Phi Beta Cons

Plato, Call Your Office

After observing hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens marching with impunity through our cities this past month, demanding equality with American citizens, I could not help but recall the prescience of Plato’s critique of democracy (and how it inexorably leads to tyranny) in Book VIII of the Republic: 
“Resident aliens and even foreigners make themselves equal to citizens, and vice versa.” (563 a) 
Unfortunately, our current crop of academics is too busy promoting la Reconquista through the establishment of  “Chicano/a Studies” and “Latino/a Studies” departments to spend much time teaching a DWEM (dead white European male) like Plato. Plato’s comment on illegal aliens in a democracy  is not the only gem in Book VIII — consider his view on education in a democracy: 
“The teacher is terrified of his pupils and wheedles them; they hold both him and their tutors in contempt. Children ape adults in everything and argue and fight with them…” (563 b) 
On feminism? 
“Mob liberty culminates in a city like this…  Oh — and I almost forgot: there’s also complete freedom and equal rights in the relations between the sexes.” (563 b) And animal rights? “… you’d never believe the freedom that even animals subject to man enjoy in a democracy. Dogs behave like the proverbial masters…”*  (563 c) 
Has Alfred North Whitehead’s observation that “philosophy is a series of footnotes on Plato” ever been more trenchant?
*Translations are Raymond Larson’s.

Michael Filozof is an adjunct professor of political science at the State University of New York at Brockport.

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