Plato's Criticism of Democracy

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Plato's Criticism of Democracy Plato, having defined his perfect society, now seeks to compare contemporary 'imperfect' societies with his ideal standard. He initially criticises the imperfect society as a whole, before leading onto a criticism of any given individual within that society; the imperfect character. He has already dealt with the Oligarchic society and character and now moves onto Democracy and the democratic character. Plato states that the Oligarchy, where the ultimate desire is for wealth and character governs emotions without reason, will ultimately collapse and become a Democracy. The lower, drone class are exploited by the avaricious oligarchic class: this leads the drones into discontent, and they plot against their rulers. When the two classes come into contact with each other, the lean and sunburnt lower class will find themselves beside the sheltered upper class with their superfluous flesh. They will realise that they can seize power, and perhaps call upon some form of external force to aid their struggle. Therefore, democracy originates when the poor win, kill or exile their opponents, and give the rest equal civil rights and opportunities. Plato's description of events bears a remarkable resemblance to the reality of the French Revolution, when the decadent and affluent upper class were deposed and destroyed by the poor, drone class. However, though a democratic state was declared, it failed to materialise as France sublimed to a tyrranic period of terror with no real democracy before it. However, Plato now describes the Democracy that has been implemented by the lower classes with the aim of leading onto the democratic character. With new freedom and liberty, the average individual will arran... ... middle of paper ... ...nstead the state consists of rulers who behave like subjects and subjects who behave like rulers. The people begin to desire a strong leader, who will make the difficult decisions for them and bear the consequences: the Democracy has become a Tyranny. In summary, Plato's comments are incredibly perceptive and relevant: a lot of what he says has been proved true in one way or another throughout history. The transition of our own country from an early 19th century Oligarchy to the Democracy we have today seems to have been predicted by Plato over two thousand years ago. It may also be true that our contemporary politicians are to be ousted by the dissatisfied public, and replaced with a tyrannical dictator. Finally, though not everything Plato says is in concordance with what we can now see for ourselves, his ideas are still relevant in any study of modern politics.

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