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Socrates and the Rule of Law

4. If the poor. Because they are more numerous, divide the property of the rich among themselves – isn`t that unfair? But should the few and the rich then be the rulers? What if they rob and loot people in the same way – is that fair? – Aristotle Because in democracies where laws do not come first, demagogues arise. [T]he kind of democracy. [is] what tyranny is to other forms of monarchy. The spirit of both is the same, and they also wield despotic power over the best citizens. The decrees of the [demagogues] correspond to the edicts of the tyrant. Such a democracy is quite open to the objection that it is not a constitution at all; For where laws have no authority, there is no constitution. The law must take precedence over everything.

In Philadelphia, about 2,000 years after the time of Plato and Aristotle, a group of men attempted to write a constitution. George Washington, James Madison, and the other framers of the Constitution were dedicated to building a just government. The Americans had overthrown what they saw as a tyrannical British government. The authors wanted to create a national government free from tyranny and governed by the rule of law. Both Plato and Aristotle developed important ideas about government and politics. Two of the many political issues these men wrote about were tyranny and the rule of law. Tyranny occurs when absolute power is granted to a ruler. In a tyrannical government, the ruler becomes corrupt and uses his power to promote his own interests instead of working for the common good. Plato emphasized the importance of law in his other works.

In Krito, a dialogue between Socrates and his friend Krito, Krito offers Socrates a way to escape his imminent execution. Socrates refuses, stating that if a citizen chooses to live in a state, he “has entered into a tacit contract that he will make. [The laws] require it. In Plato`s Laws, his latest book, he sums up his attitude towards the rule of law: Plato`s ideal and just state is an aristocracy, the reign of the best. He believed that leaders should be wise and trained in the management of a state, just as shipmasters are trained in the conduct of a ship. He who governs the law may be regarded as God and the only dominant reason, but he who offers dominion to man adds an element of the beast; For desire is a wild animal, and passion twists the minds of leaders, even if they are the best people. The law is reason, which is not touched by desire. When. The rulers have great wealth and many friends, this kind of family despotism is akin to a monarchy; It is individuals who govern, not the law. It is the fourth type of oligarchy and is analogous to the latter type of democracy. The rule of law is the principle that no one is exempt from the law, including those in positions of power.

The rule of law can serve as a safeguard against tyranny, as just laws ensure that rulers do not become corrupt. Tags: Krito, dialogues, justice, Socrates, laws, lawsuits against Socrates Governments that take into account the common interest are constituted according to strict principles of justice and therefore true forms; But those who consider only the interests of rulers are all imperfect and perverse forms, because they are despotic. The truth is that the state in which rulers are most reluctant to govern is always ruled by the best and quietest, and the state in which they are most zealous is the worst. Aristotle said that “the rule of law. is preferable to that of any individual. This is because individuals possess flaws and could tailor government to their own individual interests, whereas the rule of law is objective. Aristotle had similar views to Plato on the dangers of democracy and oligarchy. He feared that both would pit the rich against the poor. But he realized that such governments took many forms.

The worst are those who do not have the rule of law. In lawless democracies, demagogues (leaders who appealed to emotions) took power. Like Plato and Aristotle, the founders of our nation were concerned about tyrannical government. Recognizing that tyranny can emanate from a single powerful ruler or from the “rule of the mob,” the founders enshrined mechanisms in the constitution to prevent tyranny and promote the rule of law. They divided governmental power into three equal branches of government: the executive branch (the president), the legislative branch (the Congress), and the judiciary (the Supreme Court). Each branch can control the other to prevent corruption or tyranny. Congress itself is divided between the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives, which is elected for two years, is more influenced by the passions of the people than the Senate, which is elected for a six-year term. The Constitution further limits the powers of the government by listing its powers: the government cannot exercise any powers beyond those enumerated.

The first 10 constitutional amendments, the Bill of Rights, protect people`s freedoms from government interference. In creating the judiciary, the authors sentenced federal judges to life imprisonment, ensuring that judges would base their decisions on law rather than politics.

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