“I suppose the makers of the laws are the weaker sort of men, and the more numerous. So it is with a view to themselves and their own interest that they make their laws and distribute their praises and censures; [483c] and to terrorize the stronger sort of folk who are able to get an advantage, and to prevent them from getting one over them, they tell them, that such aggrandizement is foul and unjust, and that wrongdoing is just this endeavor to get the advantage of one’s neighbors” (Plato’s Republic) (Plato and Totalitarianism on World Future Fund )
In this quote above, Plato makes the point that the promise of equality is often the way for weak men in power to prevent a stronger man from taking their power away.
PLATO’S CONTEMPT FOR DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY
In the Western, Liberal Academic experience, an Introduction to Plato is compulsory in any Classical and Philosophical Textbook. Yet one point that many educational institutions do not make is that Plato was vehemently opposed to ideas of “equality” and Democracy.
As Plato said in The Republic, “The probable outcome of too much freedom is only too much slavery in the individual and the state.” (Plato and Totalitarianism on World Future Fund )
ARE DEMOCRACIES RULED BY THE WEAK?
For those who don’t pave their way to power with stacks of Benjamins, the other route is mesmerizing rhetoric or false promises.
Strong men do not occupy seats of power.
Men and women of fortitude have the strength to handle the truth. It takes courage to admit failure. Admitting failure is necessary to rebuilding a new and better system. If an honest person were to assume the mantle of authority, he would tell the American people the truth about how fucked up things are. An alcoholic needs to admit their problem as the first step of recovery. We need to admit our debt addiction if this country is to get back on track. Instead, most of our leaders are afraid to tell us what is really going on. They mollify us with promises of peace and prosperity, while tacitly endorsing more war, more bankruptcy and more environmental destruction.
DEMOCRACY IS BUILT ON THE “PROMISE” OF EQUALITY,
BUT IS ABSOLUTE EQUALITY REAL?
Total Equality by its very nature is not fully possible – unless we were a bunch of cogs in a machine. Humans are all born different, with different strengths and weaknesses, varying levels of intelligence and vastly different amounts of will power and excellence.
(However, I vehemently disagree with this argument as a justification for 19th century, Darwinian Racism. Today’s scientists have shown that diversity builds genetic strength by selecting the best (dominant) traits available from the gene pool. Mutts are healthier than Pure Breads for example.)
Hierarchies of power have never been more evident in a society than the one we live in today. The disparity of wealth in today’s world rivals anything that the Pharohs and Caesars ever had.
So why continue to lie about equality? Why continue pretending that the extreme hierarchies of wealth and power don’t exist?
REDUCING CONTESTS FOR POWER
AFFIRMING THE LEGITIMACY OF CORRUPTION AND INCOMPETENCE
Equality and Democracy are the ideas that anyone in power has a legitimate right to be there because they won the seat by majority rule. So no matter how tyrannical that person might be they must be doing something right, because the majority rules, right?
The reality though, is that our choice in leadership is much more limited than we think. The “majority” also has much less influence than we think. In America, the Democratic and Republican Party share a political monopoly where few other parties have a realistic chance in competing at all. For example, in the 2012 presidential election, Democrats won 50.6% of the vote, Republicans won 47.8% of the vote and ALL OTHER political parties put together – (Green Party, Libertarian Party, Constitutional Party, etc.) added up to 1.6%.
Many of these 3rd parties actually had point of views that many Americans could agree with. Yet the other parties were marginalized to extremes by media/money/and legal limitations. This wasn’t an accident.
DISCOURAGING THE STRONG
Our “promise of equality” system discourages the strong. School systems don’t encourage excellence, they encourage mediocrity through obedience to conformity. Those with too many questions and radical ideas are punished. Children with excess adrenaline and activity are diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed psychotropic drugs. (While I do acknowledge the existence of ADHD as a condition, I think children are getting over medicated for the illness. Also, I know there are Gifted and Talented programs for more intelligent students, but this is not a central part of the school curriculum.)
America’s “teach to the test” education system (i.e. constructing entire curricula around SOLS and SATs) is an example of how we’re more concerned about everyone knowing the same things – rather than providing a challenging learning experience.
Perhaps our leaders are not smart enough to fabricate a conspiracy of mediocrity that keeps informed and rebellious people from stealing power. Perhaps our mediocre system is a natural result of hammering out equality where equality doesn’t exist. By trying to equalize the population, we are creating flat lands from mountains and valleys, a boring topography from greatness.