November 22, 2012

"The charter of the Plymouth Colony reflected the most up-to-date economic, philosophical and religious thinking of the early 17th century."

"Plato was in vogue then, and Plato believed in central planning by intellectuals in the context of communal property, centralized state education, state centralized cultural offerings and communal family structure."

ADDED: Sorry I had the wrong link before. It's corrected now, but let me keep the wrong link too, which went to a second article in Forbes "A Guide To Talking Politics At The Thanksgiving Table." Maybe you've already started talking about politics at the Thanksgiving table, and, if so, I hope you're doing it the right way... or close enough.

27 comments:

Chip S. said...

OK, so we were never invited back.

Glad to know this doesn't just happen to me.

Chip S. said...

Wrong link?

The Drill SGT said...

The Plymouth myth again

pm317 said...

The next thing media whores will say is that Obama is Plato!

Bob Ellison said...

I hear Panda Express is offering a Plato Shrimp special for Thanksgiving.

Sam Hall said...

They almost died out until they switched to capitalism.

Lem said...

That quote titling the tread must have been taken from the comments.

Althouse is a redistributionist ;)

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

Lem said...

Capitalism makes black Friday possible and it also makes the black plague less possible.

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

Mitchell the Bat said...

I had no idea Plymouth Colony was so up-to-date.

I thought they wanted a town devoted to chastity, abstinence, and a flavorless mush they called "root-marm."

McTriumph said...

History does repeat itself. Plato was ahead of his time, he never had the opportunity to read Marx.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann, I don't think that's the article you meant to link. Though it was well worth reading anyway :-)

Chip S. said...

MIchelle, this appears to be an experiment to see how many people comment w/o going to the link.

Methadras said...

Uh, the article link is broken.

Mitch H. said...

I would like to read the article on the Plymouth constitution, if you could point it out? The Mayflower Compact itself is very terse, and doesn't get into any detail.

The 1630 constitution is bog-standard New England yeomanry, very little explicit reference to any sort of abstraction or philosophic nattering on about utopian ideals.

Bradford talks about Plato elsewhere in his account, but it isn't directly related to the actual constitutional agreement, but rather the utopian fruit of the initial legislation produced under the compact.

Chip S. said...

Meh. Both Forbes articles are just recycling familiar stuff.

This is a novel twist on Thanksgiving.

(h/t Ace)

Jeff said...

I took a political philosophy class from a Leo Strauss disciple who maintains that people have grossly misunderstood what Plato was really saying in The Republic.

The structure of the book is a dialog between Socrates and various Athenians about the nature of justice and the institutions that would be necessary to achieve it. After a whole bunch of preliminaries and sub-arguments, it turns out that, to really achieve a just society, you have to make kings of philosophers. The trouble is, the true philosopher doesn't want to be the king, so he has to be forced to do the job.

And this is where the Straussian opinion diverges from what they see as less-sophisticated takes. The just society requires an enormous injustice (enslavement of the philosopher king) to work. In other words, a truly just society is a contradiction, i.e., impossible.

Thus, Plato's Republic is not an argument for Utopia but rather a proof that the perfection of men and society is impossible.

edutcher said...

Why the Indians took one look and said, "There goes the neighborhood".

PS Look how well that mindset has turned out.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

One version of the tale Ann seems to have meant to link to is here (the Volokh Conspiracy publishes it every Thanksgiving Day). But the only place you'll find Plato in there is in the linked Tom Bethell piece.

Chip S. said...

This is the link she intended.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Chip S.,


This [link] is a novel twist on Thanksgiving.


I've run into wild turkeys more than once, though never actually been chased by one. My advice would be not to mess with them. They haven't been bred into breast-meat lodes like the domesticated kind, and they can move more rapidly than you'd think. Use the same caution you would approaching swans.

Chip S. said...

Michelle, I thought about ordering a fowling piece via the Althouse Amazon portal, but I'm not sure reading them to sleep is gonna work.

Alex said...

The thing is in small groups, humans need communism in order to survive. But as the population grows, capitalism is the natural evolution of society. TO force communism on a large population of distinct communities is wrong.

Alex said...

Take the average family, it's a communist unit. But these units transact with each other through the free market.

Mitch H. said...

Alex, I've found that describing the communistic or communal approach to governance as a "category error" helps with the academic sort. That is, to try to apply the economic logic of the family to the nation, or even the city, is an intellectual mistake similar to medieval political conceits comparing a country to a human body, with the head, hands, feet and so forth. It makes the target audience ashamed to be caught out in a superstition, when framed in that fashion. A scaling error is still a fallacy, regardless of how high-toned the fallacy.

Doesn't help with the chuckleheads who actually made the difference in the recent election, but nobody likes to think of themselves as "low-information voters", so it might help.

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