Against Socratic Communism-a Snapshot from History

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 Imagine the world of Socrates! Your wives are the common goods for all and so are your children. Socrates was one of those fools who believed that happiness comes when you can abstain yourself from worldly desires. A monk? Can you imagine having sex only in some periods of the year?Socrates' philosophy sucked real bad when it comes to human needs. He was one of those psychos who did not care for human needs. For Socrates, there was no need for a family.

People love freedom and family bonds. As Aristotle put it in his book, Politics, family is a natural relationship that arises out of necessity and we cannot do without it. Further, people work best when they work in their own interest or their family interest. Socratic communism is where few so-called educated people command the lives of many. However, the freedom loving people can be happier in a polity where freedom is given due importance. 

Socrates has been largely criticized for his argument that spouses and children be held in common in his ideal state. He cares less about human needs and their desires. He does not believe that happiness can come through the social interactions. Rather, he believes true happiness is obtained when the soul rules over the appetite and the spirit part of our life. He focuses on what he thinks is good for people irrespective of their human desires. If all children are left in care at the common child care units as envisioned by Socrates, I believe they will not develop well. Why should someone care about a child who is not his own and when the real parent can avoid his responsibility of taking care of his child. Besides, Socratic is too authoritarian when he talks about having sex only in the predetermined times of a year. Sex is a need for people. It helps people develop a sense of love and belonging whereby they learn to love others. His vision that abolition of family relationship will help guardian better focus on the interest of the society is never possible in this world as people are selfish by nature. Moreover, the abolition of family system would lead to higher crimes as they would have no affection towards other people.

However, people have freedom in polity and they can use their reason. They are tied to their family relationship and this makes them human. Aristotle believed that people can lead a happy life under polity where there is the rule of law. 

Unlike Aristotle, Socrates does not believe in the need for laws in Republic. He has the assumption that well educated people will not make mistakes. But, however educated a man be, he is naturally prone to mistakes. Hence, Socratic communism is least likely to deliver justice to people. Rather, the participation of many people in the decision making process is likely to work in the most rational way. Yet, one cannot ignore the fact that participation of many means more arguments and more disputes. This is bound to take more time to sort out things and this will not work in times when time may be of high importance. Moreover, laws do not work at all situations. They are designed for a general scenario and people have to adjust their decisions based on the various factors that come into play. Hence, polity based on a set of laws need not necessarily be a just city for the people. 

Another aspect of disagreement is about the acquisition of private property. Socrates believes that abolition of private property will cut down the disputes related to property and the rulers of the country will not be able to amass the property when he is in power. Thus, the rulers will work in the public interest in real sense. But, the fact is that there are more disputes when something is held in common as there can be many claims to that property.

Private property encourages people to better utilize it so that the city can get benefit out of it. Why would one care about public properties when he can use it for free? Turning private properties to public will not lead to better utilization. Who cares about the dilapidated public buildings? 

Another aspect of Socratic ideal state is the specialization of people on the basis of their ability. No doubt, people can produce more when there is specialization, but it need not necessarily happen in reality. In fact, the interest of the people determines their production. Why should one work in an inferior office simply because one is found to be best at it? Socratic communism is too authoritarian for people to lead a happy life. Freedom to choose one’s occupation will make people happy which is the ultimate end of any political institution. Use of reason will help people make rational decisions that are in their own interest and ultimately in the interest of the society as well. 

History has proved that communism cannot be a success. People cannot be happy in that state and that regime will not last long. How can one forget the tragedy of Russia when there was the use of force to implement communism? Abolition of property and determination of work by the state will only lead to chaos. 

Socratic communism works best when all people are one. But, it is the most impossible task of all. Human society is necessarily a group of diversity with people working to improve their own life more than improving the society. This is the reality and Socrates fails to realize this aspect of human nature. Socrates is too idealistic to be applicable in human society.

Why would one be a ruler when one has everything to lose by choosing to be a ruler? Even philosophers are not that far from the reality that surrounds them. A society should have freedom if we are to make the people happy. There should be a participation of many in order to get rational decisions. To sum up, polity works better than communism.

2 Responses to “Against Socratic Communism-a Snapshot from History”

  1. deshBikas Says:

    hari sir ke tala ho yo

  2. ramnam Says:

    अब मोडरेट् नै गर्नेहो भने त कुरै सकियो नि

    के तात्तानछाराको ढोंग गर्नु पर्योहँ

    You have been involved in writing abusive comments despite a request to stop it. So, you ip address has been banned from making comments in this site.

    -Dreamnepal

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