A double dozen centuries ago (about 380 BC) Plato wrote a treatise called “The Republic.” The system of government described bore essentially none of the characteristics that would come to define what anyone else ever called a Republic. The Roman Republic bore far more resemblance to what the Founding Fathers of the US called a Republic than anything Plato wrote about.
Plato’s Republic was a sort of totalitarian “meritocracy.” The people who were best at farming were assigned to be farmers. Those best at war were assigned to the army. And so on. And at the top of it all, the Philosopher Kings, who decided who would be farmers (because, of course, the Philosopher Kings–the central planners of the Republic–knew who would be best at farming). They decided who would be soldiers (because the central planners knew best). They decided who would do every task. And all would work not for their own benefit but for the greater good of the whole.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Marxism (as it’s come to be known, which Thomas Sowell notes is somewhat different from what Marx actually wrote) or “Socialism” in the modern day. A centrally planned economy (and “economy” ends up functionally meaning “everything you do”) organized not for individual benefit and certainly not for the “greed” of those engaged in business but for the “greater good” of society.
This social vision is portrayed as “progressive”. It’s supposed to be new and forward thinking. And yet, it’s simply the writings of a 19th century philosopher that have failed every time anyone has actually attempted (or claimed to attempt) to put them into practice. Lenin’s “reinterpretation” a century ago was the only “advancement” of those particular ideas that have happened since (not counting the endless ways of repackaging the same ideas, wrapped in new rhetoric, to disguise the long series of failures) and that a century ago.
“Progressive” has somehow come to mean the regurgitation of a century or more old set of ideas that have failed every time anyone has tried to sell them to the masses.
Every. Single. Time.
But it’s actually worse than that. Marxism, as reinterpreted by Lenin, is nothing more than the concept of the Philosopher Kings wrapped in new rhetoric. It’s the divine right of kings with proper socialist thought replacing bloodlines. The inbreeding is intellectual rather than genetic, but just as deadly as any hemophiliac princes. More, since while a hemophiliac prince might be in danger of bleeding to death, the inbred ideas of the “progressive elite” risk bleeding the whole society to death.
A double dozen centuries of tyranny and oppression for the people at large, for economic failure that spreads misery and poverty.
This is “progressive.”
7 thoughts on “The New Philosopher Kings”
Is there intelligent life on Planet Earth? 😦
Agent K: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”
So, individuals? Yes. En mass? Not in this lifetime.
I know you were engaging in snark but I thought it deserved a serious answer.
And, indeed, this is why liberty is so important. Freedom allows those individuals to exercise their intelligence as individuals where as part of a mass, you get “dumb, panicky, dangerous animals.”
And people wonder why I so commonly call the Hard Left Democrats “Regressive.” Kids, the direction they want to take us ain’t forward…
It’s a problem of not understanding the utterly most basic problem of Information. INFINITE information is required for Enlightened, Just, Wise allocation. Information availability is FINITE. Thus the “chaotic” marketplace will ALWAYS out-perform Central Planning, no matter how well-intended – and much is NOT well-intended, but GRAFT-DRIVEN. See: Power corrupts.
(Ox slow, and even slow OX ‘get it’. People should be SMARTER than ox!)