In these times, with great anguish and hate towards politicians, I find it interesting to philosophize how the ideal politician should be?
Some might think that philosophers should not interfere with politics because a good philosopher must be impartial and can you even be impartial in politics? I will try this in this article. I think that a true philosopher actually should philosophize over politics, as philosophy deals with a lot of ethics and morals in general. Politics deals with ethics and morale in practice and state formation. Therefore, I believe that philosophy can point in the direction of how the ideal politician should be. Before describing the ideal politician or the ideal statesman as Plato called it, I would first of all dare to argue that the current dominant politician in no way resembles for instance Plato’s ideal statesman. In fact, modern politicians of the day are most often devoid of the character and the capabilities most commonly in philosophy attached to that of the great politician (The ideal statesman).
I will begin with a description of today's politicians lack of ability and character? The modern ruling policy is not explicitly ethical exploratory or visionary. One of first philosophers who philosophized how the ideal statesman / politician should be is Plato. In Plato’s work "The statesman" and it is here, among other things, I get my inspiration for this article/Essay. The problem with politician is that they look like and act like ordinary people too much, but the ideal politician should actually be a role model for all of us. This also what Plato thought back in ancient Greece. The ideal politician is a moral example. He/she should be visionary and should actually be more clever/wiser than the regular general public. In short, the politician should be very skilled at his craft, that is practicing politics. Just like a good carpenter is distinguish by a bad carpenter. Which one creates the best long-lasting carpentry? Here is the unpleasant thought. The average person may tend to be amoral and is without long long-term visions. We may tend to be petty, short sighted and are in the crib of our feelings. Can you also recognize this from todays politicians? Today's politicians seem to seem as if they are without visions; they seem seemingly petty; they behave immediately as if they are in power of their feelings and react amoral at times. That is why there is now a ruling general anquish towards politicains and politics. We simply need a better class of politicians who can be role models for all of us. Politicians who don’t behave like, for example the sour next door neighbor, but guides the people through mindfull political visions. A politician who hold the ethical in high standards and does not appeal to people's inner monster (The bad in all of us). A politician who can actually say no to the people and show them sustainable headings because he is the great statesman, who as Plato states knows better (Is the most wisest). As stated earlier Plato also thought that ideal statesman (politician) is a moral, clever than us others. In ancient times and in history there was the seven wisemen. One of these wisemen named Solon (Σόλωνας) created the coverning rules of the first democracy of ancient Greece. In history, we often talk about great people like Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi. That's because they were visionary. They are still moral examples for many of us. It is unlikely that the ruling class of contemporary politician is mentioned as such for posterity. Will Donald Trump be mentioned as a great person in posterity? The great politicians such as a Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi are unfortunately rare. Only a few contemporary politicians around the world can live up to the title of the visionary great politician or the Plato’s ideal statesman. But I'm in danger of appearing biased if I mention them with name in this article/essay.
But can you be unbiased in politics? Somebody must be wrong? Or is all relative? If so this article has no use. But I go along with that theirs politics and politicians there are better than others. Today's problems are created on the basis that it is always the same kind of politicians being elected, so if we keep just electing same kinds of people, the same problems will continue. This is actually anti-progress just to do the same over and over again. The Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein, who was considered a genius now and then, he once said; "We cannot solve problems in the same ways they are created." - There must be new solutions. The time is for visions. But of course, we cannot blame the state of affairs only on the politicians. Because who ultimately in end elected our so-called representative politicians? The fault actually lies with the general public/the voters (Sometimes in ancient Greece referred to as the mob). We must elect better politicians who have the properties of Plato’s ideal statesman.
Plato’s pupil Aristotle invented virtue-ethics. In short vitues ethics = a virtues man/woman is one who acts in accordance with virtues. We consider Nelson Mandela to have been a virtues character. Nowadays can we consider Donald Trump the president of united states to be a virtues character? One who displays exemplified virtues ethics like Aristotle stipulated a virtues character should? I let these questions be up to the reader, because I don’t what seem to bias. If we do not say NO, to the persons who runs for public office and elect differently, then we may end up with the death of democracy as Plato also prophesied. Plato warned us that in a democracy people can end up willingly to elect the tyrant. Have we done that in a mordern democracy? People forget that Adolf Hitler was an elected politician. The German people elected Hitler and the political party NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei). Did Hitler exemplified virtues ethics? We must guard us against the growing neo-nationalism that grows and grows throughout the world, also in my country Denmark. Remember Plato’s ideal. No wise ideal statesman has ever in history been regarded as glowing bigot racist nationalist. He has, on the other hand, been regarded as a great diplomat, one who seeks reconciliation of parties in conflict and understanding of a larger coherent world. Nelson Mandela did not seek revenge over the white when he was elected president of South Africa after apartheid. Gandhi won over the English colonists through an anti-violence movement and a walk/salt march through colonist India.
As a philosopher, I am bound by Epicurus's famous words; "That philosopher who does not strive to relieve human suffering, he speaks empty speech." I try to live by this philosophical oath. I will relieve the suffering by calling for the most suitable representatives to lead our countries out of crisis. There is still a high level of unemployment and, for example, Many environmental solutions are abandoned and sheltered. This is obviously due to lack of money, we are still in financial crisis or politicians don’t care, because they are generally not guided by morals per se, but by other factors. "Evil triumph when good people do nothing" So the saying goes. We must act because something needs to be done. We can elect our representative politicians ourselves and we can elect the right representatives if they have otherwise opted for a parliamentary election? The fact that there is corruption in the western world is not just a myth. Political corruption and politicians' lack of sincere interest in the citizens have been there since ancient Greece. In ancient Rome for example, the emperor used bread and the circus (games) to put the citizens in to a dull state of compliance. Likewise in today's western world, the politicians want to remove the focus away from corruption towards bigotry and the fear of terrorism for example. Democracy is not dead, but it is far from well functioning. Democracy has cracks, and the illusion of a corruption free western world are nearing it’s end. I would also like to proclaim that politics does matter and we can if we choose to elect better representatives for ourselves. Keep in mind to listen to that voice of the heart and not listen to your wallet. Get to know what it's all about. Politics is about real people, not about money or smart election logos. We must keep in mind not to trust the politicians blindly and that the politicians are also under the corruption factor. Politicians are people and people are by definition not flawless. Humans can be corrupted by positions of power and 'all power corrupts everything ‘as the saying goes. So be skeptical of the political hypocrisy and despotism of politicians, and do not fooled it to compliance with their bread and games tactics. I think the parliamentary and presidential elections are important and I do not want to vote for a corrupt politician. I do not want to vote for anyone who does not take ethics seriously and will not work to relieve the suffering in world and make it a better place. Let Plato’s ideal statesman come fourth full of virtues ethics so that we can elect her or him.
Author: Kasper Johansen