Is it Important Who Rules

Unfortunately, the philosophical treatise with the most significant literary value, which became the most influential book in the political history of mankind, is Plato’s The Republic. I say “unfortunately” because The Republic is a masterfully created illusion. It suggests that it is possible to have a wise and good ruler who cares for the welfare of the state and who, through his own judgment, guided by his own ethical criteria, can adjudicate and govern justly. Plato suggests that this type of ruler is possible and that people should strive for a state structure that encourages finding such.

Creating the image of a ruler concerned with the good of society is the most dangerous political illusion. It has had a tremendous intellectual influence on a number of philosophers and political thinkers. It has provided the intellectual basis for legitimizing and defending all kinds of dictatorships and some of the most obscurantist political regimes. Can you recall the name of even one dictator who did not present himself as a savior concerned for the good of the people? I do not.

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