The Anti-Democratic Faces of Socrates
Socrates is among an elite class of extraordinary human beings. Whether it is religion, politics or socioeconomic issues, Socrates' philosophy had a profound impact on Athenian civilization. His thoughts and ideas have sparked many debates and examinations of the way we live our lives even today. In the three dialogues Defence of Socrates, Euthyphro, and Crito, written by the philosopher Plato, one can find evidence that Socrates was not an enthusiast for democracy. The following will consider this evidence as a means for showing the anti-democratic faces of Socrates. In Euthyphro, Socrates questions Euthyphro's prosecution of his father for murder. Their dialogue is a result of Socrates attempt to understand what is good and righteous. Socrates does not put much value in the ability of the people to judge the character of a person because his perception is that the people are easily swayed. "Athenians don't much care, it seems to me, if they think someone clever, so long as he's not imparting his wisdom to others; but once they think he's making other people clever, then they get angry". His statement foreshadows his impending conviction. He believes that the people are incapable of practicing justice based on the truth. By this account, democracy is corrupt. Additionally he continues his assertions in the Defense of Socrates. The mere fact that Socrates chose to defend himself and disregard the advice of his friends suggests that he does not believe in democracy. In Defense of Socrates he proceeds to tell the jury how they should behave and think, further showing his disregard for the democratic process. "...attend simply to the question whether or not my case is just; because that is the duty of a judge..." His attempt to defend himself is no more than a guise to justify his life and recruit the jury to believe his philosophy. It is clear that politics, democracy, is of no importance to Socrates. On the declaration of the...
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