No Philosopher Kings

Unless either the philosophers become kings … or those who now are called kings and rulers become philosophers … there will be no rest from evil … nor, I believe, for the human race either. And not until that happens, will this politeia of ours have a measure of growth and see the light of the sun.

Socrates [i]

Are we ruled by wise men or fools? Which country has a philosopher as head of state? France, perhaps? When French President Emmanuel Macron conducted an eight-hour “Great Debate of Ideas” with dozens of academics, people were left wondering. Should we take him seriously? Or is Emmanuel Macron merely an intellectual posing as a philosopher? Rather than striking a pose, a philosopher is concerned with deeper truths while the politician shaves the truth for the sake of political expediency. As Machiavelli might say, deceit is the politician’s obligation if he hopes to succeed. This is how ambitious politicians become slaves to untruth – like the criminal who cannot stop adding to his crimes because a turn toward honesty would prove fatal. In brief, the politician who serves expediency might imagine himself to be powerful and free. Yet he becomes trapped by his own expedient lies.

Read more