Popper on Plato, Social Justice and Political Correctness

Mitchell Langbert

I have been reading Karl Popper's Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume I and am awestruck with Popper's scholarship and its relevance to currently percolating issues such as social justice education, political correctness and climate change research.  Popper shows that Plato is at the root of totalitarianism.  Plato re-defined justice to mean the individual's existence for the good of the state; conceived of a ruling elite given politically correct indoctrination; and advocated total social control of day-to-day life.  Popper argues that Plato bases all of this on his tribalist and naturalist morality, that is, his belief that morals are rooted in nature.   Much like today's environmentalists, Plato favored a return to primitive olden times before the innovation that had occurred in Athens. Plato defined justice just as social justice educators do, namely, that the just is what is socially good.  The guardians, the ruling elite, were to receive a social justice-based education.   Plato intensely disliked Athenian democracy and the steps that Pericles and others  had made to define justice as equality before the law.  Rather, public morality would be defined by the politically correct guardian class. Morality,  moderation and justice would mean adherence to one's place and obedience to authority. Like Plato, today's environmentalists believe that the primitive is best and that human innovation is evil.  Much as the cap and trade bill attempts to assert nationally centralized authority over day-day-life, overseen by a Platonic "administrator" or philosopher king, so  Plato believed that the greatest virtues were to be obedient or to lead others.

Image: Wikipedia, Public Domain 

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