I remember years ago, after 9/11 and the beginnings of some of the craziness. We were thrust into the world of patriotism, the PATRIOT Act, Homeland security, and a variety of colors that were meant to designate threat levels (whether to us citizens, or to the confidence in the Bush administration is still up to debate) across this land of ours. Everything was being watched in the name of security and safety, and language shifted as we were killing more people in the Middle East and scrutinizing anything remotely “unamerican.” For a brief time, “French Fries” were poopooed in favor of “Freedom Fries” in response to the French government daring to question our foreign policy.
All of this created traction and a resurgence of all things George Orwell, especially his final book, 1984, whose totalitarian setting bore some similarities to our own identification of an ever changing and seemingly, necessary enemy. Now we are here in Trumperica (or close to it, anyways) and I think that we as a culture owe it to ourselves to read something that is appropriate to the current change in regime, in which political enemies and structures are soon to be purged, and
ass-lickers loyalists are put into positions of real power – my god, who are these people?
We need to dust off something really old here, some ancient Greek text. We need to reexamine what is meant by justice, and how brutes interpret the word. We need to read the most famous parts of Plato’s The Republic, in which Socrates argues over the nature of justice with his intellectual nemesis, Thrasymachus.
Rather than give it all away with some lame spoilers, I am simply going to direct you to the text with some suggested questions in which to approach the dialogue between Socrates (the hero of the day, who was killed by democracy he dared criticize) and the aforementioned Sophist/cynic Thrasymacus.
- In defining justice, who is correct, Socrates or Thrasymacus?
- In light of recent events, whom does Trump think is correct?
Don’t have a copy? Well HERE is a link to Oregon State Universities fine pdf of Book One of Plato’s The Republic. Read the whole thing! It’s fascinating and really old and foundational. But if you want to just get on with it, start on page thirteen, at the annitation, “Discussion Four. . .”