Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blog #11 - Plato's Ideal Society - Impossible or Improbable? Neither?

We've spent a little more time on Plato's ideal society this semester than I have in past semesters; maybe b/c this time around the world seems to be crumbling around us with roiling stock markets and the Big 3 impending collapse. Where better to look than the past when the future looks so bleak, right? Well, maybe we can learn something.

Several criticisms were brought up of this ideal society:

1. Where would the innovation come from if everyone be content? Doesn't innovation come from competition and competition come from peoples' desire to be better?

2. Why do they need soldiers if everyone is content? Is it just for protection from other city-states? Or, did Plato ever intend for this city to exist? If that is the case, why are the soldiers really there?

3. What kind of guarantee is there that the philosophers will rule in everyone's best interests? Is there an impeachment process? Can the peasants overthrow the rulers?

4. In the interests of specialization, what if you get bored with your job? What if you don't want that job? What if that job that you do best is NOT something you love doing? To use an example from 4th hour, I might do math really well, but that doesn't mean I want to be an accountant.

5. Is there no social mobility? What if we don't like the class that we're born into?

This link gives a good, brief synopsis of the first four books of the Republic in which this society is described. I have countered many of these arguments in a devil's advocate style by appealing to one of Socrates' questions - courage, justice, virtue, wisdom, moderation, beauty.

The question before you is: Can Plato's society be fixed to make it more ideal to fit a 21st century American audience? Why or why not?

Things to ponder while answering this question: Is Plato's society so incompatible with American ideals and tastes and traditions that it cannot be fixed?  Can Plato's society work for people of another country? What would you have to fix in order for it to work in America? Could it work on a national or state level or could it only work on a small scale? If it only works on a small scale, what's the use?

**After reading a few of the responses, it seems to me that Americans are too individualistic to give up some of our freedoms or luxuries for the greater good of society.  This will be a topic - the greater good vs. the desires of the individual - as we go on through the semester.  

Due Friday, December 12. 200 words minimum.


  1. Blog #11
    Q: Can Plato's society be fixed to make it more ideal to fit a 21st century American audience? Why or why not?
    A: Plato’s society would be very difficult to adapt to a 21st century America because the ideologies clash. Plato’s society is very close to communism and, like communism, believes that everything should be for the greater good of the whole country/state rather than for the good of the people. As we know America is built on capitalism which tells us that we should strive to make ourselves the best that we can be regardless of the potential harm to others. One way that Plato’s society could perhaps be adapted to better please a 21st American society would be to allow classes to change provided that certain schooling be taken or given. I think that Plato’s society would be much better suited to countries such as China or other countries that have a communist government. I don’t think that Plato’s society would work on a large level because there would be too many free thinkers. I think Plato’s society would be helpful on a small scale and I think that this is how Plato intended it to be. Countries do not need to be large in order to operate successfully or to provide a benefit to their people.

    Where would the innovation come from if everyone be content?
    I am not quite sure that there would be no innovation at all, but I definitely feel like there would be less. A lot of innovation comes from things not being perfect and people trying to better them. A lot of times people look for or see a need and they research and create until they find a better option. Other times there is a problem that needs to be fixed. After this problem is identified people(s) go to work to find a solution. If everyone was perfectly content there would not be any thinking or focus on things that could be bettered because nothing could be bettered and there would not be focus on problems because there would be none. Either part of that may be a problem in itself for some people. On the other hand, there may be some innovation because some people enjoy bettering things…just for fun, not because they can be or there is a problem. That is why I believe that there would be some innovation, for the people who truly love that kind of thing and it is their passion. They would still practice this because it makes them happy or content. There would definitely be a lot less advances in a society like that though then we have today.

  3. Can Plato's society be fixed to make it more ideal to fit a 21st century American Audience? Why or why not?

    I do not believe that Plato's ideal society could be fixed so that the people in this current day and age. The reasons why I don't think his society would work are that people are too greedy with money and power and people today couldn't handle not being able to disagree with something that the rulers did.
    In Plato's society everyone is either a ruler, soldier, or peasant. It would never work in this time in the world because everyone wants to have power. If you a peasant then you have no power whatsoever, and you have no choice. If a person were to be chosen as a peasant today then they would just argue about not being a ruler. But if a even a person were to become a ruler then they would most likely be upset because they aren't allowed to have anything besides their power.
    Plato's society consisted of rulers that made the decisions for the whole society. No one in the society could disagree or make comments about the decisions that the rulers made. If that were to happen today that wouldn't go well with everyone. In this day and age everyone likes to voice their opinion and speak up about it when someone with high authority messes up.
    Plato's society could work out for people in our time if he made it possible for people to choose their position in the community and have the ability to speak out. I personally don't believe it could work because then everyone would want to be a ruler and then there would be no balance in the community.
    Jake Balbes
    4th Hour

  4. Leah Veronica FirestoneDecember 11, 2008 at 3:26 PM

    Plato’s society should not/ cannot be changed in order to work within American society. The first reason being that American society is based on struggle. The ideal American is born poor and then works his way up the social latter because he no longer wants to be poor. There would be no way for the “stomach” to stay the “stomach” in American society. It should also be noted that Plato’s society is basically a totalitarian regime in which elitist philosophers lead the other classes. This is basically the opposite of the democracy that we have established. While it may be true that you can move up castes in Plato’s society it would be improbable, simply because if you are content then you would never move up. This would cause American society to no longer be a government for the people by the people. It would be a government for the ruling class by the ruling class. The ruling class would have no clue what it is like to be in the other to classes, nor would they be accountable to the other two classes. This would cause the whole of the society to only work for the benefit of the philosophers. While there may be some way for it to be a part of society it’s underlying principles make it not worth adapting to fit American society.

    Leah Firestone

  5. Every time I try to think of a way that Plato’s society could be adjusted so that a 21st century America could fit into it, I end up stuck. I think the reason for this is the fact that as a culture we are so technologically advanced and have lives that are too complicated to be able to simplify into Plato’s ideal society. I also think that there is a huge issue with the fact that everyone can only have one responsibly that is assigned to them and can never move up in ranking or get a raise for doing a better job. Today we are brought up to be the best. Everything we do has become so competitive. We can no longer even play a simple game of basketball just to have fun. We have to practice hard so that when it comes to game time we are ready to compete and win. As Americans we have a natural instinct in us to work hard and strive for the best. No matter how you look at it, I don’t think that most Americans would be content with having one job for their whole life with no chance of getting a better one. As nice as it sounds to have a “perfect” society, I just don’t think it could ever be possible with the people we have become.

    Elizabeth O'Donnell- 4th hour

  6. I honestly don’t think that this would end up working out at all in the 21st century. Some of the reasons I think this because Plato’s society is kind of like communism and I just don’t think that would work with the world these days because everyone is wanting a say in something going on in the world in this century. He wanted everyone to be content with other people not fighting and things of that sort, and there would be three levels of people peasants, soldiers, and rulers. Another thing I don’t really understand about this is why we have to have soldiers when everyone is supposed to be content with each other. It just kinda contradicts what he is trying to say I feel like.
    I do feel like this plan could work a long time ago and if people were not so stubborn in the time that we are living right now. I also think it might be kind of a cool change not having to fight with people and not have to deal with that kind of stuff I just don’t think that it would have been a good plan back then but it just would not work in today’s society.
    Josh Williams
    3rd hour

  7. While I do believe Plato’s society can be altered to satisfy the needs of the people today, Plato’s ideal society would almost be completely taken apart, then put back together with new pieces of current society, leaving many of the older pieces unused. It’s my opinion that to create a society you need to start from scratch, perhaps with an idea or two you plan to incorporate. The Clinton presidency had a budget surplus, however if we applied his policies today America would fall. President Obama is taking an idea from an Lincoln’s presidency, and applying the idea to his. Part of why Lincoln was so well renowned and respected is because he choose many political opponents to serve in his cabinet; Obama is picking many conservatives to serve in his cabinet.

    I think that ideas from the ideal society could work for any country or state, large or small, but the ideal society’s uses are very limited. People want freedom today, and with the ideal society you are stuck with one job for the rest of your life, and are un-entitled to what you earn. Applying the society to a country or even another state would require a vast amount of communication and organization because of all the occupations and needs of society.

    Plato’s ideal society could be applied in spirit to our society, however for many others including my self it isn’t all that ideal.

  8. Can Plato's society be fixed to make it more ideal to fit a 21st century American audience? Why or why not?
    I don’t believe you need to fix Plato’s society into a more 21st American century lifestyle, because I don’t think it can. Plato’s society is pure communism which America strives on being the complete opposite. The way our government is set up, his society would just never fit in unless we too changed as nation, we would have to brain wash for several generations. The people or his version of “peasants” would never give up their voice in our society, because it is all we have to keep some control over our lives. I also don’t believe parents would let the government brain wash their children today. I just think that you would have to change his whole idea and it wouldn’t be his ideal society at all anymore. We have too much freedom in this country and we already don’t like paying taxes for the situation we are in now in this country, by having Plato’s society we would be paying a ton more for the rulers and soldiers to live. That right there is a communist idea. Plato’s idea is just that, an idea. It would just never work in real life with real human emotions. Communist Russian is a perfect example of a failing communist country the rulers cannot rule and not get any of the money of being a ruler.
    Erin Bay

  9. NO! Plato's society definitely cannot be fixed to make it ideal to fit a 21st century American audience, for many reasons. First of all, American society has economy, money, stock markets, and jobs where people invest everything, we have college, and schooling systems. We cannot just drop everything we have worked so hard for, generations of saving and hard work, to be placed into jobs that "we're good at". I don't feel that practically anyone in our country at this time would go for philosophers as kings, and there is a big chance that most of these philosopher kings wouldn't just be ruling for the good of the community, everyone has their schema's and personal feels of like and dislike, so without a democracy these philosopher kings would basically be ruling off their own personal feelings, and some of those feelings could be very lopsided. Also, I understand that would need soldiers for external defense, but what would they do to people inside the community who felt that the king philosopher was wrong? Which leads me into the very large possibility that the king philosopher is an unfair ruler, and the workers try to over throw him, then their really left with nothing, and the whole community is a confused mess. Finally, I feel that if everyone is content, there is no improvement and new studies or technology, this is a huge problem because the community will never prosper. For all these reasons and many more I feel that Plato's ideal society wouldn't work then and definitely NOT work now!

    Katie Rothenberg
    3rd hour.

  10. I personally think that Plato’s idea of the “ideal society” is beyond fixable. By the time you make all the necessary changes to even allow the system to function, it is a completely different idea having almost nothing to do with Plato’s intentions. Plato’s major fault is that he relies on humans to be completely uncompetitive. Being human, I understand that it is in one’s nature to be somewhat competitive. There isn’t anyone who just sits back and has no issues with anyone or anything, and if there is such a person, they must be missing something. Plato envisioned a very sheltered youth that would magically produce great philosophers, able to think “outside the box” to take over the ruling positions when elders passed away. By having a generation only exposed to positive literature and poetry, and not introducing them to the dangers and conflicts of life, Plato basically created a “sterile” environment. The children won’t know what good is, because they have never experienced bad. How are even the select few supposed to grow up and become the ruling philosophers looking out for the good of the people and coming up with deep and philosophical insights, when they are handed information leading them down a narrow path. Today in society none of Plato’s ideas would be plausible. People today are more advanced and more concerned with the factor of time. Nobody has the desire or ability to just sit back and relax and not argue or strive to be better. There is always somebody who chooses to break a rule, and Plato failed to leave room for the occasional trouble maker. He made the assumption that everyone would be more than happy to join his mentality. In today’s world there is no chance of this happening, the only thing remotely close where people would be willing to give up all material goods to be “in power” is a small cult. Whether or not it is a good or bad thing, today, power = money and if following Plato’s ideas, the world would have to do a complete turnaround causing more chaos that productivity. The world in which we live is far from the standards and regulations that Plato created, and I seriously doubt that the distance will ever change, especially not in the near future.

    Jordan H
    4th Hour

  11. I do not believe that Plato’s ideal society can be fixed to make it more suited to the 21st century. There are just too many powerful interests that people control. Plato’s ideal society is very similar to communism, and if communism was somehow put into place today, then maybe the ideal society could take place. But there is virtually no way that the people in society today would allow that happen. Most communist regimes in the world have failed. People have gained confidence over the decades and centuries, and I know that we are strong enough that something like communism will not succeed. This goes along with the fact that we can’t have three different classes of people because one of the lower clusters of people would become dissatisfied and try to take over, or someone would not like the class they are born into in the first place.
    Plato also believes that we should do the job that we are best at, rather than what we enjoy. The desire and greed people have today would not permit that to happen. People want to do what makes them happy, no matter what surrounds them. Society believes there is no point to living if one is not happy. Therefore Plato’s society would not last long in today’s world, which means that communism wouldn’t last long either.

    Carter Freeman
    4th Hour

  12. Plato’s society would not work in America. Firstly the United States was founded to be a democracy where people have a say in how the government is run. Plato’s society is closer to communism because everything is done for the greater good of the society. Secondly, there is the “American Dream” and the whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” idea. Generally, it is possible to be whomever you wish and do whatever you want in America; the whole follow your dreams thing. In Plato’s society there is no change in social status, so there is no way you could ‘follow your dreams.’ There is no way Americans would give up the ability to change their social status. Lastly, Plato’s society has people doing the jobs they do best. This ignores what people want to do with their life. In America we are allowed to major in whatever we want, and try to get a job in whatever career path we so choose. I don’t think Americans would be willing to give up their career choice.

    As for Plato’s society working in other countries or on a smaller scale, it might work. On a small scale, it would probably have to be a newly formed nation or society because it would be hard to implement a whole new set of rules and ideals. However, the world we live in is so focused on democracy it would be hard for this new nation to function. For example this new Plato nation does not give freedom to all citizens so it would be hard to join the UN. In that sense, it might be hard to function with other nations. However, there isn’t much use to Plato’s model if it won’t work large scale. It almost seems pointless to call Plato’s society ideal if it won’t work on a large scale.

    3rd Hour

  13. I don’t think that Plato’s Ideal Society can be fixed to work for any society. First, I don’t think specialization is the best way for people to find the best job. Like Jackie said in class, she’s good at math, but she doesn’t want to be an accountant or anything math related. As for me, I’m not really good at anything, so if I were to live in the Ideal Society, I probably wouldn’t have a job. Also, most people aren’t just good at one thing; they are good at many things. So how can they be content with a job that only specializes in one part of their interests?
    As for the stomach of society, the peasants, I don’t see how anyone can be content with not having a say in how their life is run. First, people like me always have to have a say in how their life is going to be run. America is run as a democracy where we can vote for presidents and high positions of power. In the Ideal Society, there wouldn’t be any voting or anything, everything would just be as the rulers want it to be. Second, there is bound to be conflict if the peasants are allowed to own property and have family.
    As far as the heart of the society is concerned, I don’t see any point in even having soldiers for the perfect society. If everyone is content, and happy, what’s the need for soldiers? Soldiers are meant to fight in war, but if there’s no war, then there shouldn’t be any need for soldiers.
    I could see Plato’s reasoning for the head of the society. I kind of like how philosophers are the rulers, but I think that the rulers wouldn’t be very content living in a life of poverty. They would start to want the things they can’t have. They might want to give up their ruling power to become a peasant just so they can live out of poverty. But I don’t think they would be allowed to do that.
    I would say that the Ideal Society is incompatible with American society only because our life is so complicated that there is no way that we can reduce ourselves enough to be able to live that simple. Even if we could, I still don’t think it would work. Human nature causes us to never be content with anything because we are always striving for something better. When paper towel first came out, people thought it was the most amazing thing ever. But we are still trying to make it softer and more absorbent until we can finally make the perfect paper towel. But when we do, what next?
    Sorry this is so long
    Loren B.
    4th hour

  14. Plato has a very interesting “ideal society”. In a way it makes a lot of sense, and probably would work great, but not during the 21 first century. Today’s society is way to selfish to follow the rules of Plato’s ideal society. No property, No salary, and sex on a schedule and the partner is shared by all. Three main things that will never happen. I think this is something that could never happen. I don’t even think if it had to happen, people would not conform to the change. If you where told that you can no longer have your own property. What would you say? I would freak. I would yell. That’s what makes up America, is our freedom. Then again I think are we actually free as we are right now? Would if Plato’s ideal society took over? Maybe things would be easier, or maybe things would be cheaper? Still I don’t understand why workers or “peasants” would be able to own property and no one else. Rulers know what is good and will train the soldiers. Ok? Well would if the rulers don’t know what is real? Then they have to go off a guess? Or a “gut feeling”? There are pros and cons to this idea. Personally I like the society I live in right now. I love reality TV. The internet is the greatest thing in the world. And of course sex sells. Everyone wants sex, its something everyone can agree on. It is true that the society needs to change, and fast.

    Rocky Shattuck
    3rd hour

  15. 5. Is there no social mobility? What if we don't like the class that we're born into?

    In Plato's world of a Utopia, everyone is given a job according to how well they perform it. You really would have no say in what you like and what you don't like, you are more or less stuck with what you are best at doing. So, to answer your question, no there would not be any social mobility. The rulers, or philosophers, cannot be given much. They are not materialists, which is very different to what the American society is used to. All of the socail classes seemed to be flipped in the Utopia. The peasants get all of the wealth, and are known to society as the "stomach". The soldiers live a rather bitter life, exchanging partners all of the time and not being as rich as the peasants. The soldiers are know as being the "heart" of the society. Lastly, the rulers are known as the "brain" or wisdom to the society. In this case, the philosophers must pick who will become the next ruler an so forth. But if this is the case, then what determines who they choose to be the next ruler? And how does a person know what task they are best at if they have not experienced everything? These are some questions that we came up with in class.

    Ashley Connelly 4th hour

  16. I do not believe Plato’s society can be fixed to make it more ideal to fit into the 21st century of America. My initial reaction was no but the reason behind that instant no was hard to come up with. First I think it is because as humans we are born with a drive to get better or to win. This is shown in every single aspect of our lives from school, work, sports, looks, and many others ways. We are born with this because it is what keeps us going in life and what makes allows humans to survive as the world evolves. The next thing is that in today’s world just because you are born into a lower class does not mean you have to stay in that class forever. With hard work and the want for change you can be whoever you wish to be. For example my uncle was born into a very poor family in New Jersey but he worked hard throughout school and he is now a millionaire in the upper most class. Also, in today’s world people are striving for happiness within their lives and even if that means changing their job (that they are good at) for a lower job if in the long run it makes them happier. The bottom line is that America can not be simplified into Plato’s ideal world because of the advances we are so adapted to. In order to change to Plato’s ways we would have to turn the entire world upside down and almost start all over.

    Anna Beaufore
    3rd hour

  17. Can Plato's society be fixed to make it more ideal to fit a 21st century American audience? Why or why not?
    I do not believe that Plato’s ideal society could be fixed to fit into the 21st century American audience for many reasons. First, I think that Americans have been taught that communism is bad and I think that Plato’s Ideal society is very similar to communism which will scare many Americans away. The way our government and society is set up, Plato’s society would never fit in unless we too changed our opinion on communism, which would be very hard because we would have to brain wash citizens for several generations. Second, I think Americans are greedy and selfish. Americans today would not want to share their money with other people equally nor would they want to work for no pay. Americans today have become way too caught up in trying making a lot of money because they feel that you are well respected in the community if you have a lot of money to flaunt. I also feel that Americans would strongly dislike Plato’s ideal society because they would feel like they were not in control of their life. The American Dream for most people is to work hard and live a nice life. If we had Plato’s Ideal society people may not think they are not living the American Dream if they aren’t giving themselves a nice life by making lots of money.

    Tyler Howe 3rd hour

  18. The problem with Plato’s society is that Americans value the will of the people. This was true in 1776, 1787, more apparent in 1915, when the constitution was amended to allow the people to directly vote for senators and is still clear today in our elections. American believes in a government controlled by many factions which help to balance governmental power so that we don’t have totalitarian rule. In Plato’s society, there is only one ruler, how he or she came into power is not clear, and the ruler controls the people and soldiers but is denied the right to own property, earn wages or even have a family. This is a bit too extreme for Americans nowadays because; 1) they despise totalitarian rule, and 2) the right to own property is considered sacred (as John Locke wrote in the 18th Century). Without a median between the government and the people, Americans would never accept being ruled by a dictator (it might have work back in the Middle Ages, but those days are done as far as governments are concerned). Their values and morals are based on the will of the people and a government that removes the power of the people to control government is totalitarianism.
    The soldiers in Plato’s society are possibly used to suppress free thinkers because like Socrates had done, they might undermine his government/society. He could force them to conform into what he wanted them to do and then propagate them with his ideas, and those that followed closest most agreed with his style of thinking would take over after he died (presumably) so that the society could be ruled unchanged.
    * Side Note *
    For Plato’s society to be fixed, we would have to rebuild it altogether by examining all aspects of governmental philosophy and picking those from each type of government that are most beneficial. Plato’s ideal society relies mostly, if not wholly of the principle of communism, but as history has taught us, communism doesn’t last too long (USSR broke down and Cuba’s in bad shape) and while China is still holding out, it has incorporated some economically democratic ideals to stay afloat. America is a republican democratic and holds many democratic values and has tried to avoid, until recently, creating policies that keep government and the businesses separate. But like the Oracle of Delphi said, “Nothing in excess,” we must combine types of government to create one that will not fall under economic hardships by keeping the economy running, but also allow for growth and freedoms when times are prosperous. Many European governments, for example, have invested into companies based in their country, therefore helping to boost the economy by controlling it from the inside (partial socialist approach) while in the US, we have strictly tried to avoid such government-business connections for fears of total government takeover of the economy. The problem with this fear is that it blocks us from expanding our economy and providing the push necessary for our country to survive (look at the economic problems caused by the carelessness of businesses). By taking too much of something, we had inadvertently crippled our society. To create a better society, we should try to have a government with more economic involvement but still maintain the sacred balance of power and rights. The government mustn’t take away any of the rights of the people but, to ensure national security, it has to find a way to lift the country in its time of need. But the problem with this idea too is, although it sounds good on paper, is it plausible? And if it is will these same principles be true 1000 years from now?

  19. Plato’s ideal society was intended, then and now, not as a specific formula which every society must follow exactly, but as a means to prove the philosopher’s points. He intended to illustrate that a just society and a just life is possible, and it still can be enjoyable. From a political perspective, Plato made some observations about the nature of the ideal society, but these were certainly not concrete.
    Many of Plato’s precepts, such as censorship and a noticeable lack of freedom, are noticeable because of the high value our society places on freedom. A society such as Plato’s is very much at odds with our own culture, which bases its principles on the Lockean view that our liberties are naturally existing and “inalienable,” and that government exists to protect them. No such concept exists in The Republic. Thus, though everyone would supposedly by happy in Plato’s society, America would not, because we treasure our freedom more than the gains Plato promises. To include part of Plato’s republic into American society would require only vestiges of the plan, such as the idea that rulers be wise and not concerned with material possessions. The main obstacle towards adopting Plato’s ideal society in America is not fixing Plato’s vision, but that we already hold principles in conflict with his goals.

  20. I am somewhere in between its impossible and improbable for Plato’s society to come true. His society has many flaws al which stem fro the lack of choice originality and free will in the society, witch leads to stagnation. It lacks any way for class movement witch is essential to a society. In a society its members need to feel as they are able to make thing better for themselves. It adds to the stagnation, this lack of movement. Another major problem Is the fact that people are forced to do what they are best at not what they enjoy doing though these are sometimes the same thing there are always going to be people stuck in jobs they don’t want to do. It leads to depression and a lack luster feeling in all under its rule. The last and most important problem with the society is the cult feeling it forces on people group think is inevitable when no opposing ideas are allowed. Progression stops if we are unable to challenge the status qou to challenge the parameters in witch we live to challenge there very meaning of existence. I believe Plato was very arrogant her because to me he is saying there is nothing left to be learned inside of this society.
    Nick E.

    PS: my old version of word doesnt have a word counter on it so im kinda guessing if im wrong please tell me.

  21. Plato’s Ideal Society
    In The Republic, Plato talks about his idea of the society he seemingly believes that the world should be in. This society has three basic groups of people: the king, Solder, and Worker. When Plato thought of this society he had some major flaws or question that had not yet been answered. For example, where innovation would come from if everyone was content? This is the part of society that sets American society apart. If this innovation were not possible America would not be a world power and might not even exist because we might have not won the revolutionary war.
    The society he came up with is close to the idea of socialism, for it seems plausible on paper; however, it cannot be achieved in the real world. If Plato were to try and fix his ideal society he would eventually end up with a society similar to the society we have today. Other flaws include: how would a society govern itself if there were to have only a select few preside over everyone. What if the group of philosophers became corrupt and didn’t govern in the best interest of the people, which is an issue in today’s society as well.
    If Plato had not grown up in the war, I think that he would have come up with an idea of a society that is similar to the one we have today. Since Plato had grown up with so much death and destruction, he created a society without violent confrontation such as war.
    Michael Blake
    3rd Hour

  22. Plato’s ideal society defies all recognized aspects of American life and freedom. There is no possibility that it could be enhanced or adjusted to fit modern day society because people would not remain content, and tire of their monotonous life in the society. First of all, the American dream reflects our yearning to be able to self-improve and be rewarded for diligent work. Plato’s ideal society does not allow people to work up the social ladder and improve their job based on hard work and motivation. American citizens would not participate in the ideal society because we have such strong desires to be in control of our life, and in the United States, we are comforted by the options available and the ideology that we can do anything if we strive and work for it. Also, Plato’s society is an extreme form of communism, and a modern day “fixed” version would resemble a communist society in which Americans could not be convinced to partake in. In addition, Americans could not be persuaded to waive our right to vote people in high ruling offices. We value our system of direct representation for local offices and the electoral system , and if philosophical pre determined rulers were chosen to rule, Americans would be furious and feel violated. In addition, the concept of “those who rule cannot have, and those who have cannot rule” would not function in a modern 21st century America, because no ruler is that selfless. Even if rulers accepted this condition, there would be extreme disconnect between the rules and the average citizens because the ruler would be on a pedestal and not be able to fathom the life lived by the peasants . Therefore, because of our selfishness, yearning for self control and democracy and belief in free ability to pursue anything, Plato’s society could not function within a 21st century American audience.

    -Laura Dietrich 4th hour

  23. I don't think Plato's society would work today in the 21st century. America was founded off of a democracy where the people have a say in how the government is run, like electing people for different positions.Plato's society was off of a communistic world. Everything is meant to be done for the greater good of society and the people. They did not have much of a say in what was happening in their community. They wouldn't even have a say whether it would affect them in a positive or negative way. Secondly, Plato was all about doing jobs that people do best. People have dreams about what they want to do in their later life and take certain steps and paths in order to help them achieve that dream. I would have to imagine and believe that people become good at what they want to do based on how they view themselves and dreams. If Plato's society was how it was, there would be no way that people could achieve their dreams. They would not be able to move up in the "social ladder" and really do what they want. That is one of the things I think is so great about society today. We have many different options about what we are able to major in and choose a career we want. We are able to work hard for it and eventually become very good at what we love. I think that is what is so special about our society today. So No, I dont think Plato's society would work today.

    Nicole M
    3rd Hour

  24. TJ Hyland
    Blog 11
    I believe that Plato’s ideal world, or utopia is ridiculous. It appears to me that this society is very similar to communism. So I do not believe that his society could be fixed to be compatible with present American culture. First off, the majority of Americans are monogamists. In Plato’s ideal society, people share multiple partners. Americans, like all people, like the idea of love, and would not like to live in a society where love does not exist. Americans think that humans are more than just animals, and that we do not have sex just to procreate. Beyond this, many Americans hate the idea of one profession for life. Many are good at one thing, or have interest in more than one thing, so Plato’s society would not work out for most. If one wished to make Plato’s society compatible with America there would have to be drastic changes. First, no mating schedule. Second, there must be freedom of speech. Third, one must have the right to choose ones occupation. And four, there would have to be a democracy. Plato’s utopia is ridiculous, in my opinion, and I as an American would hate to live in such a world.

  25. I do think that Plato’s society could be changed or altered to fit today’s society. There are only 3 different social classes, and there – in his mind- is no room for change. Everything must be set in stone and very descriptive. Today there are so many differing classes, and types of people that these three classes would not work. There has to be some room to move around and change where you fit into the society. The rulers today would be the people in public office, people like the president. If they were like the rulers in Plato’s society, the country would be chaotic. The soldiers are in today’s society would be the people with high paying jobs and are all chasing after the same type of person. An attractive woman who is more attracted to their money than their personality. The biggest problem with that society is that only one of the three classes are allowed to have families, houses and other material possessions. If you were to change the thinking that, people who rule, cannot have and those who have, cannot rule. There would be drastic improvements to the system. Plato’s society, if enacted today, would be horrible, and the world would be in complete disarray.

  26. Plato’s ideal society is far from ideal. Plato’s theory of how those who rule cannot have and those who have cannot rule is one of the issues in his society. Although the basic principle is understandable in the sense that the rulers should have to give sacrifice, it causes a huge cap between the two societies. It also leads to the issue of who would rule next since the rulers cannot have families.
    Another issue that could come up with the society is the deciding of who would be who. Everyone could, of course, choose what they would want to be, but how would that guarantee the rulers would actually rule for the people? Additionally, no person could possibly choose to be a soldier. Soldiers cannot have and they cannot rule, so who in their right mind would choose that way of life?
    Another problem with Plato’s Republic is how careers are chosen, and how that ties into innovation. Every person’s career is based off what they do best, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that is what the person likes most. Additionally, a person could be really good at coming up with new ideas, but because the new society in completely content, there would be no need for innovation and the person would be stuck doing something that they wouldn’t like as much.

    Jackie, 4th Hour

  27. Blog #11- Ben Despard

    Plato’s theory of a utopian society is an interesting one, and might even be possible in ancient times, before the spread of communications and media via internet and tv. With the 21st century being a world full of creativity, a thirst for knowledge and exploration and technology, it would be impossible to have a perfect society as is described and outlined in detail in, The Republic. The concept of this place would be on a system of modified communism. The thinkers and philosophers would rule, and live in poverty. The soldiers would also live in poverty, and be housed in communes. The peasants could live moderately, and own property, have families, etc. the arts would be controlled so that it was all politically correct, and uplifting. Now there are many reasons why this would not work, despite its best intentions… for one, with the World Wide Web and radio, communications are not completely controllable. Hackers abound, and in this society, it relies too heavily on the censoring of ideas and the arts to make this plausible. Another reason why The Republic wouldn’t stand, is because people, and especially Americans, are too stubborn and love their way of life to want to give it all up. The Republic states that people will be assigned jobs in the areas at which they excel and are happiest doing. But how would that be determined? What method of education or process would be used to initiate people into the world of philosopher’s vs. soldiers vs. peasants, with out giving the people ideas about things beyond their specified roles?

  28. Plato’s ideal society cannot be modified to work for 21st century America without completely changing its foundation. The ideal society would infringe on three major American values: job choice, opposition to authority, and the desire to improve. In the ideal society everyone is given a job based upon what they are good at. This is the foundation of the society. American society’s foundation is the exact opposite. We are raised with the idea that we can be anything we want to be if we try hard enough. To one day say to every American “you must quit your job and be evaluated for a new one” would result in anarchy. No one, except maybe the unemployed, would want a new job, especially if they have no control over what it is. There is also the question of who would evaluate every American for a new job. How would that person or group of people be chosen? In any case, giving a group complete control over the future of every American is very authoritarian, something Americans have been raised to hate. Even if this evaluation period managed to pass by without revolution Americans would still be unsatisfied. In Plato’s society everyone is contempt. In this state of contempt is there is no desire to improve. America would be put into stasis. Quality of life along with technology would stop improving. Would Americans stand for this? Is this state of contempt a prerequisite to the society or a result of it? If the former is true the society would never come to exist and if the ladder is true the society would not continue to exist. In both cases the society isn’t possible because of the spirit and values rooted into America.

    Stefan Rush
    4th Hour

  29. Plato’s Ideal society would not work in the twenty-first century. In his society, there would be no technological advancement, because everyone would be content. I believe that a world cannot properly function without conflict. Happiness cannot arise without victory, whether that victory be mental or physical. Motivation comes from the fear of defeat and the desire to succeed.
    Plato’s society is very similar to communism, and as we know, people in the twenty-first century are not too open to the idea of communism. Communism cannot succeed in our world, because people need motivation to do everyday things. Plato’s society opens the door for people to become social loafers, skirting their duties. People would not be able to move from class to class, because no matter how hard they try they are socially immobile. One must have motivation and in this society there is none.
    In my opinion, an ideal society can be created if everyone is raised with strong morals and brought up to recognize evil and oppose it. But I do not truly believe that this is possible. Evil must be present for good people to oppose it. Problems must arise for there to be solutions. Life cannot be successful without conflict.

  30. Q: Can Plato's society be fixed to make it more ideal to fit a 21st century American audience? Why or why not?
    A: I think that Plato’s society is far too simple for the 21st century. With all of the technology that we have today it would be hard to switch over to Plato’s society. People aren’t going to drop their jobs, education, and investments at the drop of a hat and people wouldn’t be able to because that is the only lifestyle that we know as Americans. Also in Plato’s society he has people doing jobs that they do best. If someone does something well, it doesn’t mean that they love it. Sure people have jobs today that they hate, but the field that they are in is usually something that they love.
    I also think that Plato’s three components of his society wouldn’t work anymore because leaders and soldiers are seen as people and that is why many look up to them because they are just ordinary people. I think all three levels are equal because without one, society would not be able to function. In the 21st century people can now climb up the ladder and succeed and do what they want to without being told they can’t. The American dream is why people move to the United States because we are such a free country and have very small limits on what you can’t do.
    So I think that Plato’s ideal society would not work now because we would have to basically restart everything that we have worked for and have completed.
    Nicole Siklich
    3rd hour

  31. Where would the innovation come from if everyone be content?

    I believe that there would be no innovation if every one was content. I constantly see people that want more, what they see is what they want and what they have is never good enough. So to get out of the discontentment people feel about themselves or just life in general, they make changes. That is where innovation comes in. People usually notice things by the struggles they endure toward whatever it is they are doing. They ask themselves how this could be easier in any way. People have to find ways to fix the imperfections in daily life. People that are content do not need changes. This would mean that there would be a lot less things invented, many of the things we have today we wouldn’t have because if your content why would you try to do more or even make changes. As clearly stated, if the world was content imperfections in daily life wouldn’t exist, therefore the production of inventions wouldn’t be necessary or relevant.

    Erin 4th

  32. Plato’s ideal society is rubbish! Now I might just hate history (I mean Jesus is a zombie and every religion in the world at one time could have been considered a cult!). However Plato is still mad. The whole point of the ideal society is that everyone in content and they NEVER have a problem with the world they live in. so to answer the five questions

    1. Innovation could possibly happen because competition doesn’t have to come from just the need to be better it could come from the want to be different.
    2. I believe that Plato had no intention for this world to exist and that’s just what it is, is a world not a city-state but the whole world.
    3. Everyone is content ergo no overthrowing and no impeachment
    4. Your content you like your job enough said
    5. You love the class your put in chats why your content sit down shut-up and live with it

    Plato’s society would have to be completely torn down and recreated to fit society today due to the fact that we are bigger and have a more diverse way of life.

    Josh T

  33. No. There is no more direct, or concise answer to the question if the Republic can be fixed or altered. The flaws in the system are too great, run too deep and spread too rapidly to ever be fixed. The only option is the complete rejection of his version of hellish utopia.
    Maybe I should have mentioned it earlier, but I assumed it would eventually come out, I am an avid fan of Ayn Rand and her writings. While Atlas Shrugged will forever be my favorite of her novels, Anthem is a more direct criticism of Plato’s Republic. While she does not reject his complete body of works, she takes great pains to completely discredit his ideas of the perfect government, and in doing so, I believe she makes her point clear. She takes the Republic to its logical extreme, and sets it in the not so distant future. Human kind has devolved to reenter the middle ages. Central planning (by people who claim to be the guardians of the ‘good’) has wreaked havoc on the human race. Technological advancement has stopped as full scale job specialization is implemented. The brightest have been reduced to street sweepers, and the dumbest to the House of Scholars. Free will is suppressed in the name of liberty. Joy is stricken in the name of peace. Knowledge vanished in the name of learning. This is the society Plato dreamed of. It merely took 2000 years for someone to take it to its final end.

  34. I honestly don’t believe that Plato’s society could be fixed to fit a 21st century American culture. The idea of everyone being content is something that is completely impossible in my opinion. I also don’t think that it could work for other countries. The truth of the matter is that people are always either going to strive to better themselves or they’re going to try and one up their competition. Therefore no one can ever be completely content. If one is content doesn’t that also mean that they have no hopes? People are always going to have a desire. Plato’s society is incompatible with many American ideals and tastes. American style and other material goods evolve so fast and that’s a product of innovation. Innovation does not come from being content. Also, American citizens evolve with their society’s new norms and that shows how hard it would be for them to change how they live. A person can’t just flip a switch and be content, especially when they know that there are things out there that they want to do and achieve and obtain. If right now we were forced to make a shift into Plato’s ideal society, I wouldn’t be able to stand it. I know that I could never be content where I’m at right now; I haven’t even graduated high school! There’s so much left in the world for me to see and do. Am I really just supposed to be content enough to accept that my life will forever be as it is right now? I think every other person on the planet would feel the same way about that.
    Lauren Lounsbery
    3rd hour

  35. I dont believe that Plato's society could be fixed to make it more ideal to fit the 21st century American audience because America is based on freedom and soing what makes you happy. In Plato's society everyone has a fixed job that they have forever. This is just the way it is and you are born into your life. Americans today always strive to find the job that they are the best at and the job that they can be successful at. If one is not happy with this job, they tend to change it and do what makes them happy. American society is so complex because of our technological advancements and our struggles that we have faced. The common belief we share as Americans is that we should be able to have freedom and do what we please. In Plato's society one cannot chose his life or strive to make it better. To me it seems like Plato's society would only work with people who have never lived anything else and have one way of thinking. They must all believe that this is the best way to live and no one can think or know anything else. This is the opposite of American philosophy today where everyone wants to think freely and understand all of the ways to live. There is just no way Plato's society could work in any way with a 21st century American audience.

    Hilary B. 3rd hr.

  36. I dont believe that Plato's society could be fixed to make it more ideal to fit the 21st century American audience because America is based on freedom and soing what makes you happy. In Plato's society everyone has a fixed job that they have forever. This is just the way it is and you are born into your life. Americans today always strive to find the job that they are the best at and the job that they can be successful at. If one is not happy with this job, they tend to change it and do what makes them happy. American society is so complex because of our technological advancements and our struggles that we have faced. The common belief we share as Americans is that we should be able to have freedom and do what we please. In Plato's society one cannot chose his life or strive to make it better. To me it seems like Plato's society would only work with people who have never lived anything else and have one way of thinking. They must all believe that this is the best way to live and no one can think or know anything else. This is the opposite of American philosophy today where everyone wants to think freely and understand all of the ways to live. There is just no way Plato's society could work in any way with a 21st century American audience.

    Hilary B. 3rd hr.

  37. Okay, I remember writing this blog but I'll write a new one since I have no proof. Plato's society is clearly impossible. Not only must there be a great deal of organization, but also an immense amount of trust. The Peasants have no way of questioning authority. They must all unanimously agree that these philosophers know what's best, regardless if that's true. Also, what would qualify a philosopher as someone worthy of leading such a society? What sorts of tests must they pass or experience must they obtain? His ideas are just that, ideas. They are too vague to truly be applied to today's society. Everything would fall apart. Our system is in place so that anyone is able to lead, police, or follow. There is equal oppertunity for everyone AND if a problem arises in the way our government leads, there are always ways to change and restructure. Our system allows flexibility, whereas Plato's system is set in stone. No government can be truly stable when the people are unhappy with the way its run.

    Chelsea R third hour

  38. I do not think that Plato’s society would work in our society today. The biggest problem in my opinion is that in our American society we have always been told to follow our dreams and we can be whatever we want. In Plato’s society we are born a select class and we have no real chance to move up or down to a different class that we would prefer. It may be possible to implant Plato’s ideas in a new society where everyone has to have a specific job to get it off the ground. But I do not see it working because there is no way to just convert a whole society over to something new. Its just like a store, when a new store opens it is possible to implement any rules you want. You can assign people to cashier and manager and all that. It’s a lot like Plato’s society. But if you come into a already established store where everyone got to pick their job and say. You would be better suited over in that department, you are giving the employees no choices and this will cause them to quit and get new jobs that they do enjoy. It will just fall apart.
    Chris 3rd

  39. The issue I see with Plato's republic, is that it wont work for everyone in a nation. Yes, it would be great if everyone wanted to work together to help everyone else out. It would be wonderful if those with power wouldn't abuse it, and could never be allowed to abuse it. But the entire idea is not realistic.

    Basically, here's my issues with this ideal society:
    1. Peasants - they're allowed to be creative, but they basically get to do all the work. They manage just about everything, from the electrical system, to the power system, the water system, agriculture, etc. Why should one class be the one to do all the work? They basically need to provide for the whole society. I see someone figuring out that the ones that seemingly don't have power, basically have all the power of the society. And if Plato claims that these workers are all corrupt, and therefore cant have power, then why go ahead and give them the control over the most basic things that the society needs to live?
    2. The Philosophers - they can make all the rules, and they basically can see to all the order of the society. Well, first of all, which philosopher rules them all? Just look at all the differences between all the different philosophers who live throughout history; it's obvious that not even the philosophers will always agree with one another. So if all they do is sit there and argue and discuss things all day, what really gets done? Second, what if one day, they order a demand on more food, or more water, basically more work from the peasants. Does it seem fair that some people must do all the work all the time, and others get it sit around and talk all day and discuss things?
    3. People are made to be corrupt. Sure, there's some people in the world who enjoy helping others out. There's some people willing to work together to make an ideal society, and can go with the flow. However, anywhere down the line, someone's going to still go for the desires of the individual. It's just human nature these days. You do things to please other people, that's your desire. You do things to better yourself, or other people, that's your desire.

    Now, to address the original question: how can this society be fixed to work for a modern 21st century America? In my own opinion, America is similar to Plato's society. The ones who don't have that much power do all the boring work. The ones that do have all the power, still have all the money, and let's face it, they don't really do anything at all. So in this sense, Plato's Republic does exist, in a minor way, today.

    -Abbie Schreier

  40. Plato’s ideal society has many flaws the largest being his set up for relationships and his absence of the emphasis on love, those who have cannot rule and those who rule cannot have. Even if by some miracle everyone else in America was ok with this setup his society would fail, because I do not agree with it. I want to do something intellectually stimulating with my life, possibly a leadership position with power, something that is giving to the greater good, and something that I love that requires more than just a trait or a skill. In order to enjoy this success I want to have a husband I’m in love with to share it with and I am most certainly not leaving this earth before I am a mother, preferably to many. In Plato’s society there would be no place for me, so undoubtedly I hate it. I would not like being ruled utterly and completely by someone else and I wouldn’t like a job that I am at and would not want to stay there for my whole like, especially because I might want to be a teacher, which the philosophers would be so I would have to not be married or have children then I could not love and there would be no point in living but if I had kids and wasn’t doing what I loved there would be no purpose in working. This society is not ideal if I am about to cause an uprising just thinking about living in it.


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