In his Republic, Plato debated a dream. By many counts, he saw a potential for a better State where he dreamed of constructing Kallipolis with his interlocutors. The dialogue points extensively to Plato’s good intentions. But the great philosopher offered some ideas, that are very dystopian in nature. And although he had good intentions, these ideas, if implemented in the real world would not account for an ideal society.
Plato makes a case for censorship in his dialogue. And in particular and extensively throughout he emphasizes the necessity to censor the arts. He indicates his rationale for doing this, he derives from concepts of morality and authoritarian politics. The pillars of a good society are good citizens. Plato asserts that good citizens are the product of good education. And towards that end, they must learn and be exposed only to good material. And by extension, they should not interface with any material that may harm their formation as good citizens.
Plato argues that the education task falls onto the State. He describes his grievances with the arts, artists, and poets. And, the final and end result was that he banished the artists from his ideal State.
The Class System
Plato weaves a dream of a utopian society in which he builds a very strict class system. The philosopher sees the class system as an important recipe for success. He indicates that each class has a definite function and each class must not interfere with the others.
Lying to citizens
In his Republic, Plato argues that the State must lie to the citizens in certain instances. Obviously, this act he claims is for the good of the state and its’ citizens.
One can certainly ask the question if the ideas mentioned above are not more representative of a Dystopian regime than a Utopia.
Also, read the related Blog posts as follows: Plato Totalitarian Visual Utopia, Plato and Justice, Plato’s Duality, Plato’s Imitation Theory, The Republic Lead subjects, Plato’s Regimes, Art as Imitation, Duality in Plato’s Republic, Plato and Art, Dystopia Connotations, Utopia Connotations, What is Utopia, Plato’s Republic, Who was Plato, Plato’s Visual Utopia book
The featured image artwork, ‘Christina’s World’ was illustrated by Daniel Heller