Plato was a political philosopher who sojourned in a society made up of small city States with autonomous governments.
In his time, there was constant warfare and internal strife. Corruption in all its ramifications was prevalent and life was extremely difficult for an average man. Plato witnessed the rapid disintegration of Athens, morally or otherwise.
Basically, some fundamental questions of political philosophers are-who should rule? What are the qualities a ruler should posses? These are some of the salient questions Plato tried to provide answers for in his political philosophy.
He was dissatisfied with the situation where the society was languishing in poverty and moral decadence. He was so concerned that he tried to theorize about society which will be free from such defects. Where love, and peace will reign , where there will be harmony in the midst of his people and in the society at large. In his envisioned society, every man will develop his potential fully.
Plato began to solve these problems by first asking himself the fundamental cause of corruption and constant warfare in the society.
For Plato, the answer to the fundamental question is that people generally lived in ignorance; what the people thought to be a ‘Reality’ , was to Plato , nothing short a catalogue of ‘’Appearances’’. That their ignorance stemmed out of here.
He went further to say that the people were ignorant of right ethical theory. They took the wrong ethical theory for the right ethical theory ; this wrong ethical theory also extended to a wrong political ideology.
Plato’s political ideology tried to postulate an ideal State, where a philosopher King will be rulers, where justice , peace and harmony will reign.
To attain all these virtues, people have to do away with their ignorance and embrace the right ethical theory. For him, it has to be done through metaphysics and invariably to ‘metapolitics.’
To get an ideal or perfect society, Plato says, justice has to exist among individual and the society at large. According to him, an ideal State is a State where there is justice.
Some political philosophers Scholars (who are also Plato’s disciples) , gave their views on what an ideal State should be.
Thransmanchus described justice as emphasizing gross type of immorality and evil doing , temple –robbing , Kidnapping , Swindling etc. To perpetrate such acts is injustice and not to commit them is essentially to being just.
Glaucon also buttressed Thransymanchus belief further by adding Killing and sexual relation and freeing from bonds anyone one wishes(which people now call selective justice) . All these acts should be avoided in order to be just .
To Glaucon, too, to do all these abominable acts amount to being unjust and not to do them is to maintain justice.
Plato came up with his own metaphysical theory of justice via inequality.
While it is true that Plato’s World of a perfect society is a mirage, we cannot deny the fact that some of his postulations ,(including those of his followers ) are germane in this our contemporary World, especially Nigeria.
The rulers and the ruled are corrupt to the marrow. Millions of tax-payers’ money are looted by individuals , and people in positions of trust!!
What was happening in Athens during Plato’s time is now happening around the globe.
In Nigeria, apart from massive corruption in the political arena, kidnappings, unwarranted killings, rape and countless number of vices are prevalent in our society. People now commit crime as if there is no law to sanction them for their wrong doings. Kidnapping has now been turned into a lucrative business in Nigeria. There is no part of the country that is safe. Securities of lives and properties have become a forgotten conclusion!!
It is high time the government brazed up and look into the books to see whether there are loopholes in our constitution or mode of applying the sledge hammer of justice and inequality in our society.
Perhaps, our political theory or practicability is defect and needs to be put right , otherwise , we shall continue to witness anarchy like what Hobbes called the state of nature, where the society was solitary , nasty , brutish and short.
We need adequate security for the people we govern; justice is portraying the right ethical conduct in governance for the people , even at the grassroots as Plato opined. People are tired of promises not kept. Enough of rhetoric but positive action to make people sleep comfortably, travel within the country without any fear of intimidation or insecurity.
No matter what the governments are doing (Federal and States) if adequate security is lacking , the economic situation in the nation will continue to be watery and no reasonable foreign investors will like to stake their fortunes in a chaotic environment.
By- Idowu Akintunde
Publisher /Editor –In –Chief
The Interviews Nigeria