Plato's "disgusting" utopia

Portrait of Plato after an original sculpted by Silanion around 370 B. C. for the Academy of Athens, Archæological Museum, Island of Thasos.

Plato has been considered by many to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, philosopher in history. His influence is incalculable. Unfortunately, his philosophy is a glass that's half empty. He has done tremendous harm.

One of the most famous early visions of an ideal society is Plato's Republic that he wrote 2500 years ago. William Bradford, the leader of the Pilgrims, wrote in his classic, Plymouth Plantation that they lived in a socialist community for three years. They almost starved to death and he changed to capitalism. Immediately everything improved and there was even extra food. He wrote that Plato was wrong. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams hated Plato's concept.

President Thomas Jefferson despised Plato's Republic

Jefferson detested and denounced Plato’s Republic: "While wading through the whimsies, the puerilities and unintelligible jargon of this work, I laid it down often to ask myself how it could have been, that the world should have so long consented to give reputation to such nonsense as this? Fashion and authority apart, and bringing Plato to the test of reason, take from him his sophisms, futilities and incomprehensibilities, and what remains?"  

President John Adams disgusted with Plato

"John Adams agreed with Jefferson’s assessment. Recalling the ‘tedious toil’ of reading Plato’s works, Adams declared: ‘My disappointment was very great, my astonishment was greater, and my disgust shocking.’ Adams believed that Plato’s defense of communal property (including a community of wives) was ‘destructive of human happiness’ and was ‘contrived to transform men and women into brutes, Yahoos, or demons.’"

Plato says this about the abolition of the family within his sick idea of what an ideal city would be, "All these women shall be wives in common to all the men, and not one of them shall live privately with any man; the children too should be held in common so that no parent shall know which is his own offspring, and no child shall know his parents." This abolition of the family is made worse by a belief in the need for eugenics, in that "the best men must have intercourse with the best women as frequently as possible, and the opposite is true of the very inferior."

Aristotle's The Politics is often overshawdowed by his teacher's classic, The Republic. However, Aristotle is so much more practical and insightful in his book. The arguments Aristotle brings in favor of democracy, private property, and society have been proven the better choice throughout history. One could also see the influence Aristotle had on the writers of the US constitution. Aristotle is on the side of God and Abel; Plato is on the side of Satan and Cain.




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