Plato's View of Democracy

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At first I didn’t fully understand some of Plato’s objections to democracy. After doing a little research, I realized that it was important to understand his definition of democracy and what it means to a society. Plato’s problem isn’t with the democracy we know today, or even the Athenian democracy. Instead, it is the form of democracy he criticizes. In The Republic, democracy means the rule of the people, in a much more literal sense than it does for the citizens of most of the modern states which claim to be democracies. Plato has an aversion to democracy because it violates the proper order of society by creating an artificial equality. His basic criticism is that democracy is an irrational form of constitution. It is based on the assumption that every citizen is equally entitled to a say in political affairs, no matter how unsuited he is in terms of ability, character or training. In this form of democracy, it doesn’t matter how ignorant a person is, he could still play a significant role in public affairs if he speaks persuasively enough. Plato was disgusted by the idea of a system where value and merit are disregarded and instead unconditional equality. He and Socrates both felt that all people were born with knowledge, but that not all people were in touch with the knowledge they possessed. Plato rejected the idea that all men are equals. Plato also believed that man was not self-sufficient; he believed man would be most happy living in a state, being ruled over. It seems that he also believed all men wanted to live the truly good life where they could be in tune with the truth and achieve their ultimate goals. When discussing a democratic society and its leaders, Plato says, “When a democracy which is thirsting for freedom has evil cupbearers presiding over the feast, and has drunk too deeply the strong wine of freedom, then, unless her rulers are very amenable and give a plentiful draught, she calls them to account and punishes them, and says...
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