Reading about democracy being a myth reminded me of Plato’s views on democracy.
I was reading an article in The Walrus titled The Myth of American Democracy. Here are two quotes from the article that resonated with me:
The self-glorifying opposition to Trump is as foolish as the man himself.
Meanwhile, in the White House gilded cage, the unscripted and overweight canary sings his ferocious songs of sixpence.
The first quote goes on to describe “The Resistance” and how Americans against Trump desire impeachment even if it is unjust, it will mean he is no longer president.
I’ve had friends that I went to highschool with in the 1990s before social medias such as Facebook were around, unfriend me on Facebook because of the election. I normally don’t use Facebook as a sounding board perhaps because I was brought up in a different time.
To be honest, it was probably for the best because their post with hashtags of “Trump not being their president” made me find them childish. The same as I find the MAGA slogan foolish.
This article described my feelings on both sides and had me recalling Plato’s view on democracy.
Plato’s 5 regimes (5 forms of government) interested me long before Trump’s presidency.
Plato discussed in his Republic – Book VIII the 5 forms of government. They are Aristocracy, Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, and Tyranny. Here is a link to Fact/Myth and an explanation of each form of government per Plato with in depth examples. I will quote the basic example of how democracy leads to tyranny
The problem is, when everyone has total liberty and equality, the state is destined to descend into anarchy and then tyranny.
Plato uses a lot of metaphors and there leaves room for a lot of debate over take aways from each form. What I basically understand about Plato’s theory is that in all life’s goodness, everyone is equal in every way possible. However, eventually one or more ways will be desired above others, so it leads to the next form of government. This government will give away to the next. Once democracy fails, their is chaos.
From the chaos of democracy failing comes a leader and this leader probably will be cheered on as a hero because he’s restoring order. The people want him to lead until the chaos is gone and the people without realizing it, vote the leader into full power. When there’s no more chaos, the people will once again want to share power but the leader who is use to being praised and unquestioned will refuse. The once hero becomes a tyrant. Eventually, the tyrant must be over thrown which brings the government and power back to the beginning where every person shares in everything. This will repeat.
As I said, I’ve used examples that make sense in my mind without over explaining the virtues that each form possess according to Plato. Just like the tyrant may not be the people’s hero. He may just be the one to step in when democracy fails to end the chaos the failure causes.
I can see though that America is divided and it seems half consider Trump to be a hero while the other half view him as a tyrant.
Regardless of which side a person is on, it seems Plato’s 5 regimes that will repeat themselves again and again are very much accurate.
This of course is just my mind over thinking things. I don’t agree democracy is a myth but obviously the founders of America didn’t consider all aspects as Plato did because no man is created equal when it comes to power, money, or other things people lust for. Philosophers for many years have ask should each man hold all virtues equal or should they be divided up? The checks and balances are bound to separate due to the very nature of man. I find that in itself extremely thought provoking.