Friday, November 8, 2019

Greater Good

Given the current circumstances, well worth recalling Plato's contributions to public discourse. One of the things we snowflakes have to remember is that we people have been at this for a very long time and one of the things we have learned is that Onions don't grow on trees. And it's true, as you age, and forced to experience something like the dawn of a new fascist state, you acquire a new appreciation of those thinkers you might once have big time sneered at. Plato reckoned that we people in the majority were good at dreaming, we had all sorts of ideas, and when someone came along who promised us the earth we were prone to believing them even if what they promised was almost absurd. And indeed Plato's ideal state was not the chaos of democracy but a Good Tyrant. As well, Plato was well aware that Good Tyrants were very few and very far between, and in the meanwhile recovering from a Bad Tyrant could take generations of thunder and lightening.

What Plato wanted was wisdom in our political leaders. Wisdom is fundamentally an understanding of past, present and future as it is, not what you'd like it to be. Plato's experience of the public square was many bad ideas followed by very few good ideas, and all of them contributing to mostly unsatisfactory and half baked solutions. What was needed, he argued. was a system that plucked the more studious minds from the populace and gave them the opportunity to study the realities of what was known about us people and from these People of Gold the ruling class would be chosen. And even today, you can see the sharp distinction between those who have obedience to the Constitution of the USA, they took their oath and role in society seriously, and those for whom maintaining personal power and privilege could well be more important than the greater good of the three hundred and sixty odd million people who make up these here United States.  In the end Socrates was the wisest of men because he freely admitted without others he didn't know anything.

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