The Ideal Leader

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How would the world be different if we had a president who habitually did the right thing and was admired by everyone? In a world where the political scene is constantly changing and is often dominated by tyrants, we can go back in time and gather wisdom from Plato as to what an ideal leader looks like. For instance, most leaders we see today are proud, self-seeking and trapped in a cave that tells them that success comes from oppression and looking out for their own good; however, Plato shows us in Paragraph 65 that “if they go about, hungering for their own private advantage… the civil and domestic broils which thus arise will be the ruin of the rulers and state.” As we have seen time and time again (Saddam Hussein, etc) leaders who merely look out for themselves will eventually come to ruin-so indeed Plato’s ideas still apply today. But what is an ideal leader and how would he go about leading? To undertake this journey to find what an ideal leader looks like, we must first know what the characteristics of government officials are be according to Plato. In the last section (53) of the Allegory of the cave, Plato reveals to us what he believes to be the ideal leader. The first thing that must define this leader is that he must be enlightened. This is the foundation because all of the other characteristics flow out of this enlightenment. There are a couple of things that flow out of this, one is that this enlightened the leader should then have a deep desire to free his countrymen from the deception of the cave (57). And also if leader is enlightened, Plato gives us one more character trait that should describe him, and that is that he must be a reluctant servant (61), not desiring to exercise power over those under him. I t... ... middle of paper ... ...ntries who would seek to harm them. The value of having a leader with some of these characteristics I think would be immense, not only would we have a flourishing society, we would also have a great leader. So even though today’s world is much different from the world in Plato’s day, I think we can learn from the great minds of the past and apply some of what they all thought to how we perceive a good leader. When you think about it, a lot of what Plato is saying here is really the foundation to democratic leadership, and therefore even in a very old document we can still find truths which can be applied today. And while we will never find a ideal human leader like the one Plato describes in this allegory, I think we will see leaders that come along with some of these characteristics and if we are able to recognize them we could have a very special leader.
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