Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Platos Criticism of Democracy Essay -- Plato
Plato's Criticism of Democracy Do not be angry with me for speaking the truth; no man will survive who genuinely opposes you or any other crowd and prevents the occurrence of many unjust and illegal happenings in the city. A man who really fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a short time. (Apology 31e-32a) These are the words of Socrates, who spoke before the Athenian jury in the trial that would, ultimately, condemn him to his death. Through works such as the Apology and The Republic, we can see PlatoÃ¢â¬â¢s distaste of the concept of democracy. Why does he consider democracy to be so flawed? Let us look through his own eyes and see what his individual criticisms are, and determine if the very concept of democracy is as flawed as he believes it to be. One of the contemporary definitions of democracy today is as follows: Ã¢â¬Å"Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives; Rule by the majorityÃ¢â¬ (Ã¢â¬Å"DemocracyÃ¢â¬ Def.1,4). Democracy, as a form of government, was a radical idea when it manifested; many governments in the early history of the world were totalitarian or tyrannical in nature, due to overarching beliefs that the strong ruled over the weak. Although the Greeks coined the word Ã¢â¬Å"democracyÃ¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â the words demos Ã¢â¬Å"peopleÃ¢â¬ and kratos Ã¢â¬Å"ruleÃ¢â¬ conjoined together to mean, literally, Ã¢â¬Å"rule by the peopleÃ¢â¬ Ã¢â¬â there is speculation about weather or not certain other peoples, such as the Sumerians and the Indians, managed to engage in democratic methods of governance first. However, the history of democracy is not what is being discussed here; we are focusing on PlatoÃ¢â¬â¢s criticism of democracy, particularly with regards to the Athenian model and his... ...n life. However, PlatoÃ¢â¬â¢s criticisms should be kept in mind when determining the merit of a democratic government. Oh, would it not be great to have a democracy of philosophers, who would pursue truth and wisdom! Alas, we are only human, and susceptible to many evils and lies. The trick is to prevent such ignorant people from becoming the majority. At times, it seems nigh impossible to do so; curse our stupidity! WORKS CITED Ã¢â¬Å"Democracy.Ã¢â¬ Def.1,4. The American Heritage Dictionary. 2nd college ed. 1991. Plato. Ã¢â¬Å"The Apology.Ã¢â¬ Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Cito, Meno, Phaedo. 2nd ed. Trans. Grube, G.M.A. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc, 2002. 36. Gorgias. Trans. Helmbold, W.C. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc, 1952. 18-19, 32-48. Ã¢â¬Å"Book V.Ã¢â¬ The Republic of Plato. Trans. Bloom, Allan. New York: Basic Books Inc, 1968. 153-154.