The Anti-Democratic Faces of Socrates
The Anti-Democratic Faces of Socrates
The Anti-Democratic Faces of Socrates
Socrates is among an elite class of extraordinary human beings. Whether it is religion, politics or socioeconomic issues, Socrates philosophy had a profound impact on Athenian civilization. His thoughts and ideas have sparked many debates and examinations of the way we live our lives even today. In the three dialogues Defence of Socrates, Euthyphro, and Crito, written by the philosopher Plato, one can find evidence that Socrates was not an enthusiast for democracy. The following will consider this evidence as a means for showing the anti-democratic faces of Socrates.

In Euthyphro, Socrates questions Euthyphros prosecution of his father for murder. Their dialogue is a result of Socrates attempt to understand what is good and righteous. Socrates does not put much value in the ability of the people to judge the character of a person because his perception is that the people are easily swayed. “Athenians dont much care, it seems to me, if they think someone clever, so long as hes not imparting his wisdom to others; but once they think hes making other people clever, then they get angry”. His statement foreshadows his impending conviction. He believes that the people are incapable of practicing justice based on the truth. By this account, democracy is corrupt. Additionally he continues his assertions in the Defense of Socrates.

The mere fact that Socrates chose to defend himself and disregard the advice of his friends suggests that he does not believe in democracy. In Defense of Socrates he proceeds to tell the jury how they should behave and think, further showing his disregard for the democratic process. “attend simply to the question whether or not my case is just; because that is the duty of a judge…” His attempt to defend himself is no more than a guise to justify his life and recruit the jury to believe his philosophy.

It is clear that politics, democracy, is of no importance to Socrates. On the declaration of the oracle, he considers himself to be more knowledgeable than other men because he doesnt not claim to know all there is to know. “Because of this occupation, I have had no time at all for any activity to speak of, either in public affairs or in my family life, indeed, because of my service to the god, I live in extreme poverty.” He is certain that he is living his life in obedience to his god. To him, this is more important than anything; family, money and especially politics.

His disdain for democracy is also confirmed when he states that one wouldnt survive long by openly opposing injustice because in doing so he would be fighting against the majority. “The fact is that there is no person on earth whose life will be spared by you or by any other majority, if he is genuinely opposed to many injustices and unlawful acts, and tries to prevent their occurrence in our city. Rather, anyone who truly fights for what is just, if he is going to survive for even a short time, must act in a private capacity rather than a public one.” His statement indicates that in a democratic society the majority vote can be unjust. This statement is further supported in his testimony to the occasion when the commission wanted a collective trial for ten generals who failed to do their job in a battle. Socrates was opposed to the illegality of the circumstances; however, he was out voted.

“My own tribe, Antiochis, happened to be the presiding commission on the occasion when you wanted a collective trial for the ten generals who had

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Anti-Democratic Faces Of Socrates And Dialogues Defence Of Socrates. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from