Democracy and Plato’s Republic
We are in a time when people are questioning the workings of our government is the electoral process of choosing a president an accurate depiction of the public’s needs or wants. Does the government have the best interest of the people at heart or the best interest of the parties? In an economy besieged by recession is the structure of our government viable? These issues have been discussed in the past and different groups have come to different ideas on economic and political structures and how they should be decided. In our country and many other nations around the world, the observation has often been that democracy accompanied by capitalism presents the best, most competent use of resources, and that governments led by those ideals promise the best outcome for the people. Other countries have adopted very diverse governing principles. The Communist ideals adopted by some nations support the establishment of an unobstructed, stateless, classless social order based on common ownership as a means of property and production. I believe that although the population votes to bring about change, ultimately the decisions of the people are diminished by a higher power. It is not until the people are given control of the outcome will there be a change. I believe Plato's philosophy of life and theory of knowledge is the basis for the democracy of today. It is in Plato’s ideals that there is a belief that the higher powers are bestowed the wisdom to make the decisions. Unfortunately, by voter process decisions that are made by a knowledgeable working class are stifled by opposing groups. Plato viewed the character of government and the rule of law in many distinctive and necessary ways. Plato saw democracy as a form of governance as not only the same as the rule of law, but also the most efficient in implementing the law itself. Additionally, the law is subject to all persons, whether part of the population as a citizen or an element of the government. Plato believed in the idea that law is absolute and unvarying. By examining major factors of the rule of law, such as equality of man and justice and the central democratic governance, we can understand how Plato came to his position. Plato believed that humans were their own worst enemies, which he expressed in The Republic. While explaining the origin of social organization, Plato says: “If we are to have enough pasture and plough land, we shall have to cut off a slice of our neighbors’ territory; and if they too are not content with necessaries, but give themselves up to getting unlimited wealth, they will want a slice of ours. So the next thing will be that we shall be at war. We have discovered the origin of war in desires which are the most fruitful source of evils both to individuals and to states” (Dodson 90). As was shown in many of the 2012 election advertisements, each candidate or proposition was at war; jockeying to garner his neighbors land or in this case his votes as such, advertising became slanderous and nasty. As Plato explains to Socrates, “You take the words in the sense which is most damaging to the argument” (Jowett 53) Thus, we can see how a war between political parties evolves. Plato establishes the idea of always being in a condition of war based on the need to always want more than what we have or something we do not have is the lack of belief in humanity that Plato talks about. The soul of evil yearning is described in Plato’s quote while explaining the nature of a political community and its parts. It was Plato’s doubt in individuals themselves that led to his idea that an entire army would be needed to protect the population. Plato understood that rules of law must be imposed to look after the population from not only others, but themselves too. It was a general thought by Plato why the public needed law, but what precisely should the law be made up of? The description of...
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