Plato is not a punk rocker

Plato is not a punk rocker

Jon Ball, Staff Reporter

When I look back on my childhood in bittersweet longing and regret, I distinctly remember the words “You do not have to be intelligent to enter government.” This bold statement was conceived by the mind of my grade eight history teacher, an individual who booted his filter to the curb when lessons turned political. Mr. Friedreich did not mask his disdain for our federal government and his burning contempt for Bill Clinton, who he claimed was the “dumbest president in history.” Similar to the lead singer of a punk band, Friedreich did not hesitate to make others uncomfortable. Words lack power if they do not stir our thoughts and emotions. I had no idea who this “Bill Clinton” was and simply dismissed Friedreich’s messages as the rantings of an angry old man. However, I have internalized what he communicated and now nod in agreement with his belief that the bigger the government grows, the less freedom we possess. This political and philosophical concept has been debated for centuries. The late philosopher Plato would scoff in my face at this statement.

Despite his brilliant mind, he did not soften the aggressiveness in his elitist ideology. Plato believed those in government were society’s cream of the crop who had a duty to instruct others. Plato firmly believed democracy acted as one of the worst types of government. The average person does not have the willpower to control their urges once they are given freedom. People are ruled by their appetitive, irrational element, one of the three elements of the soul. Those appetites consist of our need for food, drink and sex. These appetites act as the foundation for pleasure, a hedonistic goal. Democracy, according to Plato, will eventually develop into tyranny due to our appetites running wild. A punk rocker would scoff in the face of Plato at this statement.

Freedom cannot be achieved until authority has been challenged. Anarchy acts as an extreme solution to tyranny. Anti-Establishment acts as the foundation of punk culture. Older bands such as The Exploited ranging to newer punk acts such as Pussy Riot understand they must act in a vulgar and disorderly manner in order to be noticed. Actions speak louder than words, yet words become immortal on paper. In fact, Plato is the first philosopher to put his ideas into writing, yet he will not and shall not be the last person to use his writings to communicate his status over others. Plato’s endorsement of classism is a tyranny within itself. Yet, there are always individuals and artists willing to fight against those who impose their will on others.             

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