Why Socrates is not Guilty of Treason
O men of Athens! After we have heard the accusers, whom said that Socrates corrupts the youth by criticising democracy and does not believe in gods, and makes the worse appear the better cause. (Apology, Plato) I beg you to grant me a favor, please listen to a few words from me before making this decision.
Socrates and I grew up alongside the Athenian democracy, and experienced her vicissitudes in the past seventy years. We have both heard and experienced cycle of five types of governments that Socrates had mentioned. (Plato, Republic 8.547e) Our democracy was established hundreds years ago under Cleisthenes and turned to tyranny under Isagoras. In our childhood, Athens was a timarchy, and then Pericles ruled Athens with the assembly and transformed it as an oligarchy. Then there came the devastating Peloponnesian war. After our defeat Athens became democracy till the evil Thirties came to power and she became tyranny, until our honorable Thrasybulus restored democracy since four years ago, and our lives improved immensely ever since. Have experienced all the toils and troubles, we love and treasure democracy too much to lose her again. Socrates’ criticisms on democracy are solely for the purpose of improving our democracy, as only then we can protect her from falling into those evil despots like Isagoras’ and Thirty Tyrants’ hands again in the future. When Socrates criticised democracy, he reminded me of when I criticised my sons in order to improve them and by these improvements they can be further secured from unknown dangers in the future. He only taught the youths the defects in our democracy as there are not many ...
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...and again? Is it just to kill such a person just by his wishes for improving and saving democracy from future despots, and to awake us Athenians, and all his wishes are made under gods’ will?
We are all advocates for democracy; killing a person for his different opinion is not democracy. Killing can only be argued if more people would be saved from this deed, but Socrates does in no way endanger the security of the people of Athens. By killing him we can save no one, but leaving his wife and children in destitution, like what the savagery Spartans did to us!
3.1. Thucydidies and Warner, R. (1972). History of the Peloponnesian War ([Rev. ed.). Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin Books.
Plato, and Hugh Tredennick. (1969). "Apology". The Last Days of Socrates. Harmondsworth: Penguin,
Bloom, A. (1991). The Republic of Plato (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books.
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