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Justice in “The Republic” by Plato

Central Question of Plato’s Republic

In The Republic, Plato’s strategy entails explicating the primary notion of justice, political or societal, and deriving a comparable idea of justice. Plato’s perfect society comprises three classes of persons, including guardians, auxiliaries, producers, in which a just society is developed when these categories of people are right. Plato’s reasons for justice form the centerpiece of his ideal society (Bloom and Adam 41). Therefore, in Plato’s Republic, the central question is what justice is and how individuals act justly in their lives.

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Plato addresses his central questions in the dialogue using individuals and political communities and presents the argument that justice is in individuals’ best interest in each situation, and it is not always self-evident. The desirability of justice is linked to the close connection between the just life and the forms of living. According to Plato, justice is paramount, and it matters because just life integrates ultimate goods and imitation of order and harmony into an individual’s life. In Republic, Plato depicts that justice is virtuous due to its connection to the highest good, which is known to be the method of the good.

Furthermore, in the book Plato defines justice and creates it as the greatest good, upon which he banishes poets from his city, claiming that they appeal to the soul’s basest part by imitating unjust inclinations. Plato asserts that poetry makes people indulge in emotions that sympathize with the characters that they hear, causing them to become unjust. Plato also relates justice by describing the trajectory of a soul after death (Bloom and Adam 121). He demonstrates that just souls are rewarded for one thousand years in the same manner as unjust ones are punished for the same period, and every soul must decide on the life it chooses next. Therefore, in conclusion about the central question of Plato’s Republic is that justice matters in one’s life due to its significant impact.

Perspective of Democracy

During crises, it is a time that needs a quick reaction, which results in autocracies where there is a creation of strong incentives to concentrate power on the state executive and weaken other institutions. At a time like this, the pandemic puts the government in a difficult position with uncertainty pushing them to adopt autocracy and use measures that contradict basic democratic principles during regular times. The government takes extraordinary measures to protect public interests even if those measures pose restriction on fundamental rights but meets certain conditions and are non-discriminatory (Bloom and Adam 24). However, using this system does not give the people ownership of their destiny that can be attained through democracy. By definition, democracy is a form of government in which the people elect the rulers. Unlike the autocratic government, in a democracy, it is the people who run the government. Therefore, the prime reason that democracy is regarded as the best form of government is because the public elects the rulers of the country, and the government is run by and for the people.

In addition, democracy aims at improving the decision-making process and quality provision of methods for dealing with conflicts and differences. Through democracy, citizens’ dignity is enhanced, and individuals are allowed to correct their own mistakes. Therefore, based on the prolonged impact of the ongoing crisis of the pandemic, the argument by President Biden about democracy is correct. To end autocracies in the modern world in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for giving people ownership of their destiny. Using democracy establishes the best methods to fight against the crisis and formulate a quality decision-making process. In addition, through democracy, people’s opinions are expressed openly, giving them the right to live without any consequences of the decisions they make (Bloom and Adam 86). However, democracy originates from oligarchy, where freedom is the supreme good and an act of slavery. In a democracy, there is also an increasing class of poor people wherein they become the victor freely doing whatever they want and live according to their wishes, including breaking the law if they wish.

Regarding President Biden’s argument on democracy, Plato represents democracy using a democratic man in which he describes the necessary desires that an individual possesses to survive. Plato asserts that democratic man takes all significant interests in things he can afford using his money. Plato reveals that a democratic man is concerned more about his possession than helping others, and his life does not have any priority. Therefore, based on the argument of President Biden, Plato does not believe that democracy is the best form of government. According to Plato, equality results in power-seeking persons who are driven by self-interest to become very unprincipled, which eventually leads to tyranny. Plato perceives democratic government as being unstable and lacking leaders with morals and proper skills; as a result, it is a dangerous government that drives the poor against the wealthy rulers (Bloom and Adam 849). Democracy prioritizes property and wealth accumulation against the wellbeing and needs of people; therefore, with Plato, it is not best to apply to a modern crisis.

In Plato’s Republic, Plato raised many objections about democracy where he appealed that democracy was at risk because of extreme freedom. Plato argues that a scheme where everybody has the right to rule causes many self-centered persons who do not care for anything but get inspiration through their desires to gain power. Therefore, democracy risks carrying demagogues, autocrats, and dictators to power. Plato also claims that democracy has leaders that lack suitable morals or skills, and it is improbable that those who are well prepared to rule come to power. Using Socrates, Plato demonstrates democracy using an analogy of a shipowner and the sailors where the shipowner surpasses all those individuals aboard. Still, his vision is impaired, and he has bad navigation knowledge.

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On the other hand, sailors argue who should take control of the helm despite lacking knowledge of navigation. After the sailors agree on convincing the shipowner, they manage to trick the shipowner into giving over the helm without knowledge of navigation (Bloom and Adam 390). As such, the shipowner is seen as a useless star watcher. In this case, the true captain represents a philosopher-king who is an ideal ruler that understands the forms of goodness and justice. Plato’s objection is therefore valid and sound because democracy gives rise to individuals who care only about themselves and not others.

Plato’s Demigod

According to Plato, demigods are transcendent, forming the most perfect and highest being that uses eternal forces to fashion the universe. The city believes in the gods as a form of good. President Trump presented concisely the benefits of a lifestyle embraced by Thrasymachus, a villain of Plato from his Republic. The habits of Thrasymachus are similar to that of President Trump, such that he defended unjust life just because it is more pleasurable and profitable (Bloom and Adam 89). Plato also demonstrates Thrasymachus having an insatiable appetite that is never got satisfied. The description of insatiable appetite is used as one way of describing how one does not get satisfied with the resources available, resulting in a political tyrant like President Trump. In the U.S., the degeneration of democracy into tyranny resulted in a society which is in chaos.

Plato’s Society

Over the past years, since there has not been an ideal society, no society has ever been run by a philosopher. Plato thinks that philosophers should rule society because they are knowledgeable about how to rule, and they are better at knowing the truth (Bloom and Adam 18). The natural virtues and aptitudes of the philosophers prove that they possess what is needed for them to rule well. It is because philosophers hate falsehood, they are quick learners, moderate, courageous, have a good memory, have pleasant nature, love what is rather than what becomes, and they like proportion as it resembles the truth. Based on the analogy of the ship as demonstrated by Socrates, philosophers are falsely blamed for their uselessness. Socrates warns against individuals who are likely to falsely claim as philosophers since the present political regimes direct to destruct or corrupt the philosophers. In a just city, the political rule rest on know-how which the philosopher-kings have and not authority. However, in theory, it would be perfect if the contemporary state and the Republic were governed by information and not power.

In conclusion, Plato argues that philosophers and political powers will come into similar hands when philosophers become rulers of the world. It can be depicted that Plato bringing about justice and happiness in the Republic by using knowledgeable people is ideal but highly unrealistic. Therefore, the argument of Plato requires individuals to be disinterested in political processes and leave the opinions and rights in the hands of a caring dictator, a somewhat unrealistic argument.

Work Cited

Bloom, Allan, and Adam Kirsch. The Republic of Plato. Vol. 2. Basic Books, 1968. Web.

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