Uganda Today: Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher, as depicted in the works of his student Plato, had certain concerns and criticisms about democracy, which he expressed in dialogues such as “The Republic.” It’s important to note that Socrates didn’t leave behind written records of his own thoughts; instead, his ideas were conveyed through the writings of others, mainly Plato.
Socrates’ Prediction About Democracy Included:
“Democracy must fall because it will try to tailor to everyone. The poor will want the wealth of the rich, and democracy will give it to them. Young people will want to be respected as elders and democracy will give it to them. Women will want to be like men and democracy will give it to them. Foreigners will want the rights of the natives and democracy will give it to them. Thieves and fraudsters will want important government functions, and democracy will give it to them. _And at that time, when thieves and fraudsters finally democratically take authority because criminals and evil doers want power, there will be worse dictatorship than in the time of any monarchy or oligarchy._”
Ignorance and Lack of Expertise: Socrates believed that in a democratic society, decisions were often made by the majority, which might not necessarily be composed of individuals with the most knowledge or expertise on a given subject. He was critical of the idea that every citizen had an equal say in matters of governance, regardless of their level of knowledge or understanding.
Manipulation of Public Opinion: Socrates was wary of the influence of orators and politicians who could manipulate public opinion through persuasive speeches. He believed that such manipulation could lead to decisions that were not in the best interest of the state.
Short-Term Focus: Socrates observed that democratic decision-making could be influenced by immediate and popular concerns rather than long-term considerations. He was concerned that this might lead to impulsive decisions that could be detrimental in the long run.
It’s important to approach these ideas with the understanding that Socrates’ views, as presented by Plato, reflect a specific historical and cultural context. Additionally, interpretations of these ideas may vary, and different scholars may emphasize different aspects of Socrates’ criticisms of democracy.