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Thu Apr 18, 2019, 01:58 PM

One step closer to a dictatorship? Was Plato right?

The Classical Greek philosopher Plato discusses five types of regimes(Republic, Book VIII). They are:

Aristocracy
Timocracy
Oligarchy
Democracy
and Tyranny

... These five regimes progressively degenerate starting with Aristocracy at the top and Tyranny at the bottom.

Taken from Wikipedia

------------------------

Below is from Facultyfiles.frostburg.edu


(Enter Plato's Ship analogy, then continue)

Democratic self-government does not work, according to Plato, because ordinary people have not learned how to run the ship of state. They are not familiar enough with such things as economics, military strategy, conditions in other countries, or the confusing intricacies of law and ethics.

....they are guided by unreliable emotions more than by careful analysis, and they are lured into adventurous wars and victimized by costly defeats that could have been entirely avoided.

The democratic election of a leader who plans to replace a capitalist democracy with a fascist warfare state, for example, is a case in point. Hitler, it is worth remembering, was elected by a democratic vote, and it is surely not irrelevant to ask whether those who voted for him did not suffer from an unacceptable degree of ignorance and lack of political education.

(Enter his Cave analogy)

The challenge that Plato's critique of democracy still poses is the question whether the citizens of today's democracies are interested and informed enough to participate meaningfully in the democratic process. Are today's self-proclaimed democracies in fact societies where people are "their own governors”-- where they are well enough informed to be effectively in control of their commonwealth and their lives? Do the citizens of these societies really understand why wars are declared, resources committed, debts incurred, relations denied, and so forth? Could it be that a majority of citizens live in a cognitive haze that reduces them to voting on the basis of uninformed convictions, catchy slogans, and altogether vague hunches and feelings?
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My comment: Although Plato's position holds a great deal of intuitive weight and points to great truths about the nature of humanity, I hope ultimately that he is wrong in his conclusion.

15 replies, 1489 views

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply One step closer to a dictatorship? Was Plato right? (Original post)
defacto7 Apr 2019 OP
TreasonousBastard Apr 2019 #1
defacto7 Apr 2019 #5
Ponietz Apr 2019 #2
defacto7 Apr 2019 #4
WhiteTara Apr 2019 #3
defacto7 Apr 2019 #6
WhiteTara Apr 2019 #7
Esperanto.Mark Dec 2019 #8
defacto7 Dec 2019 #9
Esperanto.Mark Dec 2019 #10
Huin Jan 2020 #15
softydog88 Jan 2020 #11
Huin Jan 2020 #14
defacto7 Jan 2020 #12
Huin Jan 2020 #13

Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:06 PM

1. It would be nice if he was wrong, but the evidence shows otherwise...

Not only are so many of us living in his cave, but tyrants put far more time and energy into their goals than the rest of us do.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:57 PM

5. Tis true and a bit frightning.

I'm up for the fight though.

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Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:16 PM

2. I don't believe Plato imagined the power potential of a modern educational system n/t

That’s a democracy’s true gold reserve.

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Response to Ponietz (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:55 PM

4. I boil everything down to education..

I think education is certainly the "true gold reserve of democracy". But it is also a gold mine for those who can twist it's implementation through mis-information.
What Plato probably couldn't envision was the planetary speed at which information in the name of any ideology could be disseminated to the masses. But he didn’t underestimate the lack of human ability to reason quick enough to decern reality from shadows.

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Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 02:30 PM

3. I took a different slant

I compared him to Slobodan Milosovich. So, I guess I'm going for tyranny.

http://eureka.news/free-parking-72/

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 03:03 PM

6. Please elaborate. It's an interesting comparison

but I'm not sure I understand the points.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 08:10 PM

7. Thanks for asking

So my hypothesis is that trump is a tyrant trying to solidify his power and his most powerful weapon is his hate rhetoric. Molosovich had the same tactic and he will rachet up the hate speech until he has genocide on his hands.

I have likened our situation to Rwanda (in another column) which occurred during the same period of time. I could also make the same arguments about Jackson and the Reconstruction.

Mostly this is all about hate speech and outcomes.

So, what did you get besides confusion?

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Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Fri Dec 20, 2019, 12:01 PM

8. We need a democratic intellectual meritocracy

A coequal fourth branch of government consisting of peer approved intellectuals.

We must hold our democratically elected representatives intellectually accountable.

Facts should matter more than capital.

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Response to Esperanto.Mark (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 20, 2019, 12:25 PM

9. That's a fascinating theory.

I will give it some thought. It would be quite the constitutional challenge and one that I'm sure would be fought tooth and nail by the anti-intellectuals, e.g., oligarchs, religionists, political opportunists.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 20, 2019, 02:17 PM

10. I'm new around here..

So please forgive me for the off topic inquiry.

I've noticed that the pinned rules thread for this group was posted by your account, so I've taken that to mean that you're familiar with the way things run on DU. I've know of and respected this site (without having participated) for almost twenty years. This community attracts conscientious and selfless individuals willing to understand and civilly discuss national and global issues. I've even heard that elected members of government sometimes visit DU.

The DU community does a fantastic job of keeping its visitors informed of relevant facts. The "recs" system does a pretty good job of keeping the day's most important headlines easily accessible to even the most casual visitor.

When I am faced with a problem, I define the problem, then (most importantly) look for a solution. Some people are capable of defining problems in simpler terms than others. Having quick concise emotionally charged explanations to current problems tends to get attention in our culture. Or characterizing huge problems in digestible cartoons. Or worse yet, recounting's of negative (if not negative, certainly not constructive) interactions with people of opposed ideology.

More attention should be given to the pursuit of solutions to these problems that drove us to DU. I wish the pages receiving the most views on this site had easy access to serious solutions purposed by members to the problems we face today.

Perhaps pinned threads defining specific problems, that encourage users to come up with thoughtful solutions? If members of government ever do browse DU looking for input or ideas, it should be easy for them to find the best ones.


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Response to Esperanto.Mark (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 6, 2020, 01:41 AM

15. I'm trying to do that

I find that teaching is not always easy. There are those that already have made up their minds. Then, once in a while, someone does not understand what one is trying to convey without getting to concise. But try we must.

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Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2020, 12:38 AM

11. Well, the framers agreed with Plato, I think...

which is why the U.S.A. is a republic, not a true democracy. We vote for representatives who cast votes for laws (for federal laws; we cast votes directly for many laws in local or state elections). The representatives, as I understand it, are supposed to be educated about the laws and the processes of government, freeing the electorate to be as ignorant as they wish. The problem, of course, is while there are certain requirements to be in government such as a minimum age, and for president, being born in the United States (just like President Barack Obama was), there is no requirement for having experience in governing or any knowledge of the law, politics and its processes - hence president* trump. It's truly weird...if you want to be a CPA, you have to have an accounting education and pass a multiple-day test. If you want to be a doctor, you have to go to medical school and pass more exams. If you want to be a lawyer, ditto, and to be a federal judge, you need the law degree, relevant experience, and the ability to show you know what the hell you're doing in front of the Senate (unless you're Clarence Thomas or Bret Kavanaugh [still a few bugs in the system]). But to be president, all you have to do is to get enough people to vote for you in key states and bingo! Instant incompetence in the White House.

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Response to softydog88 (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 6, 2020, 01:30 AM

14. I need to add my five pennie's worth

Yes, the representative form of democracy relieves the constituents from the job of being immediately involved in government. But it does not relieve the people from being informed, only then can the best candidates be elected. But this process of electing someone should not be just a popularity contest. It also places an enormous duty on the elected officials. When they take their oath of office, they must forget their personal pet preferences, but daily or more often should they reevaluate what they do or say because they are no longer what they were before they took that job to which they were elected. If they are House Representatives they have become responsible to work for the well-being of the people in their district. Not only of those who contributed and voted for them, but for all of the people in that district, collectively. Only then can that respective district be properly represented. The same goes for those officials elected state-wide or those when elected to the chief executive office. In any case, they are no longer individuals who can do or not do as they please, they now have a mandate to serve and serve hopefully dutifully well. Some just don't understand that.

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Response to defacto7 (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2020, 10:06 AM

12. Agreed. We've gone too long teaching the infallibility

of America through nationalism light. Through generations we've become complacent to the fact that our system can't work forever on the old model. It's been too easy by way of human nature to slowly open the existing loopholes in the constitution, some of which were intentioned, for our stablility to stay intact. We've only been something resembling a democracy for about 70 years and although the movement to proceed continued, the powers that be weren't about to loose the elite mechanisms a republic employed I.e. obscuring facts from the people, dulling the mind, dulling the senses through false security, creating false wealth through debt, all these are a creeping crud on a democracy. Now we are living the inevitable outcome of control and ignorance. The situation is critical and survival of democracy is in doubt. If we don't take control of our government, make changes to our constitution and purge the system of the individuals, judiciary, representative and administrative who keep the nation enslaved to ignorance, democracy will die and the unthinkable will take its place.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 6, 2020, 12:46 AM

13. We (collectively) must change

There may be loopholes in the constitution. But is it not often a willful disregard of the constitution causing a problem? When we had a prolonged government shutdown I posted my thought (the correctness of which I am still convinced of) that the people acting through the several States are the only ones who could shut down ongoing operations under existing laws. I based that on the non-existence in the constitution of an express power to shut down operations, on the tenth amendment and on the ninth that no right granted (and I read that to include express powers granted and powers implied thereunder) shall be construed to deny or disparage others reserved respectively to the states or to the people. When Senate leadership did not allow a bill passed by the House to be voted on, causing the shutdown, to me that seemed to be in violation of the oath of office, and not just a loophole in the constitution. Should this not have resulted in an immediate impeachment of the perpetrators?

The constitution provides for the Senate to have the sole power to try all impeachments. But it also requires that when sitting for that purpose they shall be on oath or affirmation. Does that not mean that they have to give an oath or affirmation specifically for the job of judging the facts relating to the impeachment? The constitution also provides for the Chief Justice to preside when the president is being tried. To me that language leaves no other conclusion than that the trial is indeed a trial according established trial law where each side is allowed to prove its case. I believe that it is against the constitution for the Senate leadership to make its own rules like a kangaroo court to unjustly slant any outcome in favor of the impeached. Facts can only be proven through direct evidence and through testimony by credible witnesses. Should a party deny the presentation of direct evidence or the appearance of witnesses is that a loophole in the constitution? I would venture NO. It is a shameful disregard of decency. And to me it would seem to be a case of negligence if the disadvantaged party or parties under the circumstances would not petition the Supreme Court or more specifically the Chief Justice presiding over the trial to issue subpoenas to assure a correct and fair outcome which the people of the United States can and should demand. I believe, though never imagined or done before, such a petition or motion could be attempted prior to the trial with notice to any opposition; and if unsuccessful could it not also be repeated prior to the begin of the trial? Sound good to me. Of course, when I posted something similar, a reply told me that I was incorrect. But sometimes, when something unusual is tried that others think it does not work, and it does work, in the technical field it's called an invention. It would be like a driver moving the steering wheel to keep a car properly in its lane. Do we have any to know what I mean? In life we have to learn not to accept blindly what someone wants to push on us vigorously.

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