David and Solomon as Models for Plato’s Philosopher King

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Taken from: http://apaul-solomonsmind.blogspot.com/2008/01/platos-republic.html

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Plato’s Republic

After church one day, I spoke to a friend and I brought up a thought I had during the service about David and Solomon being the first Philosopher Kings. Everything I heard about Plato’s Philosopher kings was that he led by great wisdom. I started to think if Plato used Solomon as the cornerstone of his work “The Republic”? Solomon, being the wisest man the world has known, brought great wealth and power to Israel and the people were at peace. He would have been the perfect person to base a great leader on. Plus Plato lived in the 4th Century BC. Plus he traveled greatly during the time including a trip to Judea before writing this Classic. This peaked my interest, that perhaps the great Philosopher King that the earthly world is clamoring for is based on Solomon? I had to do more research. I had read many accounts of “The Republic” but I had never read the Dialogue, so I read the work and here is what I found.

The Dialogues of Plato are written almost as plays, that places his old mentor Socrates as the central character. Plato seems to explain his thoughts through the interaction of Socrates with the other characters in the story. The Republic starts as Socrates and a few friends going to a festival and they start talking about philosophy of a just man, then move into a story of the best government for the people and who should lead it. All through this Dialogue he uses Socrates’ questioning style to maneuver the other characters into his line of thought. He speaks about leaders and being a just ruler by stating that a just ruler does thing for the weak the same way that a Doctor does things for the sick and not the healthy, and the same way a captain does things for the good of the crew not what is good for him.

Then he goes on and describes justice and praises the just man. Socrates’ friend gives a description of the purely unjust man and shows how a perfectly unjust man will seam like the most just man of all. They state that the truly unjust man will go about it in the truly right way and gets away with it. The one that is not perfectly unjust will gets caught and is considered incompetent and is not the perfectly unjust, since perfect injustice consists of appearing just when you are not. The perfectly unjust man will have reputation of being the most just man. Then we need to contrast him with the “truly” just man. He is a simple and honorable man that does not appear to be just. We must deprive him of the appearance of justice because the appearance of justice will bring him recognition and rewards and then it will not be clear if his motive for justice was a desire for justice or a desire for the rewards and the recognition. This I disagree with completely, that a perfectly just man will not care of the view of others. He will do what is just and leave it at that, not boasting or using this deed. Plato contends that we must strip him of everything but justice. He must have the worst possible reputation for injustice but truly being just, and have this reputation until his death. This description almost makes me think that Plato has a premonition of the only truly just man. Does not Christ meet every aspect of the truly just man listed above? Was he not given a criminal’s death when he was completely just? They then talk of the life that awaits them both here on earth. The unjust man would ask to rule cities because he has the reputation of justice. He can marry who he likes and make contract and partnership with who he wants. He finds it easy to make himself a rich man because he has no compunction about acting unjustly. And the just man is nothing of the sort. He just receives a cross to bear (These are my words).

Socrates defends the just man. And he gives the just man three elements to being just; Courage, Wisdom, Temperance or Self-discipline. First Socrates changes the subject to a just city but intends to describe the just man with the description of the just city. They start with the origin of a city. He starts stating that the origin of a city is because not one of us is self sufficient and need others. He starts talking about how a city is formed and what makes a just city and come to conclusion that a just city is just because of its rulers are just. At this point, he explains that citizens should be classified into four types, the Gold, the Silver, the Bronze and Iron. Gold should be the ruling class and would be the best of the people. They should be trained to be the most just and wise. They should also be removed from the need for money and therefore not be restrained by greed. They should learn the needs of the people and learn what is best for the people. The Silver would be the warrior class and the other lesser important leader roles like doctors and such. And next would be the Bronze and lower classes. These are the common people that need leaders.

The guardian class or Gold class would live communally and would need for nothing except the needs of their people. They would learn from an early life the philosophy and manager skills to run a city. Socrates finally states that these leaders should be Philosophy Kings, for only the Philosopher can have the wisdom to run such a city. He states that these rulers should do whatever is needed to better the lives of the people. Then a question on the women and the children come up, and he comes to say that the families for the ruling class should be in common, that women should be treated the same as the guardian men, each man with knowledge of each women and not knowing his children. With children he states, that the best class should reproduce and have many children and with the lower classes it would only be best that the embryos never see the light of day. This is also the view of any deformed children; only the best people should be born, not the lesser people.

After defining the just city he returns to the just man and states that the just man would be one that does what he is best suited to do; a hunter being a hunter, a farmer being a farmer, a bronze man being a bronze man and a ruler being a ruler. A hunter should not be a ruler because he does not have the skills to be a ruler. Only one trained to rule should rule.

All in all I came from this book with a greater understanding of the liberal view of today’s society. The leaders of the liberal view feel that they are Philosopher Kings in charge of a great just city, and they are the great defender of this city. These are the same liberals that called for free love and communal living in the 60‘s. They force abortion on the lower classes and try to destroy the common people’s society by degrading the value of marriage. All of this thought came not just from Plato, but also from Rousseau and Voltaire. Rousseau and Voltaire shouted “let us make a heaven here on earth and forget about God. Let us rely on reason and human understanding.” These are the same people that attempted at trying to have Enlighten Despots in many European nations, that would rule a nation like these Philosopher Kings of Plato and Socrates, but they all failed with huge amounts of bloodshed; with the French Revolution the bloodiest of all.

In all of these descriptions of the just man I saw one thing. The just man that they described is the perfectly unjust man of the first part of the story. “…The truly unjust man goes about it in the truly right way and gets away with it. The one that gets caught is considered incompetent since perfect injustice consists of appearing just when you are not. They will have the reputation of being the most just man…” They gave this statement when describing the unjust man. Does the Just man in the second part of the story not sound like he will have the gone about it in the right way? This just man lies to his people because “The end justifies the means” and ends up doing what is not just for all the people; only the ruling class. He does all of this in the guise of making the best choices for the society.

Plato tried to introduce his great leader as a man that uses his great human reasoning ability. He believed that man’s wisdom could create a society that was perfectly just, but he did not want to admit that man could never be perfectly just. That ingrained into him was something that would always move to the evil inside of his spirit. Since he lived only a couple hundred years after the greatest part of Israel‘s history, Plato must of known of the story of how David and Solomon ruled with great wisdom and created a great and just nation. He must have known that with this great wisdom that each man ended up doing unjust things after failing to follow God’s guidance. So in the end even Solomon, whom was considered the wisest man ever to live, that had great courage, and was very self-disciplined, ended up becoming unjust to his people and led them astray.

I will say that at the same time of the Enlightenment and the attempts of Philosopher Kings in Europe, a group of castaways in the new world created a different republic that was not formed in the image of Plato’s Republic, but in the theory that each individual is as great as another and getting representatives from all the people would create a truly just nation. They based there nation on something different then man’s wisdom; God’s wisdom. Thomas Jefferson, who admired the French enlightened leaders as a Deist, still spent many a line on the importance of God in society. As is written in a Memorial dedicated to this man are these words.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. That his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between Master and Slave is Despotism. Nothing is more written in the book of fate then that these people are to be free.

This Book of Plato’s does give good information, but not of the proper enlightened government, but of the folly of man’s justice. As Solomon has shown us, man can rule justly, as long as he follows the guidance of the truly just man, Jesus Christ.


5 thoughts on “David and Solomon as Models for Plato’s Philosopher King

  1. You need to study the Wisdom of Solomon, especially the following from 14. It isn’t finished, but my translation seems more legitamate that what Bibles carry.

    The inventor of idolatry stated that idols can rule;
    but in reality they degrade hierarchism.
    But it’s not from the founding,
    nor from the king’s successors,
    that the imperials of rulers entered into the hierarchies,
    and thus achieved: “Shorten the hierarchy to its death”, as they had plotted,
    But someone had hoaxed a mourning leader: “The quickest return of your heir?
    Make an icon in likeness of the once dead heir,
    only now as a real leader,
    then hand it to your hierarchy as mysteries and ceremonies.”
    Then in time, someone took the irrelevant practice like law to protect,
    and heirs were proclaimed into this likeness.
    Those who see not the ability to honour leaders due to the distance between rulers,
    namely from afar sight,
    reprinted the apparent icon the respect of kings to follow.
    They made it in order that the likeness imitate the absent idol
    due to the plans.
    Into the wait of religion, the unknowing or the designer were given pride.
    The most certain seized determination to please (___)
    the ability the likeness upon the better.
    The masses, drawn by the charm of the workmanship,
    soon took as an object of worship the one who shortly before was honored as a human being.
    So this became a snare for the hierarchies,
    that leaders enslaved by either bribes or terror
    praised the incommunicable Name on stones and wood.
    It was not enough for them to destroy the followers of the leader;
    but even though they rule in a great war resulting from idolotry,
    they call such evils peace.
    For while they practice either heir ceremonies or occult mysteries,
    or frenzied carousing in exotic rites,
    They no longer respect either governments or guard treaties;
    but they either meddle and plunder each other, or deny each other’s protection.
    And all is confusion—meddling and murder, theft and deceit,
    distrust, betrayal, tensions, war,
    Disturbance of good leaders, neglect of pardons,
    deception of the public, meddling of affairs,
    disorder of allies, tensions and imperialism.
    The glory of them rulers founding idol-hierarchies
    is the evil and cause to the end of a hierarchy.
    Or as they celebrate darkness as goodness, or prophesy false religion,
    or rule unjustly or quickly break their promises.
    As their trust is in lifeless idols,
    they have sworn falsely and have accepted the harm.
    But on both counts justice shall overtake them:
    because they thought perversely of hierarchism by devoting themselves to idols,
    and because they deliberately swore false oaths, despising goodness.
    Whether it be the current ruler, or the heirs,
    trials shall take place against the imperial’s offenses.

      1. It seems better than most at my youth and far more readable, I’ve had great fun finding all the bias the Catholic translators commit.

        Wisdom 14:31
        (Catholic NABRE)
        For it is not the might of those by whom they swear,
        but the just retribution of sinners,
        that ever follows upon the transgression of the wicked.

        What I’ve found

        “Whether it be the current ruler, or the heirs,
        trials shall take place against the imperial’s offenses.”

        Quite communist I have found the Bible to be, I shall personally retranslate important sections like this for my former communist polititian/grandfather.

      2. Yes of course it seems Communist, because the Commos have appropriated Hebrew and Christian wisdom:

        Pope Francis, known for his heart for the poor, has declared that Communists have “stolen the flag of Christianity”.
        Having outwardly criticised capitalism in the past, denouncing “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power,” the Pope made his latest remarks in an interview with Il Messaggero – a local newspaper in Rome.
        According to Reuters, Francis was asked about a blog post in Economist magazine that likened his call for economic reform to Leninism. He responded by suggesting that Communism has similar aims to Christianity in terms of the welfare of vulnerable people.
        “I can only say that the Communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the centre of the Gospel,” he said, going on to cite scripture which underlines the need to help those in need.
        “Communists say that all this is Communism. Sure, 20 centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: ‘but then you are Christian’,” he added.
        Agence France Presse reports that Francis also mentioned Kark Marx, noting that the founder of Communism “did not invent anything”. It is not the first time that the Pontiff has candidly discussed Marxism, either – last year he told Italian newspaper La Stampa that “Marxist ideology is wrong. But in my life I have met a lot of Marxists who are good people”.
        The Pope has become well known for advocating on behalf of the poor, and working to protect and support the vulnerable. He has repeatedly called for a “poor church for the poor,” declaring in his apostolic exhortation last year: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security”.

      3. To my grandfathers, this is rhetoric I am afraid. They remember the churches of corruption in Chile, just as we Canadians see churches as graveyards of native children. No offense, it is simply what we feel; One by one the Canadian churches close, with little hope they will recover.

        Same goes for communism! First, the CIA’s meddling in 50+, along with coups like the one in ’73, guaranteed the only successful communist leaders were, well, dictators. Like Christianity, communism needs a proper reboot.

        (conclusion at the end of this message if this is too long)

        Now, it appears that philosophy matters not, rather the leader’s likeness. As all leaders die, we must find those of the same likeness, most commonly their offspring.
        This logic appears to be the original basis of the hierarchies.

        Some points in the Bible I’ve noted to be of importance:

        When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; & he named him Seth.

        Why do the nations conspire & the peoples plot in vain?
        The kings of the earth take their stand & the rulers gather together against the Lord & against his Anointed One.

        -“Temple” appears to be the main governing building of the hierarchy.
        -Note: the rulers in this passage are translated as “people” in other areas of the bible.

        1Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him & made him exceedingly great.
        2Then Solomon spoke to all Israel-to the commanders of thousands & commanders of hundreds, to the judges & to all the leaders in Israel, the heads of families-
        3and Solomon & the whole assembly went to the high place @ Gibeon, for God’s Tent of Meeting was there, which Moses the Lord ‘s servant had made in the desert.

        More about “people”

        10Give me wisdom & knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
        11God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire & you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, & since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom & knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king,

        5’Since the day I brought my people out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built for my Name to be there, nor have I chosen anyone to be the leader over my people Israel.
        6But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there, & I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.’

        8let the Lord judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord , according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.

        “Angels” seems to refer to diplomats of the Lord

        And they reported to the angel of the LORD, who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace.”

        Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.

        “stairways to heaven” appear to refer to the temple’s stairs.

        He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

        The side chambers surrounding the temple were wider at each successive story. Because the structure surrounding the temple went upward by stages on all sides of the temple, therefore the width of the temple increased as it went higher; and thus one went up from the lowest story to the highest by way of the second story.

        Let’s get one thing straight: War is war, and we aren’t headed there. These rulers, whether they are communist, nazi, or christian, always have the most wicked among them.
        Lenin attempted a people’s government, but at his deathbed, wrote to his Soviet government demanding Stalin’s removal. As Stalin was the only person to deliver the letter, it was never delivered. And so Stalin ruled.

        Science! We are closer than ever to GMOing multi-cellular organisms! CAS9!

        My best wish be we discover whatever genes cause this, imperial wickedness, I suppose it is called, then gather all rulers of wickedness and change their DNA to that of real leaders.

        Their “way”, their “likeness”, will be of the founder of communism and of the founder of hierarchies.

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