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CONCENTRATED POLITICAL POWER Should political power be concentrated in the hands of a few leaders or should it be widely dispersed among the members of a society Many great Philosophers ranging from Plato to Marx have pondered this question over time Historically many major civilizations were based on systems of organization stressing centralized power and control The attempt was to create and ensure a stable and orderly way of life but as society evolved the defenders of concentrated power felt compelled to justify the need for centralized authority This attempt at justification can be found in Platos famous work The Republic According to Socrates the principal speaker in The Republic an ideal state would consist of three classes The philosopher- kings would exercise political power in the service of justice and wisdom the soldiers would protect the state as a means of acquiring honor and the civilian population would provide for the material needs of society A large part of The Republic is devoted to a detailed presentation of the rigorous intellectual training of future rulers This section also contains a fundamental analysis of metaphysical and scientific thought The government of the state acts to enforce the virtue and consequently the true happiness of the individual citizen and an orderly and productive public life is the result Criticizing the doctrines of atheism and materialism Plato reaffirmed his idealistic position and asserted his belief in the moral government of the universe and the immortality of the soul The Republics anti-democratic implications are clear A successful democratic politician must give the people what they want which is not or may not be what is good for them to
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