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Justice as the Right Ordering in the Soul and the State. Essay 8 of Justice in the State: Comparisons between Plato’s Republic and the West

  Socrates’ discussion of justice in Plato’s Republic considers how this cardinal virtue relates to the other cardinal virtues, and how these virtues relate to both the individual soul and the state in the same ways (cf. book 9).   The four cardinal virtues are wisdom (prudence), courage (bravery), temperance (self-control), and justice. The first three relate to parts of the person: the soul, the high-spirited part, and the body.   This division of the person can also be stated with wisdom in the head, courage in the chest, and self-control in the stomach and genital areas.   Wisdom is the virtue to govern reason in the soul; courage is the virtue to govern one’s high-spirited part; and temperance is the virtue to govern the appetitive part, the body with its various desires.   Justice involves the right rule within each part, and the right ordering of the parts. Various disorderings of the soul are possible when one part is not rightly ruled by virtue and when the parts of a person
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Ideology and Power: Some Further Examples of Socialism’s Oppression of the Individual. Essay 7 of Justice in the State: Comparisons between Plato’s Republic and the West

  The previous essay has pointed out that socialism involves collective values, the power of the state, and a disregard for individuals.   Some today might equate socialism primarily with a national health care system, but it is not about how to run a good medical service for all citizens—one could debate that same goal from various understandings of government and the private sector.   There is no more reason to understand socialism as a national health care system than there is to call a country socialist because it has a nationwide educational system.   The essence of socialism lies in ideology and power.   These essays have explored how Plato’s socialist republic articulated a view of social justice that was anything but just, and this should be a warning to those today who imagine that socialism is a kinder and more moral system of government.   In this essay, three further examples of socialism’s oppression of the individual in the Republic will be noted.   Plato discusses educat

Plato’s Ideal, Socialist State and Its Many Discontents. Essay 6 of Justice in the State: Comparisons between Plato’s Republic and the West

  The ideal republic that Plato envisions in the Republic is a monarchy (a non-hereditary, philosopher-king), a timocracy, and a socialist state.   One of the assumptions in Plato’s Republic is that the just society is a society that will require significant social control.   The republic needs to repudiate tyranny, self-interested oligarchy, and democracy.   As a socialist state, like all forms of socialism, requires the ‘just’ republic to (1) enforce its (2) ideal understanding of values and virtues on the population, (3) while maintaining that this action will produce happy citizens.   What Socrates describes as a utopia for justice turns out to be a dystopia of oppression, degraded values and vices, on an inevitably unhappy populace. Socrates begins by describing how the state needs to enforce certain values regarding property.   He says that guardians must have only the most necessary property.   This would, for example, mean that they should not desire or possess gold.   The a

What is Conversion? A Lesson from St. Augustine

 In 2 Chronicles 7.14, God tells the Israelites that, if they humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, He will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land (from His judgement on them).  'Turning from their wicked ways' is what is meant by 'conversion.'  This lesson will explore conversion further with a look at the conversion of St. Augustine. As we move from 2 Chronicles to a full Biblical theology of conversion, the means of conversion comes to focus on Jesus Christ.  2 Chronicles pointed to the temple, a place of prayer and sacrifice as the Israelites came to God.  The New Testament replaces the temple with Jesus Christ, whose sacrificial death for us, for our sins, and for salvation made the temple obsolete because its purposes were fulfilled in Him. There is no turning from our wicked ways that will be sufficient for us to stand before God.  If we hope to present our good works to God as the means of our salvation, we wi

Justice in the State: Comparisons between Plato’s Republic and the West. Essay 5: Social Justice, the Power of the State, and Genetic Engineering

  While Socrates’ initial statements about justice in society were based on observations in nature—specifically, observations about the capacities of men and women—his argument soon left nature behind and turned to ideals.   His discussion of the cardinal virtues of prudence, courage, temperance, and justice provides a way to connect ideals to practices of the state.   In addition to these ideals, Socrates’ vision of the state that wants to pursue justice requires a state with the power to enforce its will on the people.   If we speak of this as ‘social justice,’ we might mean both the ideal virtue of justice and not merely social ethics but also and especially socialism—a powerful, centralised government denying individual liberties in the higher interest of the state. This sort of ‘social justice,’ then, involves understanding the state as an enlightened, effective, guiding mechanism that removes opposition and enforces its goals on the people for their collective good.   We see th

Justice in the State: Comparisons between Plato’s Republic and the West. Essay 4: Socialism’s Promotion of Communalism and Opposition to Individuals, Marriage, and the Family

  In Plato’s Republic, the ideal state is a form of socialism.   Various terms could be used to capture the sort of government this work describes as the ideal state exhibiting justice.   While it was to be a monarchy, ruled by a philosopher-king, the role of the guardians in governing and protecting the state also makes it  an oligarchy (rule by a few), or a timocracy (rule by those deserving honour), or an aristocracy (rule by an elite with the interests of the whole society at heart).   Socrates does not have a wealthy class or nobility in view for his governing aristocracy, and so the word 'timocracy' is best to describe the nature of governance in the ideal state of the Republic .   Years of intense training and selection of both the monarch and the guardians from the very best creates a ruling class fit for the tasks of governing and defending the state. Socrates also wants to create a socialist state.   In socialism, people live for the state, as opposed to the state e