To clearly understand why Plato seems to find democracy and the democratic soul so objectionable you must first understand what democracy means. Plato's problem with democracy does not concern the system we know today nor does it directly concern Athenian democracy. Rather, it is the form of democracy in which he criticizes. For a Greek, democracy, meant the rule of the people in a much more literal sense than it does for the citizens of most of the modern states which claim to be democracies.
Plato's charge against democracy is that it violates the proper order of society by creating an artificial equality. His fundamental criticism of democracy is that it is an irrational form of the constitution. It is based on the assumption that every citizen is equally entitled to a say in political affairs, no matter how unsuited he is in terms of ability, character or training. Basically no matter how ignorant a person may be, they still could find themselves playing a significant role in public affairs. The key to a successful political career lay in being able to speak persuasively, for this reason the art of oratory or public speaking became highly valued.
A system where value and merit are disregarded and instead unconditional equality promoted disgusted Plato. Plato and Socrates both felt that all people were born with knowledge but that not all people were in touch with the knowledge they possessed. It was through a process of questioning that simply made them recall what was already ingrained. Plato throughout his book, The Republic, rejected the idea that all men are equals. Instead of supposing every man is innately good, Plato holds that every man has a right to pursue the good. Socrates and Plato both believed with much support that all men should strive to reach the highest forms knowledge.
I believe that Thomas Jefferson’s quote “Every generation needs a new revolution,” is the most misused and misrepresented quote in all of history. The United...