My Anti-Democratic Rant

No, I’ve not become a Republican. At least not the kind that wears elephant pins.

Yesterday in class I made up for my lost Thoreau time and took on the role of Plato, arguing with some force that for the really important things in life, people didn’t trust democracy. Nobody wants to admit and deny medical students based on a county-wide popular vote, and no college is going to let the students vote for the office of English teacher. I railed at the class, telling them that their insistence that the less able have an equal say in who governs indicates an apathy towards justice. Some were amused by my bad acting, but some got genuinely mad. I like that.

Of course, there are good and intelligible reasons to prefer popular elections for political officers. But I wasn’t going to give them those reasons; part of the challenge of being an American college student ought to be the struggle to articulate the good, not just to jot down the teacher’s definition of the good for the sake of reproducing it on the final exam.

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Filed under Plato, teaching

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