Philosopher Kings

Although in reality The Republic is about justice, it certainly is about politics.  The first thing we should not fail to notice here is that they must go hand in hand, and are related in the deepest way.

Justice has to do with rights, because it is the giving to others what is their due.  This much is simple. The problem, however, lies in the fact that most people think they are “due” something, and perhaps others are as well.  But they seem to have no solid basis on which to found these rights.

Only from a failure to understand this can we include such “rights” as a woman’s to kill the unborn and reject those of the unborn themselves.  Our rights, in reality, are a gift. In no way can we know our rights, then, apart from knowing something of the giver.

Pope St. Pius X told us something in his encyclical Vehementor Nos (2/11/1906) that many today would reject (including, sadly, many Catholics) : “That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Remove the agreement between Church and State, … it will become more difficult to see where the truth lies, and great confusion is certain to arise. Finally, this thesis inflicts great injury on society itself, for it cannot either prosper or last long when due place is not left for religion, which is the supreme rule and the sovereign mistress in all questions touching the rights and the duties of men. Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State.”

The pope was not advocating a pure theocracy, by any means.  Aristotle called the political body the perfect society, and in the way he meant it, we should agree.  After all, it is for the purpose of the common good, and is the highest realization of the highest good in its sphere (i.e., the temporal world).  Of course, our eternal and complete highest good is primarily individual, although common as well, in the beatific vision.

I hope to expand on the above in the future, since I have laid out many objectionable claims with little depth as of yet.  But in simple terms, an effect will not exceed its cause (or the sum of its causes, if we decide to term it that way).  While I think much of Plato’s idealistic society was not only erroneous but repugnant, especially in many of its details, he was certainly correct in saying that there will be no just societies until kings become philosophers or philosophers become kings. On a related note,Thucydides told us that “That [state] which separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”  A philosopher, in fact, is a lover of wisdom, and no wisdom should be more loved or better known than Wisdom itself.
Until we are led by those who know and honor the Creator, who is Just by nature, we will never have a just society. After all, in the Eternal City, we will not be ruled by a democracy, but by submission to a wise King.


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