Platos Royal Lies Become America's MBA Philosophy

09/05/2017 12:00

by DN Irving


Interesting that there is a sudden surge of interest in “philosophy” at so many business schools these days (probably connected to bioethics Founder Tom Beauchamp’s Business “Ethics” text books and courses). 

The Wall Street Journal  has written 'W
hy Some M.B.A.s Are Reading Platoto MBA students.  How absurd!  Whoever the “philosophers” are who are endorsing this must be incredibly ignorant of what Plato is actually teaching or that the real Plato’s “big thinking” includes the formation of a grossly deceptive despotic “communal” political state in which the free market and basic human liberties would be impossible, even deadly, even for the Guardians and their Philosopher Kings.  For the full exposition of Plato’s “Ideal State”, see extensive direct quotes from his Republic in Irving, “PLATO'S ‘ROYAL LIES’:   State Authorized Eugenics, Communism, Utilitarianism, Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Suicide, “Mother Earth” Myth, Day Care Nurseries, Women In The Military, And Population Control”, (with new “note”, at:;  original article, at: 

Here are just a few tidbits from the Republic that business school administrators should inform their MBA students about and keep in mind if they are intent on preaching “Plato” to them:

SOCRATES:  Then  if any one at all is to have the privilege of lying, the rulers of the State should be the persons;  and they, in their dealings either with enemies or with their own citizens, may be allowed to lie for the public good


SOCRATES:  ... Then we shall approve such language as that of Diomede in Homer, "Friend, sit still and obey my word.", and the verses which follow, "the Greeks marched breathing prowess, ... in silent awe of their leaders,” and other sentiments of the same kind.


SOCRATES:  And therefore our politic Asclepius may be supposed to have exhibited the power of his art only to persons who, being generally of healthy constitution and habits of life, had a definite ailment;  ... but bodies which disease had penetrated through and through he would not have attempted to cure by gradual processes of evacuation and infusion:  he did not want to lengthen out good-for-nothing lives, or to have weak fathers begetting weaker sons;  -- if a man was not able to live in the ordinary way he had no business to cure him;  for such a cure would have been of no use either to himself, or to the State.

SOCRATES:  (Book III, p. 674) ... This is the sort of “medicine”, and this is the sort of law, which you will sanction in your state.  They will minister to better natures, giving health both of soul and of body;  but those who are diseased in their bodies they will leave to die, and the corrupt and incurable souls they will put an end to themselves.  That is clearly the best thing both for the patients and for the State.


SOCRATES:  How then may we devise one of those needful falsehoods of which we lately spoke -- just one royal lie, which may deceive the rulers, if that be possible, and at any rate the rest of the city?


SOCRATES:  Well then, I will speak, although I really know not how to look you in the face, or in what words to utter the audacious fiction, which I propose to communicate gradually, first to the rulers, then to the soldiers, and lastly to the people.  They are to be told that their youth was a dream, and the education and training which they received from us, an appearance only;  in reality during all that time they were being formed and fed in the womb of the earth, where they themselves and their arms and appurtenances were manufactured;  when they were completed, the earth, their mother, sent them up;  and so, their country being their mother and also their nurse, they are bound to advise for her good, and to defend her against attacks, and her citizens they are to regard as children of the earth and their own brothers.


SOCRATES:  True ... but there is more coming;  I have only told you half.  Citizens, you shall say to them in our tale, you are brothers, yet God has framed you differently.  Some of you have the power of command, and in the composition of these he has mingled gold, wherefore also they have the greatest honor;  others he has made of silver, to be auxiliaries;  others again who are to be husbandmen [next page, Book III, p. 680] and craftsmen he has composed of brass and iron;  and the species will generally be preserved in the children.  But all are of the same original stock;  a golden parent will sometimes have a silver son, or a silver parent a gold son.  And God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or which they are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race.  They should observe what elements mingle in their offspring;  for if the son of a golden or silver parent has an admixture of brass and iron, then nature orders a transposition of ranks, and the eye of the ruler must not be pitiful towards the child because he has to descend in the scale and become a husbandman or artisan, just as there may be sons of artisans who having an admixture of gold or silver in them are raised to honour, and become guardians or auxiliaries.  For an oracle says that when a man of brass or iron guards the State, it will be destroyed.  Such is the tale;  is there any possibility of making our citizens believe in it?


SOCRATES:  Then let us consider what will be their way of life, if they are to realize our idea of them.  In the first place, none of them should have any property of his own beyond what is absolutely necessary;  neither should they have a private house or store closed against any one who has a mind to enter;  their provisions should be only such as are required by trained warriors, who are men of temperance and courage;  they should agree to receive from the citizens a fixed rate of pay, enough to meet the expenses of the year and no more;  and they will go to mess and live together like soldiers in a campGold and silver we will tell them that they have from Godthe diviner metal is within them, and they have therefore no need of the dross which is current among men, and ought not to pollute the divine by any such earthly admixture;  for that commoner metal has been the source of many unholy deeds, but their own is undefiled.  And they alone of all the citizens may not touch or handle silver or gold, or be under the same roof with them, or wear them, or drink from them.  And this will be their salvation, and they will be the saviours of the State.

SOCRATES:  The law, I said, which is the sequel of this and of all that has preceded, is to the following effect, -- "that the wives of our guardians are to be common, and their children are to be common, and no parent is to know his own child, nor any child his parent."


SOCRATES:  You ... who are their legislator, having selected the men, will now select the women and give them to [the men];  -- they must be as far as possible of like nature with them;  and they must live in common houses and meet at common meals.  None of them will have anything specially his or her own.  They will be together, and will be brought up together, and will associate at gymnastic exercises.  And so they will be drawn by a necessity of their natures to have intercourse with each other -- necessity is not too strong a word, I think?


SOCRATES:  Because ... our rulers will often have to practice upon the body corporate with “medicines”.  Now you know that when patients do not require medicines, but have only to be put under a regimen, the inferior sort of practitioner is deemed to be good enough;  but when medicine has to be given, the doctor should be more of a man ... Our rulers will find a considerable dose of falsehood and deceit necessary for the good of their subjects;  we were saying that the use of all these things regarded as “medicines” might be of advantage. ... And this lawful use of them seems likely to be often needed in the regulations of marriages and births.


SOCRATES:  ... the principle has been already laid down that the best of ether sex should be united with the best often, and the inferior with the inferior, as seldom as possible;  and that they should rear the offspring of the one sort of union, but not of the other, if the flock is to be maintained in first-rate condition.  Now these goings on must be a secret which the rulers only know, or there will be a further danger of our herd, as the guardians may be termed, breaking out into rebellion.


SOCRATES:  Had we not better appoint certain festivals at which we will bring together the brides and bridegrooms, and sacrifices will be offered, and suitable hymeneal songs composed by our poets:  the number of weddings is a matter which must be left to the discretion of the rulers, whose aim will be to preserve the average of population.  There are many other things which they will have to consider, such as the effects of wars and diseases and any similar agencies, in order as far as this is possible to prevent the State from becoming either too large or too small.


SOCRATES:  We shall have to invent some ingenious kind of lots which the less worthy may draw on each occasion of our bringing them together, and then they will accuse their own ill-luck and not the rulers.


SOCRATES:  And I think that our braver and better youth, besides their other honours and rewards, might have greater facilities of intercourse with women given them;  their bravery will be a reason, and such fathers ought to have as many sons as possible. ...And the proper officers, whether male or female or both, for offices are to be held by women as well as by men. ... The proper officers will take the offspring of the good parents to the pen or fold, and there they will deposit them with certain nurses who dwell in a separate quarter;  but the offspring of the inferior, or of the better when they chance to be deformed, will be put away in some mysterious, unknown place, as they should be.

GLAUCON:  Yes ... that must be done if the breed of the guardians is to be kept pure


SOCRATES:  They will provide for their nurture, and will bring the mothers to the fold when they are full of milk, taking the greatest possible care that no mother recognizes her own child;  and other wet-nurses may be engaged if more are required.  Care will also be taken that the process of suckling shall not be protracted too long;  and the mothers will have no getting up at night or other trouble, but will hand over all this sort of thing to the nurses and attendants.


SOCRATES:  Such is the scheme, Glaucon, according to which the guardians of our State are to have their wives and families in common.


GLAUCON:  How will they proceed?

SOCRATES:  They will begin by sending out into the country all the inhabitants of the city who are more than ten years old, and will take possession of their children, who will be unaffected by the habits of their parents;  these they will train in their own habits and laws, I mean in the laws which we have given them:  and in this way the State and constitution of which we were speaking will soonest and most easily attain happiness, and the nation which has such a constitution will gain most.


--  Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?