As Western Democracy Descends Into Tyranny, Plato’s Republic Becomes More Relevant Than Ever

It is sometimes said that originality is overrated. Many of those who claim to be original are actually borrowing someone else’s ideas or, at best, developing what has been “in the air” for a while. Or, more often than not, “original” thinkers develop ideas from premises they are not fully aware of and seem strangely surprised when they reach a logical yet unsettling conclusion.

Joseph de Maistre, a contemporary critic of the French Revolution, claimed that we were blinded by a “gross sophism”: being only able to see effects or to reach causes with difficulty, we would judge by such standards men of antique times “who saw effects into their causes.” Indeed, when one reads the works of antique thinkers, whether politicians or philosophers, one cannot believe for long in the antique-times-is-man’s-childhood narrative, which seem to have appeared between the eighteenth and nineteenth century and is consistent with the progressive view but should be considered, to say it politely, highly doubtful.

Plato’s Republic, a ten-book block of dense text, stands out as one of the classic works that are so rich they never seem to lose their relevance. Reading some of it anew, I was surprised to find a resemblance of the mentality many how-to-get-rich books foster, of modern individualism and of what seems unbearably like Marxist class struggle. Did Plato “see the effects in their causes”? Whatever the answer, he delineated a process moderns did not learn from.

How even a “perfect city” turns into an oligarchy

The bulk of the Republic deals with the “perfect constitution” or “perfect city.” As a pre-Hellenic Greek, Plato thought in terms of free cities rather than country, kingdom or empire, and his view of perfection remains local-scaled—which, as we will see, hardly changes a thing. The perfect city has a caste order that follows the priests-warriors-producers tripartition and is led by philosopher-kings, who are also able to contemplate eternal truths and master a wide range of knowledge including astrology.

After Plato went through the features of his ideal order, he asks through his mouthpiece Socrates how the city or political being may decay. “Clearly,” he says, “all political changes originate in divisions of the actual governing power; a government which is united, however small, cannot be moved.” (545d)

Corruption, and perhaps change in general, can only arise through discord between at least two factions. This will happen because of a mixture between the “races” of different castes—say, of the “golden race” of philosophers with the “bronze race” of merchants—that will create confusion, lack of sound judgment, and antagonisms. These will creep in and unfold progressively.

Aristocracy, the government of the best in the etymological sense, and the initially legitimate caste organization, degenerates in timocracy. The products of a mixture, timocrats are men who look for honours, recognition, and also wealth. They appreciate art and respect other free men, but are excessively harsh against slaves and inferior castes. Close from aristocrats, still virtuous and able to carry on many hardships, timocrats “lack purity” (549b). After they show great courage and military sense in their youth, they turn into wealth-hoarders with age. Dominated by their desires, creating envy and resentment because of their private hoarding, timocrats end up forgetting virtue and fostering enemies.

Timocracy, this close surrogate of aristocracy and equilibrated caste system, may triumph against all external foes thanks to the virile tendencies of its upper class. Still, it shows unable to deal with the internal enemy. An able man who takes the lead of a perilous expedition, even if he wins, may be hauled off to trial, berated by cowardly and envious sycophants who will take advantage of the least shortcoming to attack him (553a-b). The city starts punishing virtue and rewarding its soft underbelly. When sycophants win, the able and virtuous back away, not unlike the potential wealth creators under a State that punishes success.

Plato also mentions the role of women fanning the flames of rivalry. A virtuous man fulfills his own vocation, thus quietly benefiting the whole city, far from the noisy political show. This man has a wife and a son: the wife, always wanting for a “better” or higher-status mate—Plato knew about hypergamy—keeps complaining that her husband is not part of the governing group or of the top wealth bracket.

Further, when she sees her husband not very eager about money, and instead of battling and railing in the law courts or assembly,  taking whatever happens to him quietly;  and when she observes that his thoughts always centre in himself…  she is annoyed,  and says to her son that his father is only half a man and far too easy-going:  adding all the other complaints about her own ill-treatment which women are so fond of rehearsing. Yes, said Adeimantus, they give us plenty of them, and their complaints are so like themselves. (549d-e)

Interestingly, the stimulation of rivalry by women is part of a wider trend. People admire those who succeed in a ruthless political competition, especially when they meddle with other people’s legitimate business, whereas those who mind with their own are looked down upon (550a). Growing under such circumstances, more stimulated by these rows than by contemplating the higher levels of being the original aristocracy knew, the youth become busy running after honours or money—and here come hypocrisy, treachery, Machiavellianism and a loss of identification between the individual and the city.

When timocrats see how badly treated they are when they show brave and collective-minded actions, they fall back on their private wealth hoarding.

The accumulation of gold in the treasury of private individuals is the ruin of timocracy; they invent illegal modes of expenditure; for what do they or their wives care about the law? And then one, seeing another grow rich, seeks to rival him, and thus the great mass of the citizens become lovers of money. (550d-e)

This looks very much like Frédéric Bastiat’s famous “everyone wants to live off the State and the State lives off everyone.” Classical liberals want to believe the problem comes from the State, but in truth, it is just a means; the deeper root comes from the will to live off others, whether through usury, exploitation, rent-seeking or public funding.

Plato’s remarks about oligarchs also seem to be echoed by works like Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich dad, poor dad. The latter advises individuals who want to get rich to be frugal, aware of short-term passions, bias and desires so that they don’t get dominated by them, and industrious—all this so that they can have at other people wasting their money, then buying real estate and living off someone else’s rent.

And so they grow richer and richer, and the more they think of making a fortune the less they think of virtue; for when riches and virtue are placed together in the scales of the balance, the one always rises as the other falls. (550e)

Your money works, as Kiyosaki says, because other people work it, other people pay for your capital, and if you want to get rich, you’d better spot the opportunities to grow a capital and make some pay for it.

This predatory policy makes some people richer and richer and the rest, poorer. “In an oligarchic city, almost everyone but the upper class is a beggar” (552e). The so-called middle class, today, is made of such beggars who depend from a big company and SJW-managed reputation for their income.

Furthering their interests, seasoned oligarchs are hypocrites who maintain an austere, focused, mostly self-mastered life but encourage others, especially the young, to spend foolishly and drown into debt. “They want to lend with a heavy interest so that [if the creditor defaults] they can seize their goods, be even richer and even more appreciated.” (555c) Ah, the sweet perfume of foreclosures!

From oligarchy to democracy… and tyranny

By monopolizing many assets and turning the majority of their fellows into proles, the oligarchs create a major split. “Such a city won’t be one, but two: a city of poor and a city of rich, living in the same place and constantly conspiring against each other” (551d). The exploited youth, who awake to the grim reality of their own poverty, indebtedness, and lack of perspective, deeply resent the rich—especially those who feel they have a vocation but can’t realize it because all opportunities waned out.

The analogy between the two-city divide and the Marxist class struggle is too close to happen for chance, especially considering how classical liberalism and the industrial revolution happened first in modern times. We can see in passing that class opposition, far from being “the motor of history”, is the pathological product of an advanced stage in a degeneracy process.

Plato’s times weren’t ripe for hard-Left classism. Where a modern Marxist would have seen the “last stage of capitalism” before a classless society, Plato foresees the advent of democracy. The latter come when the oligarchs fail to repress or control a resentful majority: close wars, especially, are a good situation for exploited citizens, who notice how numerous and powerful they are against a few fat cats who sweat under the expensive armor.

Once they are able to unite, the exploited will take away the power, dispossess and banish the oligarchs, and establish an elective democracy. Here Plato refers implicitly to his own city, Athens, where many of the responsibilities were not voted but drawn by lot (557a).

Plato’s democracy looks strangely modern, not to say libertarian, whether in the right or the left sense. “In the democratic city, people can do whatever they want… everyone can arrange his own lifestyle at will.” (557b) To a superficial onlooker, this city is the most vibrant and the coolest: it looks like an “embroidered robe”, is full of individuals from various places, and works like a “bazaar” where political constitutions are on sale. People there do not need to assume any responsibility, can avoid draft, are free to pursue pleasure in their private setups, and so on. “Is this not a supremely delightful way of life, at least as long as it stands?” (558a)

Living an easy, luxurious life, the democratic people will lack any sense of discipline. Those who should not be equal—say, the immature students, the slaves, the women—will start fancying themselves so, behaving like responsible grownups, and jostle. Doesn’t that remind you the apparently puzzling evolution of 60s-70s “sexual emancipation” into the repressive, grievous, perpetually offended mindset of today SJWs?

At least timocracy and oligarchy were led by able, disciplined, competent men. Timocrats and oligarchs were clearly imperfect, yet they retained some greatness in them. Democrat men, in contrast, are mostly mediocre gratification-seekers and coward conformists. 60s-70s democracy becomes tyranny, the last form of government to spring up, thanks to the individuals’ self-chosen isolation and cowardice. Clearly, Plato would not be much surprised that the “tolerant” “free speech” apologists of the 60s led to a rigid Leftist dictatorship.

So what?

Nowadays, Plato’s Republic is taught every year in philosophy and political sciences classes. Even then, it looks like most students fail to glean any lessons from it, much less meditate it. Upper middle class female students likely prefer to “study” flattering material or dumb courses that mostly reflect contemporary entertainment “culture” than potentially ego-shattering truths.

What Plato describes here is a slippery slope. Each step leads to the following one because it fulfills specific conditions and creates a particular context where the latter can spring up. If Plato’s oligarchs were able to limit their own greed, perhaps the city would never degenerate into an anomic democracy (pleonasm?). If democrats didn’t spoil their youth by letting them turn into safe space-seeking crybullies, perhaps SJWness and tyranny would never appear.

Many lessons can be gleaned from the Republic. For now, I would say that the first one is we ought to struggle to become the aristocracy. Not merely in the superficial sense of a high status, but of building solid characters, virtues, abilities, and good habits. Money matters too, of course, but then we should look for it for personal independence and taking away the globalists’ power—not as a mean for idiotic pleasures that actually lead to dependence. Plato’s own example of the future oligarch’s self-mastery retains much relevance. As the author of another Republic titled book, Jean Bodin, would say, “true wealth lies in men.” The rest is secondary.

Read Next: What Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave Teaches Men

78 thoughts on “As Western Democracy Descends Into Tyranny, Plato’s Republic Becomes More Relevant Than Ever”

  1. Related, Aristotle laid out the hierarchy of governments. In order, they are:
    – Monarchy – rule of a just single ruler for the benefit of his people
    – Aristocracy – rule of a just collective for the benefit of the people
    – Republic – rule of a just, publicly elected collective for the benefit of the people
    – Tyranny – rule of an evil ruler for his benefit
    – Oligarchy – rule of a collective for its benefit
    – Democracy – mob rule
    In his mind, monarchy was best but could become tyranny (best of evils). Aristocracy is good but can become oligarchy, and republics tend toward democracies (which improve, usually, into tyrannies or oligarchies).

    1. This shows how retarded leftists are. Shouldn’t they ban different scoops?
      Also, why does alienating your customers aid this cause? Are there no fags that like double scoops of the same flavor?
      Also, very easy to troll this. Order two single scoops and then very visibly and publicly combine them right in front of the cashier. Leave the unneeded scoop on the counter to make it a pain in the ass for them.

      1. This shows how retarded leftists are. Shouldn’t they ban different scoops?
        Apparently they see nothing wrong with homophobic-heterophobia.

        1. You know, I thought of an even better way to troll this – order a scoop, and when you get it, lick it. Then go, “wow, that’s great! you know what – let me get another scoop of the same.”
          When they refuse, say “well fuck you, if you’re not going to give me what I want to buy, then I’m taking my business elsewhere.” Put the licked cone down on the counter and walk out.

      2. “The measure of a man is what he does with power.”
        ― Plato
        Antagonizing low-wage, teenage cashier’s, who don’t know or care about the owner’s politics, is a beta-bully move.

        1. I’ve worked as a low-wage cashier. Since these teenage cashiers are asked to enforce this policy, I doubt very seriously that they don’t know about their owner’s politics. And having to bear the brunt of commercial backlash is just the price you pay for working for an employer that decides to sell politics instead of products. So the cashiers can cry me a river.

      1. Like Winnie the Pooh says “fuk bishes get honey”

        1. Is that a real shirt or did you photo shop it. If real I will be buying immediately

        2. I think it is I’m far too lazy to photoshop anything. You can pick colors as well!

        3. Already found a tank top and ordered. Can’t wait to rock it

        4. You’ll be the alpha for Disney bitches, ZFG slaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

    2. Used to like them. Now it looks like I’ve had my last Ben and Jerry’s ice cream ever.

    3. That is the dumbest fucking thing I’ve heard all week. How do they expect anyone to sympathize with them because of this? I stopped buying their ice cream when they endorsed BLM. No loss, it’s full of toxins and chemicals anyway.

      1. The fact that retarded Americans think their ice cream is quality goes to show how lost they are on their own nutrition. There are dozens of quality ice cream labels with real ingredients instead of the chemistry set those fudge packers sell.

        1. Yeah those Americans, always bragging about the quality of their ice cream…
          I think we’re pretty much all in agreement that it’s bad for your health. Fatasses chose to eat in anyway but I never heard any of them say, “woooo this is some high quality ice cream right here.”
          Strange comment.

        2. Good ice cream has a minimal amount of ingredients. In fact, you can expand that into anything you eat. Ben & Jerry’s has a lot of chemicals despite the marketing impression and cost being high end.

        3. I worked at a BJs plant over the summer a few years back. Can confirm.
          They run packaging machines at twice their rated speed and when a machine fucks up they sell the mess as pig slop.

      2. What do you even mean by “toxins and chemicals”? You realize EVERTYHING is made of chemicals, right?

        1. Golly-gee whiz, thank science for intellectuals like you who sneeringly correct minor phrasing infractions on the internet, amirite?

        2. Some ‘chemicals’ are more ‘chemical-ly’ than others:
          Retired Admirals and Generals have been sounding the National Security Issue the USA has, as a direct result of our decreasing health and increasing weight:

          MSG is an addictive flavoring, disguised on packaging as ‘natural flavoring’, and about 50 other different names; this is the substance researchers feed rats to get them to plump-up fast; we stay away from MSG by remembering, “Fat Rat!”, in our family.
          Corn-Syrup…is fucking corn-syrup, does anybody still buy processed food with that shit in it, anymore?

        3. Excruciatingly Tedious! UWOTM8, that characteristic is a pet-peeve of mine, also.
          I find people that interrupt the flow of ideas during casual speaking and written ‘conversations’, in order to correct syntax or spelling, dull; I’m always so grateful when it happens on Disqus…
          Tedious-Semantics-Man, (or Woman), is never fun to find myself sitting next to at a dinner party.

        4. “MSG is an addictive flavoring, disguised on packaging as ‘natural flavoring’, ”
          It is natural. If you are against it then have fun not consuming tomatoes, cheese, vegetable oil, or yeast, all of which already contain MSG without being added in.
          “this is the substance researchers feed rats to get them to plump-up fast”
          Can you cite me with one of these research papers? I mean, actually you don’t have to, because even if it is true there is zero reason for me to believe it translates into humans, as rats and humans have fundamentally different bodies.
          It’s actually very, very, very well known why America is having so many obesity problems: THEY EAT TOO MUCH!
          Corn Syrup? Corn Syrup is just an inverted sugar, so instead of Fructose and Glucose bonded to make Sucrose, it’s just the Glucose and Fructose in a mixture. Your body literally makes the exact same thing after consuming sugar, all corn syrup does is remove the first step of breaking the sucrose.
          Anyways, neither of these have anything to do with the discussion, as Ben And Jerry’s doesn’t use them in their ice cream.

        5. It isn’t just a matter of minor phrasing, your sides entire argument is that 1) Chemicals are inherently bad. 2) Ben & Jerry’s contains chemicals 3) Therefore Ben & Jerry’s is inherently bad.
          And the best way to break this is show that chemicals aren’t inherently bad, as everything contains chemicals.

        6. Are you daft? It’s a euphemism. OBVIOUSLY everything is composed of “chemicals” in the vaguest, elementary sense. The distinction is in HARMFUL chemicals and compounds that have insidious, unhealthy and unsafe consequences on the human body.
          My “side”? My side is any human being that doesn’t want poison in their food. Your argument is literally based on semantics when absolutely anyone who doesn’t have your particular brand of obliviousness and density would know exactly what I’m talking about.
          I get the impression that you believe this website is the same as Breitbart or Fox. This ain’t that kind of website, bruv.

        7. Ever looked on the back of one and seen all of the high fructose corn syrup, soy oils and other compounds in it? I made that choice based on evidence I personally found and I don’t particularly care what you think. I know what I’m willing to avoid and what i can live without. I’ve eliminated numerous food items from my diet due to such findings. Frankly, you’re wasting your time and not making a very good point, either.

        8. Your still trying to dodge your original point. You claimed Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is “full of chemicals” you seem to be focusing on corn syrup and soy oil, NEITHER OF WHICH are used in Ben &Jerry’s. For that matter, neither of them are compounds, and none of these are my opinions, they are basic chemistry and label information. I want to know what you think, why are you so apposed to said chemicals?

      3. It is not dumb if they get the kind of attention they want. That is what counts in advertisement, not if it makes sense or not.

      1. Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !sm138c:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. Follow this link for more information
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      2. Try true italian gellato. You’ll never eat one of those BandJ crap again.

        1. love how he asks the children to leave half way thru the video lulz

    4. How dare they refuse service based on their beliefs. I hope someone sues them.

    5. It might be coincidence but the gay rights strategy book ‘after the ball’ aimed to get the public to think about gayness as just another flavour of ice-cream or something. If you consider that heterosexuality is often labelled ‘vanilla’ then by the same logic every non-vanilla flavour ice-cream is some kind of gay or LGBTQ variant. Everything is gay but vanilla
      “The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights. To desensitize the public is to help it view homosexuality with indifference instead of with keen emotion. Ideally, we would have straights register differences in sexual preference the way they register different tastes for ice cream or sports games: she likes strawberry and I like vanilla; he follows baseball and I follow football. No big deal. At least in the beginning, we are seeking public desensitization and nothing more. We do not need and cannot expect a full “appreciation” or “understanding” of homosexuality from the average American. You can forget about trying to persuade the masses that homosexuality is a good thing. But if only you can get them to think that it is just another thing, with a shrug of their shoulders, then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won.”

    6. Ice Cream, and other processed foods with added “sugar” and flour, other sorts of mass produced ingredients, only wind up in your midsection, giving you a pot belly. Its best to avoid eating that kind of shit.

    7. They get on their high horse about that, but they had no problem eliminating their old wage system where their CEO’s couldn’t earn more than X amount of their average worker.
      What a fraud.

    1. implicitly, I would say.
      The filthy (((communists))) want everyone to be equal, eg no classes, no genders, no culture.
      But of course they need an elite to decide how such a society remains intact.

      1. “The filthy (((communists))) want everyone to be equal, eg no classes, no genders, no culture.”
        “Remember though some animals or more equal than others.”

        1. “Remember though some animals or more equal than others.”
          Feminist version: Equal, but different.

    2. Communism was essentially state capitalism.
      The assets of the national capitalists were stolen by the (((communists))), and on the long run were handed over to the (((international capitalists))) on a silver plate.

    3. Yes the aim is to dominate or control things like the economy through force, deception etc not merit..

    4. Remember on Clue what Tim Currey’s character would say? “Communism is a (((red herring)))”. Subtly subversive and all that.

  2. Plato was an aristocrat and believed that discipline, self restraint and the development of the mind led back to the divine in human nature.
    His State, would neither be democratic or egalitarian in the modern sense and philosophers like Popper attacked him as the instigator of fascist, which, I think is odd, considering the term which is akin to nationalism was only formulated in the 19th century.
    Plato was acute in ascribing “mente” or spirit to males (also meaning the propensity to evil in some cases) even though he thought women were capable with “proper” education of coming to an understanding of the divine element in humanity.

    1. Plato and Aristotle complement each other perfectly. The only philosophers a man really needs.
      Good article.

    1. Nah, he used socrates’ famous name to give more credence to his personal beliefs. His later books omit Socrates entirely. We don’t really know where socrates’ actual teachings end or where plato’s begins, and there​ is a good chance that none of the dialogues actually occured as written. The issues discussed were concrete however; they definitely don’t mean anything other than what they say they mean.

  3. Very good article and articulation. Plato’s REPUBLIC was the first philosophy book I read at 25, just because I wanted to read something by a philosopher. I am going to have to crack it open again as this author has hinted I am going to find a LOT more in it in my 40s now than at 25. Again, excellent post.

  4. Last week, the high point of life in our own republic was when the journalist for the Guardian got body slammed by the Montana dude. Who still won.

  5. There are four key works the current (marxist, neocon, nwo) elite use as their primary guides: The Republic, The Protocols (long game goals), The Prince (tactics), 1984 and Brave New World.
    They see themselves as the aristocracy, superior and ruling over the entire world and it’s masses. Who, by the way, they hold in utter contempt. If you get familiar with these books, you will see every major political, military and social movement thing that happens is no accident. More importantly, you’ll know exactly what’s coming next…

    1. For those that pay attention to professional sports these days (I know, it’s beta, I’m trying to wean myself from such time-wasting pursuits), Kevin Pillar of the baseball Toronto Blue Jays and Ryan Getzlaf of the hockey Anaheim Ducks have recently been forced to issue grovelling apologies, undergo suspensions (in Pillar’s case) and otherwise demonstrate contrition and admit that their behaviour is unacceptable, and meekly beg forgiveness.
      Their hideous crime, of course, is to use “homophobic” slurs directed at other players/officials in game action. God forbid today’s pro athlete refrain from revering the Holy Homosexual.

      1. Eh, following sports is better than a lot of other forms of entertainment, although I do agree that wearing jerseys with another guys name on it is kinda overboard. And yes, I did hear about the Kevin Pillar situation. It seems Rob Manfred is taking the league in much more of a feminist/SJW direction. Bud Selig received a lot of criticism during his tenure for various reasons, but that was something he kept to a minimum.
        Anyway, to me, sports are relevant. And when these kinds of things happen, it needs coverage from sites like ROK. Just my two cents.

    2. Southern Man, I am mourning one of the greatest Southern Men today:
      The Allman Brothers are together, again:
      RIP Greg (December 8, 1947-May 27, 2017);
      Duane’s been waiting for you, (November 20, 1946-October 29, 1971)

      1. Nice idea. I love the music. But when you die, you go to the grave, not to Heaven. Else, why is there a resurrection and judgment day yet ahead…?

  6. Back when I studied Plato, I remember he advocated appointing engineering and scientists as leaders and rulers. He wanted benevolent dictator type rulers who were wise and smart. Well that is the take away message that I got from Platonic philosophy anyways.

  7. Now in the west we have sheeple masses and an Idiocracy situation taking place.

  8. The descent into baser forms of governance with the accumulation of wealth, unless social institutions evolve with that wealth, is a constant. Classical civilization’s great example is the Roman Republic, which is similar to Plato’s words. After the victory over Hannibal, wealth and slaves poured into Italy from foreign conquests. The army began to change as freehold farmers were thrown off their land, and class divisions began to form with factions were more loyal to other identities than to Rome itself.

  9. Good piece, but desperately in need of proofing by a native English-speaker.

  10. I don’t think there is anything wrong with oligarchy – the problem is in the ideas that this generation’s leader is spreading. There is great ignorance among CEO’s, scholars, politicians etc. The next wave of power will hopefully have a more enlightened view of human nature – I’ll certainly do my best to make that happen.

  11. What we are seeing around the western world today is the liberal elite losing power, they are losing their minds that they are losing the support of common people so they are becoming more and more reactionary more and more open to anti-democratic actions.

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