By Abbey Mikha
This essay intends to show weakness in Plato’s argument for the conclusion that democracy is a bad form of government. The most questionable of the three premises of the main argument as reconstructed by Dr. Pinto is premise two which states, “The majority of citizens are not competent to make fundamental societal decisions.” Moreover the unconvincing support for premise two is assumption two which states, “You aren’t able to achieve the most good possible consistently if you don’t know the relative goodness or value of outcomes of possible societal actions policies.” Plato perceives that only a small minority of people have the ability to perceive the true consequences of their actions and policies and how much good can be accomplished from the decisions they make hence they alone can achieve the most good viable and only they should make all the decisions that will impact society. This relates to the main conclusion since if such individuals alone are capable of making decisions and they are the minority then the majority of people are not capable of making decisions. Hence this line of reasoning would determine that democracy is an inadequate system of governance. Plato has chosen to forget the goodness and principles of the farmers of the world, especially the Assyrian farmers who lived in his time and still live in the Nineveh Plains, and those of the children of the world.
Assumption two following from premise two is false since not all who have knowledge regarding the relative goodness or value of outcomes of possible societal actions and policies can achieve the most good. Not all such individuals have the tenacity it requires to implement their knowledge of relative goodness into actions and policies to achieve the most good possible. Thus the question arises of whether a human can have the ability of knowing relative goodness yet still not be competent to make such societal decisions for lack of courage. Common knowledge tells us that there have been many such individuals who knew so much of the relative goodness Plato speaks of yet were not able to contribute their knowledge. These individuals were so lacking in courage that they had no ability to rise up against negative norms. Individuals who cannot rise against those who oppose them knowing much, maybe even knowing all, yet still are not able to put their knowledge into action. This I call phobia of the repercussions from just and moral acts. It is in our engagement that we show what we have knowledge of not in what virtuous conclusions we have drawn within our psyche. Therefore the sub conclusion leading up to assumption two that a person or group may seem to lack knowledge of the relative good of possible outcomes of possible societal actions policies and is not competent to make fundamental societal decisions is unsound. Since such individuals may stumble upon knowledge of the relative virtue of possible societal outcomes and policies and may be just as competent to make fundamental societal decisions as those who harbour knowledge and know the relative goodness or value of outcomes of possible societal actions policies but have not the courage to implement their knowledge for the betterment of society.
A simple farmer, perhaps an Assyrian farmer, who sustained the world by spreading the farming method and cared for the earth since ancient times, an old wise unschooled man or woman may from experience have knowledge of true goodness or intuitively choose the good. Such an individual may even have the courage to implement and follow through with actions to achieve the most good possible for his or her society if they had the power. Hence such persons would be as competent to make decisions pertaining to society and should at least have the right to voice opinion and choose what is right and good seen through their minds eye. Assyrians have been farming in Assyria for thousands of years. Even wine making originates in that region and time and prior!
A child perhaps, a five year old girl, my neighbour, when asked how many times she eats a day, and if she could would she give up one of those meals to feed five children of the world who are very hungry responds with a yes. Through her innocence she chose what we believe to be morally good and not just for good of her society alone but for children of the human race around the world. Without knowing of the good specifically the child shows competence and even more competence than many of the leaders today who know so much yet ignore the cries of hungry dying children all around the world. My neighbour would help children in Africa, Syria, Assyria, and every child who thirsts and hungers, but that is because she is kind and supposed mature humans are unlike her.
How many souls have walked upon the earth who have known and have had knowledge, yet when in positions of power forgot this knowledge or even misused it. These could have contributed to the betterment of our world and to the human race, but could not rise up and defend what they knew in the depths of their heart and soul was true and right. They could have influenced the world positively for the future of the children of the earth, but they did not, not because they lacked in knowledge rather because they lacked in courage.
In conclusion premise two of the main argument is weak, assumption two is false since not all of who have knowledge regarding the relative goodness or value of outcomes of possible societal actions and policies can achieve the most good. This makes the sub conclusion frail. Hence the argument that democracy is a bad form of government is not substantial. No small minority of individuals regardless of the amount of knowledge which they may have or which they harbour within their psyche should be given the power to rule over all and we should have faith in our workers, the farmers, including the Assyrian farmers in Assyria, the old wise unschooled souls, and our kind children the future who stumble upon knowledge at times through wisdom and innocence.
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Abbey is a writer and blogger interested in humanitarian issues...
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