On Plato’s Republic and Just Societies

I see Plato’s book, Republic, as logic-based epistemology applied to political philosophy. Anyway, that would be my claim in my undergraduate Philosophy 101 essay on Plato.

The conceptual range of “logic” and “epistemology” and “politics” in Plato’s Republic is that of a sophisticated and prosperous well-educated aristocrat of late 5th Century and early 4th Century BCE Athenian-Greek society. That conceptual range is free of prehistoric animism, and Asiatic and Celtic mysticism; it is solidly materialistic and absent any “depth psychology” of the type that would be popularized by Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung (the psychology of the “unconscious”). That conceptual range is also absent any qualms about hierarchical society structured on hereditarily-conferred class-based social status and functional roles, and which includes slavery.

So it is easy to see Plato’s Republic as the stone at the center of the plump fruit that is Western Philosophy with its inner flesh of Christian mythology and irrationality — which appropriated, subsumed, reformulated and blended prior pagan myths and mysticisms to serve the needs of temporal political hierarchy — its middle layer of Renaissance and Enlightenment rationalism, and with its outer flesh and skin covering as later envelopments by early 19th Century Romanticism — emotionalism — and late 19th Century Nietzschean anti-religious intellectualism, Freudian-Jungian depth psychology as a substitute for discredited and discarded Christian metaphysics, and the proletarian-socialist consciousness engendered by industrialization.

As 20th and 21st Century individuals, parts of each of us live in various prior periods of the development of Western Consciousness, depending on the particulars of the arcs of our personal psychological, family, ethnic, cultural, educational, economic and political situations.

The slow inter-bleeding of Eastern and Western Thought, at least since the 19th century, has somewhat diluted both, more fundamentally in the East that has become quite enthusiastically capitalist since the 20th Century, than in the West that has added a minor flavoring of Eastern philosophy into the self-absorbed and self-indulgent aspects of its materialistic consumerist obsessiveness.

In his book, Republic, Plato lays out his political philosophy for the establishment and maintenance of a stable, well-ordered and just society. In his time societies were city-states, like Athens in the time of Socrates, Plato and Diogenes. The essential element of Plato’s scheme is the “guidance” of the city — “governing” is too strongly “micro-management” of a word — by a class of “guardians” who were carefully selected and trained from youth for the task, and who were wholly devoted to it for their lifetimes: basically philosopher-guru-priests.

However, I note that the viability of Plato’s political formulation for the construction and operation of just societies rests primarily on the incorruptible moral character of its central and guiding personnel, the guardians, and secondarily on the reasonably stable decency of behavior of the citizens: that is to say, their morality.

Please note that by “moral” I do not at all mean “religious”; there is no functional correlation between the two (and in my view more likely an anti-correlation).

At least since the end of the Neolithic, the idea developed that a stable, well-ordered society (whether just or unjust, but always to the liking of its rulers) could be established solely by political means, such as in: monarchies, parliamentary democracies, socialist and communists states (most pointedly those sharply Marxist materialist), and dictatorships (whether purely materialistic or theocratic).

By political I mean social arrangements for societal management that are constructions external to the individual person. Note that such political structures can include elements of physical compulsion on individual behavior, and elements of thought-control by indoctrination and propaganda to capture, shape and distort individual thought, and that such political structures will still be external to the individual as a moral being.

So, I do not believe it is possible to ensure the stable continuation of any momentarily just society, whatever its political structure, solely on the basis of the forced maintenance of that political structure, nor solely on the basis of a change of political structure whether that change is reformist or revolutionary. Justice as societal stability requires a taproot into incorruptible moral character by a majority of the citizens. Justice is good politics and good political structure, and is a natural outgrowth of good and intelligent morality, which in turn is individually personified as character.

Given the above, I believe that any social movement aiming to “permanently” evolve, reform or revolutionize a society in need of anything from improvement to drastic change in order to make it universally just, has to base its efforts on developing the moral character of its movement adherents and the mass of citizens it wishes to convince, for lifetime incorruptibility. Here, we have faith that a society with a majority of its citizens being of incorruptible moral character will ensure the continuation of such in succeeding generations, by the operation of its educational systems.

Of course any serious movement for social change will act politically whenever it can to counter existing injustices and respond to humanitarian emergencies. But it must never lose sight of its chronic fundamental task — instilling ethics — regardless of the frequency and variety of crisis flare-ups it reacts to during the daily spectacle.

Yes, this prescription for engineering permanent social change for the better is an idealization that may seem impossible to implement, as witnessed by the history of human civilization, but I think it is nevertheless true and has been the most powerful force that has helped bring about whatever degree of decency any of our human societies possesses today.

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Political Memes, Opus #1

Political Memes, Opus #1 is a collection of short pieces produced during September 2017 to January 2018. They primarily reference the United States of America, though a few are more general. These memes were intended to be infectious ideas – simple verbal characterizations of the moment – to entertain and sway the public mind. They were complete failures as prods to shift public opinion and accelerate popular thinking, but perhaps a few encapsulate ideas of longer term value. Rather then let them disappear in a forgotten electronic dustbin, I lay them to rest here in the open, in this remote corner of cyberspace. Enjoy.

Political Memes, Opus #1

U.S. foreign policy is imperialism,
its economic policy is militarism,
its domestic policy is colonialism, and
its management policy is patronism.

9-11 conspiracy advocates are like climate change deniers, they have a
compulsion to cling to scientifically incorrect fantasies out of fear and for the
selfish reasons of: seeking attention, or to continue with harmful capitalist
activities, or both. Stubbornness in clinging to erroneous beliefs and bigotries
(of all kinds), despite being presented with overwhelming factual evidence
discrediting them, is a way of masking the fear of having no control over your
fate as major national and world events occur; and of you gaining the illusion
that you have some leverage with reality because you have superior insight
and foresight for navigating into the uncertain future as it erupts into the hard
reality of the present. These preferred fantasies are comforting delusions
giving a false confidence to ward off discomforting facts.

Most people would rather believe comfortable lies
than uncomfortable facts.

Money can buy fear and envy,
but
money cannot buy character and respect.

Hey Rebs!
If you’re so upset
about Confederate statues coming down,
then why do you object
to Colin protesting the Union flag song?

Public schooling today is child abuse
designed to destroy public education.

People would rather humanity go extinct
than see their illusions die.

Some people spend their entire lives
distracted by momentary urgencies,
and die without ever becoming aware
of what is really important.

The solidarity of the Parasite Class:
Tom Perez is continuing the work of Hillary Clinton
to ensure Trump is elected to a second term.

“Taxation without Representation is Tyranny.”
-> Patrick Henry.
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If we let Blacks vote
it’ll be harder for us to rob the Treasury.
-> Republicans
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If we let Progressives vote in primaries
it’ll be harder for Super-Delegates
to cancel democracy.
-> Democrats.

Happiness in life
grows out of appreciation for it,
despite its many disappointments
and sorrows.

Republican politics is about
robbing the public and punishing
the people they are bigoted against.
Everything Republicans say is a lie
to deny what they are doing to us.

There is no such thing as a good Nazi
or and honest Republican.

Obama, Billary Clinton and Tom Perez
are Alternative Republicans,
not Democrats.

You can’t rely on others for your happiness.

I give the world my best
even knowing that it doesn’t care.

Goddess must have loved stupid people
because she sure made a shitload of them.

It’s so hard to love humanity.

To write the truth is to offend someone.

“Freedom” means
that the more money you have
the easier it is to rip people off.

The problem with education is
that it prepares you for the past.

Life is easier if you don’t think
because
you can always be the innocent victim.

Americans worship people who make money.
That is why the country is run by
the stupidest and least moral among us.

Trump is the paragon of American capitalists:
Fervent in the worship of money,
Delighted in the impoverishment of many,
Fulfilled in the punishment of the poor,
Ecstatic getting tribute from the exploited.

In American public opinion
“crime” means causing harm
insufficiently matched by wealth.

There is nothing that can’t be
incorrectly anticipated.

You can’t make someone enjoy
what they do not want to enjoy.

Socialism is so precious it has to be rationed:
only the US military, corporations, billionaires,
and the US Congress can have it.

The actual disrespect of our soldiers is
them being callously used expendables
trained for foreign bullying
for the benefit of capitalists
insulated from military hazards
and civic responsibilities.

Making money is more important than having a good life.
That is why the country is run by the Living Dead.

If someone says:
“core values” or
“world class” or
“relationship” (not math) or
“win win” or
“thank you for your service,”
they are full of shit.

Never sacrifice your dignity
to advance your career.
You can live through anything
when you maintain your self-respect.

Our rulers are cowards
who specialize in bullying the weak
and robbing the poor.

The reason the American ruling class aligns itself with Israel
(especially Likkud) is that it views the powerless “99%” of
Americans in the same light that Israel views the Palestinians.

There are two kinds of people in the US military:
those getting used, and
the careerist parasites doing the using.

Does bigotry trump law, when labeled as “religious freedom?”

Entertainers seek popularity,
Artists seek fulfillment.

Creativity on a schedule is the death of art.

“Nothing is so tempting to an inferior mind
as this possibility of rising on the talent of others.”
—> Honoré de Balzac

“The right to be rude is the salary that artists exact for telling the truth.”
—> Honoré de Balzac

The most beautiful people in the world
are those who have kind hearts.

Foreign policy is crafted to extend domestic control.
It is not (repeat, not) for your benefit.

Trump is beloved
by people envious
of a successful narcissist
and liberated bigot.

The U.S. is not a merit-based society,
it is a patronage-based class system.

Bigotry is one of the main pillars of American society.
We have federalized goon squads rounding up people
labeled as aliens,
just to satisfy the bigotry of white supremacists
and dark-skinned nativists
who pine for the dough-white Master Race
to love them uncritically.

Poetry is just dancing with words
to show a feeling.
If you write well you don’t see the words,
you see the feeling.

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The Conservative Bible, and Equality vs. Freedom

The Conservative Bible and Creed

The Conservative Bible, rule #1:
The rich have the right to steal, the poor do not have the right to live.
The Conservative Creed, tenet #1:
I am perfect, all my problems are caused by other people.

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The Conservative Bible, rule #2:
The greater the wealth, the more it is deserved.
The deeper the poverty, the more it is deserved.

The Conservative Creed, tenet #2:
Wealth, by definition, means living on capital gains, not wages.
Wages are a necessary evil for the upkeep of the servants.

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The Conservative Bible, rule #3:
Human rights can never be interpreted to infringe on property rights.

The Conservative Creed, tenet #3:
Failure to turn a profit or increase share value are the only justifiable complaints against corporations.

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The Conservative Bible, Lesson#1, Morality & Society

Morality (Good versus Evil, Good versus Bad):
1. Anyone or anything that makes money and accumulates wealth is “good.”
2. Anyone or anything that costs money, and accumulates debt is “evil” or “bad.”
3. The magnitude of one’s goodness is given by the magnitude of one’s wealth.
4. The magnitude of one’s evil, or badness, is given by the magnitude of one’s debt.
5. A person of neutral moral value balances losses with income, and debts with assets.

The only social value is money.
The only social responsibility is to enrich oneself.
The greatest social problem is government.
The problem of government is to minimize its size and cost consistent with its function.

Government is the minimum bureaucracy necessary to maximize wealth enrichment; it:
1. Maintains military forces to protect wealth (the “good”) from foreign threats.
2. Maintains internal security forces to protect wealth (the “good”) from domestic threats.
3. Maintains military forces to enhance wealth enrichment by opening foreign markets.

Government is the source of the ultimate social evils:
1. Taxes: the imposition of losses on enrichment.
2. Regulations: the imposition of restrictions on enrichment.

The most important organizing principle in society is the corporation.
Opposition to corporate society is communism, the most dangerous idea of all time.
Socialism is the excess overhead cost of government from coddling the unproductive.

There is no such thing as “greed,” one is either:
1. productive: by being morally responsible to enrich oneself, or,
2. unproductive: by being criminally negligent to be poor.

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The Conservative Bible, tenet #4:

All of humanity fits into five categories:
1. Friends: provide dividends
2. Peers: provide investment
3. Workers: provide profits
4. Layabouts: create expenses
5. Enemies: create losses.

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Liberal Intolerance vs. Conservative Intolerance

Conservatism (n.), the irrational fear that somewhere someone you think is inferior is being treated as your equal.

Liberalism (n.), the comfortable presumption that your attitudes mark you as a superior and deserving individual.

“Conservatives” and “Liberals” are the two varieties of capitalists.

The critique by conservatives about “liberal intolerance,” a.k.a. liberal intellectual and political orthodoxy, cuts both ways; “conservative intolerance” to counterarguments is just as prevalent. Both of these simply reflect the ignorance, shallow-mindedness and fears of two large groups of people with opposing biases.

People who are good critical thinkers (not many of these) and open-minded (not many of these either) so as to continuously evolve their opinions and beliefs on the basis of new learning (from whatever source) based on facts (real ones) can enter into political discussions and arrive at useful results. Such useful results can include an agreement about the actual facts of a given issue, and then forthright statements of what each of their personal preferences and biases are, and that their only unresolved differences are about how they each choose to feel about those agreed-upon facts.

A good example for observing this is climate change (CC). The facts are indisputable, the only real differences are how “conservatives” and “socialists” feel about it (“liberals” – one of the two types of capitalists – feel pretty much the same as conservatives about CC, but they don’t really want to admit it). Socialists fear CC more than conservatives, and want to make whatever “economic sacrifices” are necessary to prevent it. Conservatives fear any obstruction to their prime concern of immediate personal enrichment more than they fear any harm from the “slow” changes to Earth’s habitability caused by CC.

With facts forthrightly admitted, two opposing “feelings about the facts” can intelligently engage in discussion to explore these two sets of feelings in an effort to spark deeper thought in the opposite party, which deeper thought (if honest) can induce an individual to critically examine their own sources of willful ignorance and fear.

You can’t change someone else’s mind, only they can do that for themselves. However, a refusal to acknowledge facts is a sign of a closed and socially dead mind. Closed-minded people, who lack the intellectual honesty and courage to be forthright about their actual motivating preferences, biases, fears and bigotries, become hostilely defensive when they sense their biases being challenged. That’s when you get clashes of bullying bluster and bombastic bigotry against snide, arrogant, dismissive and patronizing outrage.

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Why are Republicans so mean-spirited? What is it that’s eating at them and keeps them so angry about the pittances the poor get? They have a tremendous envy of the scant happiness the poor may enjoy, and a sad compulsion to act malevolently toward them. Why? How can they have happy lives harboring such bitterness? Why can’t they just live and let live? This is what I have never ever been able to understand. It seems like a wound that won’t heal: a horrible abscess of the soul and a poisoning of the brain. The materialism and wealth accumulation that consumes their lives seem like attempts to create a monumental artificial beauty that masks the repulsive and tragic corruption hollowing out their humanity. This is why Republican-type people seem so fake to me, soulless androids trapped by limited programming for hostility, which is advanced by deceit and masked by denial, and which is based on resentment of those deemed inferior. I think their ongoing and unacknowledged anger is an unconscious eruption of protest and rebellion against the repression of their own humanity.

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Equality vs. Freedom

Conservatism (n.), a political economy that rewards wealth and punishes poverty.

Liberalism (n.), a political economy that rewards wealth without rancor to the poor.

Socialism (n.), a political economy that equitably maximizes social benefits instead of inequitably maximizing individuals’ profits.

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Conservatives (n.), self-imagined victims of the poor who they persecute in revenge.

Liberals (n.), self-imagined humanitarians who believe they deserve advantages and appreciation.

Socialists (n.), people who want fairness to govern the politics of their society.

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Conservatives and Liberals are both capitalists, want limited government (“freedom”), and are thus anti-socialist (anti-“equality”).

Socialists are anti-capitalist, and thus favor a state-managed economy (“equality”).

Democratic Socialists are a hybrid of Liberals (capitalists) and Socialists (anti-capitalists), their political economy is state-regulated capitalism for the elimination of poverty, managed by a democratic process (“Freedom” moderated by “equality”).

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People vs. the Purpose of Government

Every American is guaranteed the right to try to become wealthy on their own. The purpose of government is to protect the wealth of those who have successfully profited from their right to seek wealth. The degree of that protection is proportional to the amount of wealth.

Government is not the problem, the people are the problem. If the government can just defund the people it will have all the money it needs (from taxing the people) to spend on the really important things: billionaire bonuses (need-baseless untaxing); controlling world fossil fuel reserves (power hoarding); wars for Zionist expansion (Modern Manifest Destiny); free Wall Street speculation insurance (single-payer Fortune-care); corporate welfare (job security for oil, pharma, war tech, etc., billionaires); intelligence, robotic and special military forces to control the world (real bomb delivery by White Pentagon House laptop); and domestic occupation forces to corral the people away from wealth-safe, toxin-free and government-only areas (IDF, Internal Defense Force). Public voting remains a problem to government security, and needs to be replaced with access-controlled private voting by purchase of candidates. “Voting is so precious it has to be rationed.”

The people do not have constitutional rights to: dignity, respectful treatment, clean water (everywhere), food (and also real, organic and non-GMO food), health, health benefits (whether publicly funded or employer-based), housing, winter heating, financial security, family planning & reproductive rights (services, equipment and accessories), truthful news media, good public education, full-time living-wage employment, vacations, determine terminal care actions for self with medical assistance (everywhere), and exclusively publicly-funded elections with open primaries and debates open to all candidates. These are all privileges, and privileges are awarded on the basis of competitive bidding by privilege buyers. A variety of private charities offer some of these privileges to the public in many regions of the country, on the basis of their own assessments of individual need and merit.

The burdensome overhead on government for populist benefits must be eliminated to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of protecting wealth and property proportionately, and of accelerating capital gains.

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