Utopian Society Thinkers Plato Part 2 The Republic

About the famous thinker Plato who wrote about a utopian society he referred to as The Republic.


PLATO (427?-347 B.C.)


Plato said, "Until Philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy... cities will never cease from ill, nor the human race." His ideal republic was governed by such philosopher-princes, whom he called guardians. They did not achieve their rank due to birth, but as a result of natural ability. All children went to school until they were 20, when they were given moral, physical, and mental tests to weed out the less fit. Those who failed these tests became businessmen, workingmen, and farmers-capitalists who were allowed to own property and possess money. The ones who passed the tests went on to 10 more years of education, followed by another weeding-out process. The people who failed at this time became soldiers, who lived communistically. The others-the future guardians-studied divine philosophy for five years, at the end of which they went into the world to lead practical lives until, at age 50, they entered the ruling class, with power their only possession. They were not allowed to own property or possess money, and wives and children were held in common.

The 5,040 citizens of the Republic (the number that could be addressed by a single orator) supplied 360 guardians selected by special tests; each month 30 of the guardians ruled.

Marriage was governed by genetic considerations. The best married the best, the inferior the inferior. Only superior children were allowed to live; the others were killed at birth. Survivors were put in a rearing pen and brought up as a group.

The Republic was not a free society. The state controlled the arts, education, and religion. People led lives without luxury, since to Plato luxury represented trouble. His credo was "A place for every man, and every man in his place."

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