Plato and Individual Liberty

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jeremy Calderoni
Plato’s Argument Against Democracy
Term Paper
In Western culture, democracy is deemed as the most appropriate and efficient government to run and manage a state. Citizens of a state like to feel as though they are making some sort of contribution to how they are being governed, and because of this, very few bother to inquire about its effectiveness and whether or not it is really the most adequate system of government. A dictatorship, or the system of guardianship that Plato proposed, is greatly frowned upon by many and is often overlooked. Plato, being an anti-democratic, has challenged democracy and has suggested that a democracy would not be the best government for a state. One way he proves this is through the notion of craft analogy. This is a very simple idea that speaks volumes about the default of democracy. In order to be successful at an occupation “a special training is necessary, and not everyone is naturally capable even of acquiring the skill” (Wolff 68). In other words, it takes expertise, training and credentials to be qualified for any job, and governing a state is no exception. The same way a construction worker is not a reliable source for medical advice, ordinary people are not dependable candidates to be political leaders. Plato uses the example of crew members on a ship. The ship cannot reach the intended destination without a captain who can navigate. No one else on the ship was taught to navigate and therefore is not qualified to do so. Nobody knew that “the true navigator must study the season of the year, the sky, the stars, the winds, and all the other subjects appropriate to his profession” (Wolff 66). Plato believes that a state can only progress if trained professionals are behind its development, and not ignorant, ill educated people. Although Plato brings up a valid point, there are counter arguments that can be made to contradict him. The primary focus of any political entity should be to appeal to the...
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