Friday, August 18, 2006

Plato Week

As might be obvious from the quotes, I'm reading my way through right now. Here's synchronicity for you. Recently, the Guardian published this article on whether or not we should still be reading The Republic. The author, Simon Blackburn, decided that we should, and got in a little swipe at Leo Strauss. Can you spot it?

Okay, well it's this line: "This line has occasionally been taken by weak-minded commentators in love with the idea of hidden, esoteric mysteries penetrated only by initiates, among whom they are pleased to imagine themselves." Oooh! Take that, bitch! The fur will fly When Nerds Attack!

Anyway, yes The Republic is meandering and a bit authoritarian in its conclusions (although nothing compared to The Laws), but it's also the best analysis I've yet seen as to how democracies become tyrannies, and well worth reading for that alone. Do we have to agree with Plato? I'd hope not. But, do we have to grapple with him? I like to think we do.

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