The Ruins of Pergamon

The Ruins of Pergamon

The ruins of the Temple of Trajan at Pergamon.

Both Socrates and Plato held that societies will go through four unjust ways to govern, namely Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, and Tyranny, after which they will collapse and be governed by wisdom-loving "Philosopher Kings". A governance system which they called "Aristocracy". Plato went eve further and stressed that in a Democracy, freedom will be held up as the supreme good, but Democracies will end up in slavery.

Trajan, Roman Emperor between 98 A.D. and 117 A.D. was declared by the senate as "Optimus Princeps" ("The Best Ruler"). Trajan is arguably one of the few historical rulers who might just qualify as a Platonian "Philosopher King". I don't know about Trajan, but I'm with Socrates and Plato that Democracy (as we understand it today, i.e. Representative Democracy, Republic) is not the best system there is. History tells us that, irrespective of the system of government, the golden ages have been during the reign of wise and just rulers. The key to "good governance" is wisdom and justice, and at present, we don't have much of either. What we call Democracy is nothing but a race to deceive and a campaign to misinform and dumb down. And those who end up in races to be elected are anything but "Philosopher Kings" - most are simply venal.
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