The Ideal Society Todays government is one of extreme corruption. The rich and other people in high places today run democracy in the United States. Plato was an ancient philosopher who believed that one sole ruler, a Philosopher king, should run the government. Plato would most definitely not agree with the way society is run today in the 21st century. Plato would be disappointed with our society and culture. We as Americans are a democracy and elect our governance. Plato suggests that the philosopher-king is the one who is appropriate to rule.
From 1776 on we declared hat we as Americans did not want any more kings. We fought a revolution and got rid of the monarchy that was attached to English rule. From that point on our leaders have been chosen by we the people. We choose from a group of people called politicians.
What do politicians do? How do they convince us to vote and elect them? They spew rhetoric and platitudes. This Plato would have found aggravating, as he would definitely think that the majority should not rule. Leaders have to be bred to be philosopher rulers. They would not Just come from the majority.Instead of ushing rhetoric and persuasion Plato would have accepted us if we had a ruler with the benefit of wisdom and good reasoning capability.
“Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophize, that is until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils….
nor, I think will the human race… ” Plato rejects our system of government. This is clear.
According to Plato a state made p of different kinds of People will decline from an aristocracy (rule by the best) to a timocracy (rule by the honorable) to an oligarchy (rule by the few) then to a democracy (rule by the people) then to tyranny (rule by one person. ) He was convinced that the heads of state should be philosophers as they were the best able to rule. In our society as well as in Athenian society education was prized.
We also believe in higher educations the goal for all of our people. Plato also believed in this ideal too. He felt however that artists could corrupt education.
Artists had a different oint of view that he felt was contradictory to his principles as he saw it. On the other hand our society promotes art and personal expression through art. We are not concerned about variance in ideas nor in our country do we censor it. We allow freedom of expression in art but Plato would have expected us to suppress and censor it. This he would have seen as a liability and destabilizing force in our culture. Plato had ideas as to “required roles society’. He felt that there were three types of people to be identified as such in society so that there may be order.Order was chieved by each class of people accepting their role in his society with no ambition to change to another role.
He called one class workers or producers. The other guards or soldiers and the last ruler or philosopher. Their roles are classic as are their names.
He expected such a society to be successful but he did not count on ambition. As Americans we possess lots of ambition. A social caste system may have worKea In Plato’s clay out Americans oon’t Ilke to De tola wnat we can ana can’t 00. That is too ancient history for us.Our parents and some of our teachers tell us that e can be whatever we want to be. No restrictions . We are the ones who decide our upward or downward mobility. We as a nation expect this as one of our freedoms.
Plato would not have liked that it threatened destabilization. He would foresee our country as a doomed nation. His ideas on stability depend on everyone’s acceptance of their predestined roles. Each level of his society would receive the education needed to carry out its task. Americans pride themselves on their scientific achievements.Our space exploration as the new UN developed frontier with our huttle programs as well as our innovations such as the pc, pad computing and iPhone have put us at the top of the world with our science. Our technology reigns supreme and we are proud of it. We celebrate tech wizards such as the late great Steve Jobs.
We teach astronomy and still learn about Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton. Plato on the other hand would be shaking his head in dislike at this. He wanted the astronomers of his day to stop looking at the skies! He did accept and promote mathematics but anything out of the realm of his day-to-day reality he pushed away.
He did not accept it as science that was necessary. He was limited yes as those days were severely compromised for many of the scientific instruments and assistance we have today. He would have been a negative force for scientific discovery Plato also had theories on ethics and morals.
He theorized that the human was comprised of a soul and a corporeal body. The body was responsible for tying us to the Earth and the soul was to removes us from the material world to a superior world. He notes the soul is immortal and superior. This concept I agree we still have today.
There would be no mobility in Plato’s perfect society. You are stuck where you are. Where Plato would not be happy seems to be the status of our morals as a society. We are corrupt, evil and selfish.
There is not a consensus as a country on behavior ideals. We expect good behavior but many times it goes UN rewarded and unnoticed but bad scandalous behavior is surprisingly or not surprisingly present among our politicians and ruling elite. We have news daily of those folks. They swindle embezzle cheat lie and profit.
Most times we are not surprised.