Comparing Contemporary Politics To Plato's "The Republic"

1197 words - 5 pages

Contemporary politics seems to more closely reflect Thraysmachus’ view of justice more so than Plato’s. Contemporary is defined as belonging to the present time adding on to it, politics, which are decisions and actions between parties with power.
In “The Republic”, Socrates asks Thraysmachus to give him the answer to his question of what justice is. Thraysmachus was a sophist, who charged people for wisdom. The battle of seeking the true meaning of justice began when Socrates and Polemarchus were arguing. Thraysmachus got annoyed from there argument going back and forth because Socrates kept asking questions but did not give an opinion of his own on what he defines justice as. Thraysmachus tells Socrates to pay him the fee for obtaining the wisdom and he will give him the answers to his questions.
Thraysmachus’ view of justice is based upon the stronger party. He tells Socrates that justice is the right to do things that are in the interest of the stronger party. The interest of the stronger party is stated in “The Republican” as such: “the ruling class in any state will forcibly exact a certain type of behavior from its subject to suit its own interests”. In other words, it is the right of the subjects to obey the rules proposed to them by the ones who make the laws, the stronger party. Thraysmachus adds on that what is “right” for the subjects is also in the interest of the stronger party and anyone who goes against their interest will be breaking the law.
Socrates brings on another question if those in power in the different states are infallible or not. Thraysmachus responds to this, as those in power are liable to make mistakes. But Socrates refutes to the answers given to him and Thraysmachus thinks Socrates is malicious. Socrates takes it as Thraysmachus contradicting his own argument that those who make mistakes are stronger. However, Thraysmachus’ argument was that a ruler can never make a mistake, but the subjects can feel as if he did. But in all reality the ruler makes no mistake and infallibly enacts what is best for him and the subjects must obey. If one does make a mistake in his profession then that person is no longer skilled in the field that they are in. From this, Socrates argues that “right” means in the interest of the stronger party. He demonstrates his argument of where the interest of the ruler should be. Socrates gives an example of how doctors prescribe not because of their own interest but of the patient’s wellbeing. The point that Socrates was trying to make was that there is no interest of the stronger party but of the weaker party that is subjected to it.
The second argument they have is that no just man is happy. Justice is in favor of the person in power not in the favor of the people who behave justly. Thraysmachus discusses that rules serve for the ruler’s interest because he is stronger and the subjects obeying such rules add on to the happiness. He also gives examples of how an unjust person will get a...

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