Socrates Criticisms Of Democracy

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Socrates’, Plato’s, and Aristotle’s main criticisms of democracy were based on both theory and precedents. Whereas Plato and Aristotle believed that democracy could lead to mob rule in part due to group-think based on a population’s impulses, Socrates advocated that governance should not be solicited based on the citizenry’s desires at any given time. Aristotle advocated that democracy was indeed the best form of government, or better said he believed democracy to be lesser of the forms of government. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all believed that only the wisest should govern because those governed might squander resources and wealth, make decisions based on emotion, and revolt due to a perceived or real notion of inequality.
These views were evident, and perhaps promoted, due to the continual control of government by aristocrats. These rulers sought to improve their own interests over those of the poleis, and promoted their own values and ideas. Aristotle believed that the best form of governing should be decided by those governed and, although he believed democracy to be the best of the examples of government, believed that voting would both satisfy the citizens’ desire for equality and avoid revolutions such as those that result from the tyrannies that had come before.
Socrates was a former infantryman, having fought in three campaigns during the war with Sparta, so it is no surprise that he believed justice should not be invoked by the citizens’ pleading. He
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