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Is Socrates right about Democracy?

Socrates the classical Greek philosopher and one of the founders of western philosophy, didn't like Democracy, he was saying that voting in an election is a skill, not a random intuition. like any skill, it needs to be taught systematically to people.
Socrates compared a society to a ship, and he said If you were heading out on a journey by sea, who would you ideally want deciding who was in charge of the vessel? Just anyone or people educated in the rules and demands of seafaring?

By NR926
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Socrates is one of my few genuine heroes, but I'm stunned by the coffee-table chocolate-box quality of the statue. Even the chin-in-hand "thinking" pose is laughable -- not to mention the flowing robes where his rags should be, and the torso of a Greek god with X-Man muscular definition in bulk. If he had all that time and inclination to work out at the gym, how did he ever formulate all those brilliant ideas on society?

Garbonza Level 6 July 10, 2019

Digital democracy is the upgrade that is needed

Neenz Level 7 July 8, 2019

Democracy is a nice idea, however, " it does not matter which party is elected to office because the representation of vested interests, that is, the people with money and the banks ensures that the vast majority of the electorate get screwed. " Arnold Arnold.

With regard to the ships of state some may be regarded as rudderless.

ASTRALMAX Level 7 July 8, 2019

Socrates had a point, but the ultimate problem seems to be human nature. Those who crave power and/or wealth will always manipulate the weak-minded, regardless of the governmental system in place. Sociopaths who are organized and manipulative enough to seize power will always try to crush their opposition in whatever way they can, be it deception, co-option of religion, bullying, brute force, or at worst, terrorism. Education and encouragement of critical thinking, coupled with constant vigilance, are our best defenses, and it's always an uphill battle.

dan325 Level 7 July 8, 2019

Greek "democracies" weren't democratic. The majority were slaves. Moreover, Socrates ignores that supposedly enlightened leaders looked out for their own class interests, like our "democratic" leaders today.

Krish55 Level 7 July 8, 2019

That's Human Nature in motion I've always will be regardless of the government system.


This in a nutshell is why the right opposes education funding and wants school "choice." An informed populace is their worst nightmare. Not much to worry about here in the US in the land of Fox News and Wal-Mart.

Mitch07102 Level 7 July 8, 2019

Unfortunately some people cannot be educated. Another reason, the right opposes sex education and free contraception. They want a large underclass to work for them and do their bidding


Looking at these MAGATs -- Make America Great Again Trumpsters -- and similar delusionals in my own country, perhaps he was right. Democracy is based on the assumption that people might actually think sometimes. Sadly, that's too hard for many, addicted to reality ? television and internet froth. Depressing.

David1955 Level 8 July 8, 2019

Seafaring and democracy analogy is not correct.

Democracy is a set of institutions and rules. Anybody new must work within those rules.

St-Sinner Level 8 July 8, 2019

NO, in a true Democracy the rules could be easily changed by a majority vote.

@Bobby9 There are still rules. And no, those cannot be changed easily. Democracy makes it difficult.

@St-Sinner Democracy does not make it difficult, it makes it easier, simple majority changes the rules. In our Federal REpublic it would require a Constitutional Amendment, and that is very hard to do.

@Bobby9 We have been trying to change immigration laws for 50 years and we have not been able to, we have been trying to give universal healthcare but are not even close. No, in a true democracy it is not easy for all to agree on high sensitive and impacting issue. In a dictatorship and, autocracy it is very easy. A good democracy is designed in a way that it makes it difficult t make change easily. They must be thoughtful, with vigorous debates and there are mechanisms to intentionally make it difficult.

@St-Sinner Immigration and Universal Healthcare are both Federal issues, and since the Federal Government is a Republic, not a Democracy, or even close, we'll never know.

@Bobby9 Federal Govt does not make laws.

@St-Sinner What country do you live in? The Federal Gov makes many, many laws. Ever hear of the numerous Civil Rights laws? Voting rights Laws? How about Kidnapping? Remember Anti-Trust Laws. TAX laws, which I'm sure you've encountered. Far too many more to mention.

It appears you missed much in school.

@Bobby9 I live in the U.S. and went to law school. The legislative branch makes laws. It is separate from the federal govt which is the executive branch.

You need to calm down and look in the mirror.

@St-Sinner If you went to law school (which I seriously doubt) you would know that the Legislative Branct is one of three Branchs of the FEDERAL Government.

You need an education!

@Bobby9 You are right. I meant the executive branch. My point was because of the separation of powers among the executive branch, legislative branch and judiciary, it is not easy to make laws. There is a rigorous and often contentious debate to get anything passed. We rarely get majority in both houses. I do not think it is easy to make laws.


The problem is always the alternative. A nice corporate or social elite making our decisions for us?

No thanks

OwlInASack Level 8 July 8, 2019

He meant that those who understand the situation better can vote and make decision properly other than uneducated ones who vote blindly without having a wise vision of the situation, and he says that we can teach the voting skill systematically to the people by mentioning of the example who should be in charge of the vessel.

If we consider having a progressive society, don't you think that the mass of people need to be educated about how we can have a better system or progressive society?

@NR92 funnily enough it seems to me the US tried that. Firstly by having a constitution (we lack that in UK), secondly by means of civics classes in all schools (never heard of them elsewhere). And yet the results are very mixed... there's even more trouble governing and a much lower level of understanding of how society functions in some parts of the country. Why? Earlier and greater access to television etc.? More disposable income? Too large a political unit to be effective? We would all like to know I guess.

@slydr68 the US barely existed before the Industrial Age though... in fact it didn't at all by some reckonings! So do we blame the malaise of the Information Age? Capitalism was a lot better than the feudalism it replaced and is now reverting to.

@slydr68 ? England 'existed' for a thousand years, at any reckoning... many other European, African, Asian kingdoms too, but the US wasn't even settled beyond the East Coast colonies until the start of the Industrial Revolution.


I’m big into high quality education: let’s do it. But lets achieve that and never have to restrict voting rights


OK. We don't know how to steer a ship but we know when it's gone off course.

brentan Level 8 July 8, 2019

Close considering trump got elected so maybe more is needed

bobwjr Level 9 July 8, 2019

Trump got elected because the Federal system is not a Democracy, it is a Republic. Electoral votes are the sum of Sentate and House seats for any State. Therefore Wyoming gets two Electoral College votes from its Senators (the same as California who's population is multiples of Wyoming, and Wyoming get 1 Electoral vote for it's sole House member, who represents far fewer than any California House member. The result is, even though Hillary won the popular vote by millions she lost the Electoral vote and therefore lost the election. Our Federal system is not based on one person one vote as is a Democracy.

@slydr68 Hillary was hard to take, which in no way infers Trump is anything except despicable. However I am not sure the majority of the Democratic Party is as progressive as you might think.

@slydr68 I guess we aren't seeing the same polls

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