Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Plato

The idea of Philosopher Kings goes all the way back to the Ancients. Wouldn't it be nice, the argument went, if the powerful were decent, full hearted, wise people who did right by the population and weren't just out to fill their own cup with self and in the process find reasons for doing so. Plato spent a lifetime on the problem, and while some would disagree, he came away disappointed and he just sort of concluded that there were stages a society goes through, one of which included the emergence of populist tyrants and all societies kind of end up in a huge unfairness which leads to anger and chaos as we people revert to what Walking Stewart called Beasts of the Field.

I first got pissed off with Plato when I understood his attempt to ameliorate the problem of government was to introduce an educated elite, who essentially would be men of gold chosen at a young age for special schooling and then introduced into the top echelons of a society which would be a sort aristocracy. Briefly, very briefly and we're talking probably the last three or four hundred days, I thought maybe Plato had a point. However in the last three or four days I have learned far too much about Yale and George Town Prep School to ever again believe in the possibility of specially educating a special elite. One thing Plato did talk about, and it does seem to me that it's very valuable. He didn't think that you could really write about "what is the form of good," you could only really hold forth on the subject and give it proper consideration through a constant, real time verbal discussions. Then came Twitter, the Internet and Cable News.  So Plato-wise, we're totally doomed!

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