Lesson 57- Plato's Republic
As I ended my last program, I was saying that in order to become effective participants in the Cultural War between the Church and Secular Humanism, we had to be aware of two things. First, we had to be familiar with the Christian dream or vision for the international order which seems inevitable; and second, we had to be aware of the dream or vision of the Secular Humanist that is also seeking to become the New World Order.
The reason that we have to be familiar with the Christian dream is because it is the genetic code for the Body of Christ that our spiritual immune system uses as a guide in either accepting or rejecting principles and ideas that try to enter our Christian identity. In other words, it raises a warning flag whenever we begin to sense that something foreign to our basic identity as Christians is about to seek entrance into our Christian paradigm. At the same time, it also allows us to grow and expand by integrating new insights and information that are compatible with our basic identity. This is necessary because as St. Thomas said, the ocean of Truth is too large to be contained in the pools of our minds and thus Truth is a constant pursuit that involves the refining and deepening of our understanding. Jesus, Himself, had said that He would send us the Holy Spirit of Truth who would teach us all things, and St. Paul had advised us that eventually we had to put away the things of a child so that our understanding could grow. This implies that, as Christians, we are involved in a process of unfolding truth that requires us to grow and develop mentally and spiritually throughout our lives and the life of the Church. But to do this, we need to have a clear concept of who we are and what new ideas and concepts are compatible with our basic identity and which are not. If we lack this, then, like people with AIDS who die from foreign infection because their immune system no longer protects their biological identity, we also will start to lose our social and spiritual identity by allowing ideas and principles foreign to our Christian identity to invade and multiply within our ranks. We are witnessing this now as many churches start to incorporate into their identities things, such as abortion and the acceptance of homosexuality, that are totally incompatible with their Christian integrity. As time passes, they will drift farther and farther away from who they are until eventually all of their members who still have an active sense of their Christian identity will be forced to leave them and join a church that still knows who it is.
Thus, we could hypothesis that there is a Natural Law of Identity which was created by God to protect the integrity of all things. Therefore, just as biological bodies need an immune system to defend their own biological identity and integrity, so our spiritual and social bodies needs a mechanism to defend their identity and integrity. Without a functioning immune system, both our bodies and our spirits would allow foreign organisms and ideas to enter our systems and begin to threaten, take over, and destroy them.
Within the natural order, for example, there are viruses that because they are unable to reproduce themselves take over the reproductive ability of our cells. In a similar fashion, foreign philosophies, theories, and ideas take over the reproductive ability of social and spiritual bodies to reproduce themselves. Thus, Catholic schools, colleges and universities, which are the DNA factories of our faith that were created to instill its genetic code into our children, have rightly been accused of being agents that either fail to pass on the substance of our faith or, even worse, of being agents who, being infected with mental viruses, undermine our faith and replace it with philosophies, theories, and ideas which are opposed to it.
Fortunately, we still have the Pope and the Magisterium of the Church which, since they have inherited the Chair of Moses, continue through publications like the Catechism to reassert our basic identity while, at the same time, allowing non-essential changes and modifications, which are needed to meet the changing times and conditions. Thus, for example, although the Church continues to support the death penalty, which was the only answer to serious crimes in less developed times, it now opposes it in any situation where long term imprisonment is able to remove the person from the general community. Where this is not possible or if the person continues to be a threat to guards and fellow inmates, the death penalty may still be used. It is so typical of the balanced approach that is found in so many of the Churchs decisions.
Later, I will return to the identity crisis which is facing the Church and Christianity in general. But for now, I want to address the dream or vision that the Secular Humanist have for the New World Order.
First, I hope that you all realize that whether we want it or not, the world is moving towards a New International World Order as the same dynamics which took us from a town or village oriented society to a state oriented society and then to a national oriented society is now taking us from a national orientation to an international orientation. The business community is already there and it is only a matter of time before the next generation of children and grandchildren will be working and living in other nations just as ours now work and live in other states. This is already happening in other nations as more and more people emigrate to the U.S. to find work and opportunity.
Both President George W. Bush and his father used the term New World Order when speaking of their philosophy for foreign policy and, that is why it is so difficult to know what people mean by it. Both claim to be Christians and George W. Bush announced in a TV debate prior to his election that the person who most influenced his life was Jesus Christ to whom he had committed his life. During his presidency, he claimed that every morning he prayed for Gods Wisdom to direct him in his actions. Yet, the term New World Order has traditionally been connected to Masonic Illuminists who, from the time of the French Revolution, have sought to create an international secular state based on the insights of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. And probably no philosopher was more influential in shaping their vision than Plato, whose work, The Republic not only influenced the French Revolution but also the American Revolution.
We are so fond of referring to our democratic government that we fail to realize that our Founding Father did not create a democracy but rather a republic. Therefore, let me review with you some of the features of Platos Republic so that we might better understand the mind-set of those people who look to it for guidance in how to create the perfect, utopian society governed by the perfect form of government.
Before beginning Platos recommendations for the perfect form of government, lets me first explain what a government is by defining it. Government is a social institution, invented by the left lobe of the brain, for the purpose of making, judging, and enforcing laws that are necessary for social order and justice.
When we say that government is a social institution invented by the left lobe of the brain, it simply means that as human beings came to live in larger and larger groups, the personal and social control that could be exercised in families and smaller groups broke down and thus it created a social problem as issues became less personal and more complex. A father could correct a son and resolve issues among members of his own family but he wasnt able to correct the young man who lived on the other side of town or resolve issues between total strangers. Thus, some type of social mechanism was necessary to solve the problem. Whenever any social problem occurs, it is the left lobe of the brain that struggles with the solution and when it finally discovers one that works, it institutionalizes it into the culture. For example, we might image that before schools existed, some children were taught to read and write by their mother. When other parents learn this, they imposed upon her to teach their children. Eventually it became impossible for her to handle her household duties and, at the same time, as the society became more complex, she did not possess all the skills the children needed to know. Therefore, the logical left lobe concluded that education had to be handled by specialists who were trained to do it. Thus, the school system was born and institutionalized into the culture. In the same way, the left lobe created government endowed with the power that all authority has: the power to make laws, judge laws, and enforce laws. That is why we have three branches of government.
If this the purpose of a government, then logic says that the best form of government is the one that best makes, judges, and enforces laws which lead to social order and justice. Logic also says that to the extent that any government fails in performing any part of its purpose, to that extent it fails as a government. Thus, a government might be good at making laws but poor in enforcing or judging them. Or it might be very good at making, judging and enforcing laws but the laws are unjust. Therefore, one of the oldest problems facing civilized society has been to discover the best form of government that would best satisfy all of the functions of a perfect government. And Plato, in his Republic, gives us his version of the perfect government for the perfect society in which representatives of the people would be given the power to make, judge, and enforce laws that were necessary for social order and justice. Notice, he said representatives. He did not say the people or representatives elected by the people. How these representatives were to be picked is described in his Republic.
First, of all Plato thought that the worst form of government was a democracy because he believed that the masses were asses who didnt even know how to order their own lives, let alone order the complex affairs of a society. Not only didnt they know, they didnt even want to know. They were like children who if given the choice between a cartoon and a documentary would always choose the cartoon. Because of their limited intelligence, they, like children, needed a parental authority to tell them how to run their lives. Thus, the only issue in a good society was how to find a way to assure that those in control were wise and good and had the best interest of the childlike masses at heart. And, so long as these wise leaders provided for the needs of the masses, they didnt have to worry about any revolt taking place since the masses were more interested in pleasure and comfort than they were in freedom. Thus, so long as the dictator was benevolent and provided bread and circuses for the people, they would remain docile children who were willing to turn the responsibility for their lives over to their leaders.
Thus, being unable to rule themselves, they were destined to be ruled by others. Therefore, every democracy was destined to revert into a dictatorship anyway because, when the uneducated, unwise, and ill-informed decisions of the masses finally resulted in chaos, they naturally went looking for a dictator to restore order. Will Durant, a famous historian, echoed this insight when he observed, after a lifetime of study history, when freedom destroys order, the need for order will destroy freedom.
Thus, according to Plato, forms of government followed a cycle from order to freedom and back to order, in which the abuses found in each form led to the next form, which in turn led to the next, and then returned to the first form.
For example, in England during the center Ages, the kings, in order to restored order to the chaos of the Dark Ages, had assumed absolute power. Eventually, the minor nobility resented this and they made the king sign a Magna Carta limiting his power and granting them some say in public policy through the creation of the House of Lords. Then the merchant class, which was rising in power and influence after the Crusades led to trade with the East, began to demand no taxation without representation and the House of Commons, which represented the business class interests, was created. Eventually, the head of the House of Commons became the kings Prime Minister or advisor, and today the Prime Minster is the real head of the government and the king and queen are simply window dressing. At the same time, the masses or common people began to demand the right to vote for the members of the House of Commons and called for a Bill of Rights that would protect them from government abuse. Thus Great Britain evolved from an absolute, dictatorial monarchy to a representative democracy. And, if Plato is correct, this will return to some dictatorial form of government when the government leaders, who are dependent on the approval of the people, begin to base their decisions and policies on the uninformed and shortsighted whims of the masses instead of the informed opinions of experts. In other words, democracies fail because the uninformed masses do not have the wisdom to run a state and their leaders, being dependent on them for their jobs, cannot make the hard decisions which are often necessary to deal with problems. The masses will always seek two contradictory policies. They will demand more benefits from the government and, at the same time, less taxes and this will eventually drive the government into bankruptcy. Thus, when the consequences of these poor decisions hit the fan, the people will panic and beg for someone to assume dictatorial control and the cycle will begin all over again when the abuses of the dictator will lead to a demand for more freedom and more freedom will lead to democracy and democracy will lead to chaos and chaos will lead to a demand for dictatorial control.
The only way to stop this cycle, according to Plato, is to create a government in which benevolent dictators who are wise and good are given the power to represent the interests of the people. Thus the best form of government, according to him, is a Republic in which, not the people, but representatives of the people have the power to make, judge, and enforce laws that are necessary for social order and justice. The only problem remaining is how to assure that these representatives will be wise and good and willing to make the interest of the people their major concern. And that is what Plato sets out to describe in the rest of his work known as The Republic.
The first thing to do is to get rid of the flaw that is found in every form of government. According to him, the thing that ruined every type of government ever tried was nepotism through which the leaders hired their relatives to fill important public positions. This, of course is related to the right hemisphere of the brain, that places the personal before the logical. All of us have experienced this conflict when we are faced with helping our relatives or friends as opposed to those we dont know. And, we all know that who you know is more important that what you know. Because of nepotism, says Plato, fools and incompetents are placed in important government positions and eventually the government collapses. Thus the first step in getting rid of nepotism was to remove every child from their natural parents and have them raised by the state. In this way, no one would know his relatives and therefore would be unable to show any type of favoritism to them.
After eliminating any possibility for nepotism, the next step, says Plato, was to develop a system to choose the most intelligent and moral people to run the state. To accomplish this, all children would be enrolled into a state mandated educational program designed to develop and/or weed out each child according to his natural ability and effort. As the children progressed through each level of the program, they would drop out at whatever level their intelligence or effort determined. Those who dropped out near the bottom took the menial jobs while those who continued on were destined to fill in positions higher up on the scale. Eventually, each child ended up with the job that was most compatible with his intelligence and effort. Those who made it to the end were the cream of the crop and they were destined to become philosopher kings who would rule over the state. Notice, they were not elected; they were selected by an educational process.
The best way to symbolize this process is an upright triangle with its broad base representing all the children entering the system, and its pointed tip representing the few who remained at the end of the educational process.
The first subject was music, which was designed to train their souls. Music, according to Plato, was the most powerful force in shaping a persons soul because, being totally nonverbal, it completely bypassed the rational mind, with its need to evaluate and judge, and entered the soul unimpeded. And, since different styles of music contained different spirits, - for example, peaceful, wild, sensual, militaristic, loving etc- it allowed the state to shape the childs soul according to its needs.
It appears that modern psychology has confirmed his insight because experiments have show that when a stimulus, such as a sound, is introduced into the right, artistic lobe of the brain, there is an immediate response in brain wave patterns. However, when the same sound is introduced into the left, logical lobe, there is a delay in the response, indicating an evaluation of the stimulus before it is accepted. Thus, it seems that all art, especially music, is a powerful tool in shaping values and attitudes and, according to Plato, the quickest way to change any societys soul is to change its music.
After the childrens souls have been shaped through music, the next step is to shape their bodies through gymnastics. This was followed by Art to create in them a love for beauty.
Up to this point, this educational system had been aimed at the right hemispheres of the childrens brain but with the next step comes the training of the left hemisphere. On the next level, the children were taught math and science to create in them a love for logic. This was followed by instructions in reading, writing, and literature to teach self-expression.
It is at this point that we finally separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls because by now the majority of the children have dropped out at lower levels and have been assigned to jobs that are comparable to their skills and efforts. Only those who survive this next level will move on to become philosopher kings who are destined to devote their lives to representing the best interests of the masses.
To prepare them for this job they were instructed in philosophy which is the pursuit of wisdom. Once they had master this, they were sent to live with the common people for fifteen years so that they could learn to understand their needs. Then, they returned to assume their job at the top of the triangle as philosopher kings. To make sure that they were truly focused on their responsibility of being representatives devoted to serving the best interests of the people, they were prohibited from marrying and owning property. And that, according to Plato, is how we finally create the perfect, utopian society.
If the people should ever ask how this arrangement came about where those at the top had assumed total control over the decisions involving those on the bottom, Plato says that the children should be taught the Myth of the Body in which society is compared to a human body. And, like any body, it is composed of many parts, all of which are essential for its functioning and its survival. Thus, those at the bottom are like the feet that are needed to support the body. Others are like legs, while still others are like eyes and hands. And, of course, those at the top represent the brain that directs and controls all the other functions.
Does this sound familiar? It should because it is the same analogy that St. Paul uses when he compared the Church to the body of Christ. Is this a coincidence or did St. Paul know of Platos Republic?
In a previous program, I mentioned that the Early Church developed at a time of great philosophical speculation. The Greeks were great philosophers and so, to a lesser extent, were the Romans. Most of the councils of the Early Church were involved with philosophical issues that to our modern minds, would seem to hold little interest. The Nicene Creed was created to settle philosophical arguments about the nature of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, St. Paul, St. John, and many of the early Christian writers were well versed in philosophy. The Logos that St. John identifies as Jesus in John I was a philosophical term used by the Greeks. Therefore, we should not be surprised that these philosophies have had an influence on our theology since philosophy, by definition, is the pursuit of Wisdom and, according to the Church, Jesus is the Incarnate Wisdom that created the universe.
The two Greek philosophers who have most influenced the Church are Plato, the intuitive utopian dreamer of the world as it should be and Aristotle, the logical realist, who tried to describe the world as it is. St. Augustine, who wrote the City of God as a description of the world as it should be, was a Platonist. And St. Thomas Aquinas who used impeccable logic to discover the world as it is was an Aristotelian. In fact, we might even say that the Early Church which was vision oriented and looking for the Kingdom of God, leaned more towards Plato and later, from the Renaissance on, which was science oriented, it leaned more towards Aristotle.
Now, as I mentioned, the Renaissance was not only the rebirth of Art and Science but it also was the reintroduction of Greek and Roman philosophy into the mainstream of Western European thought. Thus, the Secular Humanists, who were the liberal elements that were rebelling against the Age of Faith rooted in the Dark Ages, were also greatly influenced by Aristotle and Plato. From Aristotle arose the logical analysis from which modern science developed, and from Plato arose the dream for a perfect, utopian society.
Therefore, it should not surprise us that both the American and French Revolution of 1776 and 1789 respectively both sought to establish a Republic in which representatives of the people would make, judge, and enforce laws that were necessary for social order and justice. The major difference between these two revolutions was that the American Revolution wanted to create a republican form of government built upon our Judeo/Christian culture, while the French Revolution wanted to create a republican form of government which would replace it.
It might surprise many people to learn that it was not the intention of the Founding Fathers to create a democracy. They, like many educated people of that time, had been greatly influenced by the Renaissance and were well versed in the writings of the Greek philosophers. Therefore, given an opportunity to create their own version of the perfect society, they borrowed heavily from thinkers like Plato and that is why, even to this day, we pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands instead of to the democracy.
In an earlier program, I quoted from a letter that I wrote to David Boldt, an editorial writer for the Inquirer who had accused the Catholic Church of being un-American because it was not democratic. In that letter, I explained that our Constitution did not intend to create a democracy in which the people decided who would make, judge and enforce laws. The President was to be elected by the Electoral College composed of the best and wisest men in the colonies. The Supreme Court was to by nominated by the President with the approval of the Senators who had been appointed by the state governments as ambassadors to the federal government. The other house of Congress, the House of Representatives, was the only part of the new government that even hinted of democracy because its members were elected by property owners in the states.
It was only later as our government evolved that people like President Andrew Jackson began to impose democratic elements into it. Thus through tradition and a Constitutional amendment, our non-democratic republic slowly evolved into a democratic republic in which the people elected who would represent them.
My point is that today, as we look around the world, we see that monarchies, ruled by kings, are disappearing and are being replaced by governments that claim to be republics which can be either democratic or non-democratic. Thus, both the United States, which emphasized democracy, and the Soviet Union, which was totalitarian, claimed to be republics. And both of them are spin-offs of the philosophers who were responsible for the French Revolution that were also attempting to create a republic.
Thus, it should be obvious that a republican form of government is the choice of those who are seeking to create a New World Order. It was the choice of our Founding Fathers who had a deep sense that they were the instruments of God in the creation of a New World Order. It was the choice of the leaders of the French Revolution who, although equally inspired, did not see themselves as instruments of God but rather as devotees of Human Reason. And it was the choice of Communism where the leaders of the Communist Party assumed the role of philosopher kings who had designated themselves to represent the interests of people. It is the choice of the Illuminati, or Enlightened ones, who believe that an intellectual elite should have the power to micro-manage everybodys life for their own good. And in our own country we see the Supreme Court, our own version of philosopher kings and the least democratic branch of government, manipulating the Constitution to install their view of what is best for the rest of us.
In my next program, I will attempt to show how PlatosRepublic has influenced and inspired many of the secular humanistic intellectuals who want to create large welfare states based on socialism.
Well, I see that my time is up. Heres Dom!