A couple of questions from a college course, many, many, many years ago . . .
What are the advantages and/or disadvantages to Socrates' breeding scheme?
Socrates’ plan of breeding the Guardian class is interesting. It is one part Hitler’s Aryan Race, one part slave owner’s dream, and two parts Hillary Clinton’s, “It Takes a Village.” At times one has to wonder if Socrates believes what he is saying, or is he just trying to push the people’s buttons around him. We can see in today’s society how the “new family” structure works. With the divorce rate hovering around 50% we have evidence of how successful the communal family works. The children are confused, their loyalties torn; have depression issues and in turn often have poor family relationships. Perhaps this is Socrates’ goal, there is no loyalty to family only to the state. Was this not Hitler’s goal with his youth programs? We know it was the policy of the slave owner; breed the best stock keep some, sell some. In the end both of these ideas feed into Hillary’s village.
The loyalty is to the community, or the “just city,” and not to the basic family structure that has built societies that have grown and flourished. Socrates’ breeding plan lowers mankind to the level of the beast.
Can the just city possibly come into existence, and would having philosophers rule secure its existence?
The just city can not come into existence. The basic struggle will always be; whose justice will rule and will the just ruler, ruler justly. Some consider Marx a philosopher, yet when his idea of a “just city” was put to the test millions died. The Founding Fathers, to some were philosophers, tried to create a shining city on the hill, but slavery continued, if you didn’t own property you couldn’t vote, presidents suspended the rights of citizens and, it seems at times, the powerful only have their best interests in mind. Unfortunately, if the “just city” came into existence the philosopher would give way to the tyrant. Man’s justice is imperfect and that is the reality we face.