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Plato's critisism of democracy (Read 3629 times)
Gerrit-Jan Linker
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Plato's critisism of democracy
10.05.11 at 22:28:10
Plato's critisism of democracy
Plato’s criticisms of democracy are of two kinds, “political” and “social.”  

  • political criticisms  

    • Leaders in a democracy would first of all seek popularity, rather than statesmanship.  
    • Elected representatives in a democracy would tend to pander to the wishes of the electorate rather than do what they think is right. If not, they are thrown out of office.  
    • Democratic leaders are therefore also tempted to focus on short-term goals at the expense of long-term needs of society.  
    • As a consequence, democracies also have an in-built tendency to spend more than they take in.  

  • social criticisms

    • Debate in democratic politics will become superficial and focus more on images, less on substantive issues.  
    • In the electoral process, “images” would come to dominate in democracies over substantive debate.  
    • This set of criticisms touches on deeper themes in Plato’s thought:  the distinction between “appearance” and “reality”.
    • Democracy is especially flawed in this regard. In a democracy, people are awash in images; they wallow in  
    • Societies focused on images and appearances like this are easy prey to those interested in manipulating public beliefs to their own advantage, rather than finding the truth.  
    • As a final example of how images dominate in democratic societies, Plato suggests that in democratic  
      societies people will tend to eat poorly.  

Plato's republic.
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« Last Edit: 10.05.11 at 22:47:06 by Gerrit-Jan Linker »  

Gerrit-Jan Linker
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