Plato was a philosopher. He neither “sowed nor reaped.” Instead, he made his place in the world by thinking and talking persuasively. In “The Republic” he turned his intellect to the question of creating the perfect society. He thought about the matter very hard and discovered that the best people to govern society were philosophers, i.e., people just like Plato.
Imagine his surprise.
Plato wasn’t the last person to make this shocking discovery. Karl Marx also made his place in the world by thinking and talking persuasively. He studied the evolution of human society (by rigorous scientific means of course) and concluded that all human societies were predestined to evolve to a state of communism in which “men would be differentiated only by their innate intellects.” In other words, Marx discovered that humans would eventually end up in a world in which only people like Karl Marx would stand out.
I bet you could have pushed him over with a feather. I mean, what are the odds his “scientific” investigations would turn out that way?
In the post-WWII era, post-modernist scholars discovered that the truth was a very slippery concept because personal, cultural, political and social influences distorted virtually everyone’s thinking about every subject. However, the post-modernists did discover that one class of people could largely transcend this problem and become the arbiters of real truth for everyone else. That class of people was….
….well, post-modernist scholars.
Funny how it always works out that way. It seems that whenever people who make their place in the world by thinking and talking sit down to solve problems they usually seem to discover that the power to solve the problem lies exclusively in the hands of people who can think and talk. It turns out that every problem from crime and poverty to foreign policy can be solved largely by talking to the right people in the right way. Obviously, this means that thinkers and talkers should be the highest-status, most powerful people in society.
I suppose the rest of us should be grateful that those like Plato, Marx and the post-modernists spend so much time studying how they themselves should ultimately be in charge of everything. Such sacrifice! I mean, think how awful things could get if legions of humanity’s brightest and most articulate didn’t honestly turn their talents to unselfishly finding the best solutions for all and instead spent their time and energies creating baroque rationalizations for their own self-aggrandizement.
A lot of people could get seriously hurt.