Philosophers must become kings

The society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, till philosophers are kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.

Plato, Republic, 473 d,e, (380BC)

And these philosopher-rulers (presumably men like Plato himself), says Plato, will be ‘saviours of our society’ (Republic, 502, d)

in The Republic, Plato’s hope for change for the better in man’s lot is the application of external factors, i.e. educational, environmental and of course through eugenics (good breeding). Bad nurture causes ills he avers.

Plato, like Marx and Rousseau failed to appreciate the need to transform man by the new birth. They believed in changing society to change man instead of changing man that society would be transformed.

The consequence of this thinking is the totalitarianism that flowed through their political children: From Marx the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union etc., and from Rousseau the Terror of the French Revolution.


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