Essay on Plato's Ideas of an Inefficient Democracy

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Plato's Ideas of an Inefficient Democracy

Plato's Republic describes precisely how he feels about society and what the true meaning of justice is within that society. Plato feels that a city can only function if each of pieces does its part and nothing else. He also thinks that a perfect society should run on a distinct social scale. This scale descends in the order from the philosopher kings to the guardians to the craftspeople. His ideal society would be run in the form of an aristocracy where the philosopher kings use the guardians to ultimately rule the lowly craftspeople. He deems that justice fits nicely into an aristocratic community. Plato does not believe, however, that a democratic society is beneficial or even has the
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He comments on how lovely a democracy appears to be, just like a coat with many multicolored ornaments that fascinates women and children (Republic 228). In doing so he not only takes a cynical stance toward democracy, but he also ridicules the position of women within a society. According to Plato, the average person lacks the knowledge and mastery of emotions necessary to make informed and rational decisions about various government laws and practices. He thinks that the general public is driven by its own self-interest in the world and therefore cannot act in a politically smart manner. Plato infers that letting these people, who are guided by emotion and ignorant to procedures of the government, run the State or democracy is a bad idea altogether. He decides that only the philosopher kings, whose main goal is to help maintain good for the entire community, should be allowed to rule a government. And he goes on to imply that the rulers need not be tempted by living simply to improve their own lives, rather they continue working to benefit everyone. Plato's idea of democracy stated in the Republic sounds ideal in theory. If a society could function in this manner normally, it would be a utopian society basically. The only problem is that history has proven that societies based on this method and these procedures have generally failed. In ancient city-states, such as Athens, the democratic style of government proved to be
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