Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that she is running for president a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, yeah, I know I am late to the party (again). But better late than never. The thing about her announcement (on Twitter and her web page) that I found the most interesting was the following statement:
“Every day Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion, so you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead and stay ahead.”
I found it interesting because in my graduate class on the History of Economic Theory, we were required to read Plato’s The Republic. In this work, Plato describes his perfect society of rule by wise philosopher-kings and what he called the “imperfect societies”. These societies are defined as:
- Timarchy – rule by the military. Under this form of government, a society was kept in a state of constant war.
- Oligarchy – rule by the wealthy. Wealth is the criterion of merit, and the wealthy are in control.
- Democracy – rule by the people. Democracy actually means ‘mob rule’. Plato stated that Democracy always devolves into Tyranny.
- Tyranny – rule by a dictator. Plato stated that tyranny was the result of the conflict between the rich and the poor, and that the leaders rob the rich, keep as much as they can, and distribute the rest to the people.
Plato went on to discuss the characteristics of the Tyrant, who he also called the Popular Leader. One of these characteristics is that the Tyrant would call himself the “champion of the people” and lead a class war against owners of property. Sound familiar?
The entirety of The Republic outlines Plato’s ideal society, and why rule by his wise philosopher-kings would be superior to the other ‘imperfect societies’. There are a couple of other relevant items in the book: the allegory of the Sea Captain, and the allegory of the Cave.
In the allegory of the Sea Captain, Plato posits that leaders are like the captain of a ship. The captain of the ship is responsible for the lives of his crew. His decisions and actions will determine if they live or die. And if crew members start to die, the crew will mutiny. So, the incentive for the captain is to treat his crew well and make sure that they all survive their journey. So, too, a leader must care for the people and keep them safe. Without their captain, the crew would perish.
In the allegory of the Cave, Plato posits that most people can’t handle the truth. It is as if they are chained to the wall of a cave, and can only see the shadows cast on the wall by a fire. Plato then states that their perception of reality is only what they see in the shadows on the wall. And that if one person broke his chains, or was released and left the cave, that reality would drive them insane. Thus, leaders are not to reveal the truth to their fellow citizens but they are to lie to them for their own good.
This is what today’s leaders believe. For that reason, I believe that everyone should be required to read The Republic in high school prior to being allowed to graduate , as well as Machiavelli’s The Prince. Yeah, that could happen. And monkeys might fly out of my butt.
If you want to truly understand the beliefs and motives of modern politicians, these books are invaluable. Because they are the blueprints that are used to gain and keep political power. The elites have read them. They are taught at all of the elite universities. And the tactics described in them are still used by politicians nowadays.
Fortunately, there are people who aren’t believing Hillary‘s schtick:
A registered Democrat and a hypnotist with her own small business in Des Moines, Deitz supported Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But Hillary Clinton is a different story.
“I don’t trust Hillary at all,” said Dietz, who’s 64. “I think Hillary is out for Hillary.”
In fact, a plurality of Iowa voters say Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, according to a recent Quinnipiac University Poll. It’s worse in the swing states of Colorado and Virginia, where an outright majority say she’s not honest and trustworthy.
“I think she’s dishonest and has been dishonest with the country about her emails,” said Doris Devaney, 54, of Cedar Rapids, a likely Republican voter whose family owns an industrial pipe business.
Winter is still coming. But there may be some hope for this country yet.