Saturday, January 26, 2008

On Plato's Gorgias

article at above URL)

Plato’s Gorgias is essential reading for those who wish to understand one of the major pathologies of democracy: demagogy.

In a democracy, persuasion is power. Therefore, in such a type of government, the art of persuasion would be highly cultivated. Indeed, this was the case in Athens, and Socrates distinguished between two kinds of rhetoric, one that leads to power for the speaker, and another that leads to goodness for the hearer. In a democracy, rhetoric is of the first kind.

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