Would Plato be a libertarian

Sunday, September 15, 2002
Posted in category Uncategorized

Would Plato be a libertarian today?: Some simple and quick thoughts on Plato’s conception of the State.

Though he tried to create a rational theory of the State, he condemns the tyrannical State, of course. He attacked the “might is right” conception of the Power State espoused by the sophists and Athenian politicians.

In keeping with today’s times, Plato said the poems of Tyrtaeus (which praised the Spartan ideal of courage) should be rewritten so that military courage is not worshipped, but instead, military courage should be replaced by higher and nobler things. Was Plato speaking to the modern neocons?

In Phaedo, Plato declared it simplistic and erroneous to think that men who followed written statutes were righteous and just. Instead, he elevated men who made the choice to follow social and civic virtues. To Plato, man chooses his own demons, making the current system of representative democracy a mockery of acting man exercising reason via guiding principles to improve his lot in life. After all, eudaimonia is not preserved through a coercive system of “pay to play”. Rational thought is certainly not exercised via sending David Bonior to Washington to secure another 500,000 acres of federal wetland property, nor is it exercised by the 435 men of Congress imposing a senseless Observing Infertility Awareness Week upon the nation.

Though Plato advocated a State that chose “good demons”, he did not advocate anything near what we have today in terms of a mushrooming welfare-warfare State. And there are no good demons.

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