Although democracy was meant for the good of the people, some criticized it as it did not really cover the interests of everyone. Plato and the Old Oligarch were some of the major critics of democracy, both Plato and the Old Oligarch saw democracy as unstable and detrimental to society. Plato goes on to provide his solution to democracy, Plato sought to replace democracy with a philosopher king. Aristotle on the other hand, doesn’t completely dismiss democracy, instead, Aristotle insists that a democracy or oligarchy be put into place with the majority of the body being middle class. Democracy empowered the middle and poor classes, contended with the higher classes, and as well as criticizing democracy critics provide their own alternative.
There is no ideal structure to the state; instead politics changes on what they best suit the state. Aristotle’s ideal doesn’t have one complete ruler or system. The ideal is ruling between people in a rotation so that every male gets a chance to rule. Aristotle and Plato both view the state as a basic necessity for humans; however the purpose of the state varies from Aristotle’s to Plato’s ideologies. Within Aristotle’s ideal state “the true purpose of government is to enable its citizen to live the full and happy life,” (“The Man” 32), the best government for Aristotle is one that allows individualism among its citizens, rather than rule in favor of the majority.
If there was no form of sovereignty the guardians, who are the upper class citizens, would go after all their wants and desires freely. This would cause pandemonium and violence within the state. Plato states that, “a city whose future rulers are least eager to rule will necessarily be the best governed and freest from strife, and the one with opposite rulers the worst” (520d). By this Plato means that the people who should keep the social classes in check and rule over the state should be people who are not interested in power, ruling over others, self-gain, or self-promotion. Plato says, "to become a good guardian, a man must be by nature fast, strong, and a spirited philosopher" (Plato 376e).
Plato presents the argument that democracy does not achieve the greatest good, giving four main objections to democracy. Firstly, he identifies that most of us are ruled by passions, pleasure, sentiment and impulse. Hence, th... ... middle of paper ... ...kingship, aristocracy and polity are all good forms of ruling because each serves the interest of the people or community. Overall, Aristotle believes that we must not question how many rule, but instead ask how they are capable of ruling or do they rule in a manner that best serves the community. Aristotle’s Politics gives a simpler critique of democracy than Plato’s Republic, however it is convincing in the sense that in order to rule for the good of the community or the good life (Bios) one should only question that capability of those ruling rather than ask the quantity.
Plato's Republic is widely regarded as a masterpiece of social and political philosophies. He believed that all men were not created equal, but not in the physical sense that history has shown. He meant intellectually. When referring to democracy, he looks upon it as something that would result in tyranny and chaos. "Tyranny by the poor," is why he believed that an aristocracy would be a better ruling tool than a democracy (Plato, B.C.).
Communism could have been the answer to governing a nation but due to the vice of power-hungry leaders, democracy surpasses this institution with evidence from history, revealing why these political powers machines cannot remain mutually exclusive. Communism can be regarded as a social system in which property is owned by the community and each member works for the common benefit. Such an ideal where the community as a whole works for equal benefit may seem to paint the perfect picture at first but this theory becomes tainted. The Communist Manifesto proclaims, “Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriations” (Marx 12). What communism lacks, due to ignorance by its perfect picture, is the aspect of proper management to further a country’s prestige.
Unfortunately, men of such character are a rarity; even rarer so, is it that such a person will actually become the king of a state. In addition, the threat of turning into a tyranny makes monarchy all the more risky (Samaras 2007). An aristocracy, if perpetually ruled by men of excellent virtue, would also be a form of government perhaps favorable to polity. However, all too often aristocracies favor law that benefits the rich and runs the risk of devolving into an oligarchy. Polity, or a constitutional democracy, is a system of government where the middle-class is the primary group of rulers.
Modern democracy is intended to be representative, yet it seems that corruption and political domination by the upper class have resulted in public disillusionment in politics. In India, for example, polls have shown that the majority prefers democracy, but the level of trust in elected officials is very low due to wealth-based campaigning, nepotism, and lack of transparency (Sen, pg. 90) in the election system. Thus it can be said that in democratic countries where corruption is prevalent, democracy can be undermined by an undemocratic system. The principles of democracy can also be undermined when equality ... ... middle of paper ... ...shown to be more stable and permanent than other forms of government that have been tried.
In The Republic by Plato, Plato constructed an ideal city where Philosophers would rule. Governed by an aristocratic form of government, it took away some of the most basic rights a normal citizen should deserve, freedom of choice, worship, and assembly were distressed. Though the idea of philosopher kings is good on paper, fundamental flaws of the human kind even described by Plato himself prevent it from being truly successful. The idea of an ideal democratic government like what our founding fathers had envisioned is the most successful and best political form which will ensure individual freedom and keep power struggle to a minimum. In Plato' "ideal" model of a city; he chose an aristocratic form of government, describing it as the rule of the most strong, wise and intelligent.
It is extreme oligarchy in its "distrust of the masses" and extreme democracy in its "hostility to the noteables" (Page 211). Aristotle says the best form is one based on merit. A combination between oligarchy and democracy is constitutional government. Although people can agree on what justice is, they often fail to reach it because they can not stop from pursuing their own goals and desires. A good government can moderate between what people think is just and what is best for the common good.