about how this unjust happening happened. Plato's alternative to democracy is, that not the most numerous, but the best ones should be in charge. As a result, there is some ambiguity as to whose opinions are being posited in the Republic but it is commonly thought to be Plato’s. The whimsical nature of public support defies sound reason and produces fatal inconsistency over time. The excitability and emotion of people and their mass mobilization incites democracy to acts of hysteria according to Plato. Aspects of the liberal society illustrated here are today celebrated. But while Plato may have sought to heal tyranny with medicine that tastes a lot like the disease, The Republic still carries its important messages. Plato states in the Republic that democracy is just a latter stage of a declining state. Americans love to discuss the ideals of the founders while blatantly ignoring the bigotry and racism of these men. There is a lot we can learn from Plato and his work in The Republic. Plato would write about the trial of Socrates in his first essay. Socrates was convicted of these charges, before being imprisoned and finally executed. novo creation of a democratic system of government. And while this is reminiscent of several historical revolutions, including the American revolution, Plato warns that the trouble only intensifies from here. Placing a clause in the Constitution which ended the slave trade in 1808 was not a move to end slavery, just the commerce in humans because they felt the natural growth of the enslaved population would make it so that importing more human beings from Africa would no longer be needed by that time to satisfy the greed of southern state representatives at the convention. Certainly, the numerous executions would give reason to doubt the system of Athenian democracy. A better government is a Republic. However, Socrates challenged the Athenian democracy by questioning the existence of their gods (he was supposedly an atheist), corrupting their youth to do the same in challenging traditional authority, and being a general pain in the ass. Plato's Republic presents a critical view of democracy through the narration of Socrates: "foolish leaders of Democracy, which is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequaled alike." Take a minute and think about the people who are running whatever country you are in and tell him he is wrong. Among them is the punitive nature of the Treaty of Versaille, burdening generations of Germans with economic scarcity and so-called “guilt clause” attributing sole responsibility of the war to Germany. They only seem to care about the people when it comes time for re-election. Those who seek reality are those best qualified to guide as they have the greatest knowledge at their disposal. 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