Tyranny

We had some pretty good discussions yesterday in class. Plato finally got to the dictatorial personality and the dictatorial community. The contrast between the two is sharp: in a dictatorial society, the dictator is the most fearsome person Plato describes. In a dictatorial psyche, the picture is more like Beavis than like Stalin. The insight is wonderful: any community, in the Platonic imagination, exists sub specie aeternitatis. Thus the best sorts of communities exist knowing and submitting to the Good, while those that deny or defy the Good are the worst, the tyrannies.

I hope that my students take this section well in mind as they work on their papers; a philosophy of the good, be that philosophy theological (as it is when I do politics) or Marxist-historical or Nietzschean or consumeristically relativistic, is going to determine to some extent what freedom looks like. I’m curious to see what this round of papers will look like.

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