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Ancient Greeks: Plato on Political Participation

Ancient Greeks: Plato on Political Participation

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that
you end up being governed by your inferiors.

~ Plato, The Republic

Plato, (born c. 428/427 bce—died c. 348/347 bce), ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates (c. 470–399 bce), teacher of Aristotle (384–322 bce), and founder of the Academy, best known as the author of philosophical works of unparalleled influence.

Building on the demonstration by Socrates that those regarded as experts in ethical matters did not have the understanding necessary for a good human life, Plato introduced the idea that their mistakes were due to their not engaging properly with a class of entities he called forms, chief examples of which were Justice, Beauty, and Equality.” ~ Encyclopaedia Britannica

READ MORE: Plato; Greek Philosopher | Encyclopaedia Britannica

Human nature has not changed over the millennia. The question is, do we learn from history?

We, who are mentally stable, intellectually activated, and morally sound, should be serving in politics. The weak, however, cannot discern their own ineptitude and often misguidedly throw their hat in the ring. It is not a kindness to anyone to allow them to attain office.

That’s one of my thoughts. Care to share what you are thinking?

Ancient Greek Wisdom  


About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends–with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. Carl D'Agostino

    We no longer have a participatory government/democracy. The right to vote is an illusion of participation.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Yes. The two major political parties provide an illusionary choice, while they both support The Establishment status quo. Powerful, wealthy corporate interests decide who the candidates will be long before an election. In Noam Chomsky’s “Requiem for the American Dream,’ he says the first initiative of wealth accumulation is to diminish democracy — it’s a pattern that happens throughout history. The powerful elites in America have certainly been chipping away at democracy since FDR’s New Deal.

      But voting is a minimal civic duty. Citizens more effectively participate in politics through activism — protest demonstrations, civil disobedience, ballot initiatives, free speech, etc. All change comes from the bottom.

  2. Robert A. Vella

    Plato’s statements here make a pretty good argument in favor of compulsory voting.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      I wonder, would people get better informed if we had compulsory voting?

      • Robert A. Vella

        No, they are separate issues. Although, both the numbers of informed voters and those civically engaged would naturally increase if the populace was properly educated; and, that would be good for democracy. Also, such a society would be more amenable to compulsory voting as a civic duty.

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