But even democracy ruins itself by excess-of democracy. Its basic principle is the equal right of all to hold office and determine public policy. This is at first glance a delightful arrangement; it becomes disastrous because the people are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers and the wisest courses.
Mob-rule is a rough sea for the ship of state to ride; every wind of oratory stirs up the waters and deflects the course. The upshot of such a democracy is tyranny or autocracy; the crowd so loves: flattery, it is so “hungry for honey, “that at last the wiliest and most unscrupulous: flatterer, calling himself the “protector of the people” rises to supreme power.We think only a specially-trained person will serve our purpose, in politics, we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill: we call for a trained physician, whose degree is a guarantee of specific preparation and technical competence–we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one; well then, when the whole state is ill should we not look for .the service and guidance of the wisest and the best?THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEM Behind these political problems lies the nature of man; to understand politics, we must, unfortunately, understand psychology. “Like man, like state” “governments vary as the characters of men vary; states are made out of the human natures which are in them”; the .state is what it is because its citizens are what they are.
Therefore we need not .expect to have better states until we have better men; till then all changes will leave every essential thing unchanged.Let us examine for a moment the human material with which political philosophy must deal. Human behaviour, says: Plato, flows from three main sources: desire, ’emotion, and knowledge.
Desire, appetite, impulse, instinct-these are one; emotion, spirit, ambition, courage these are one; knowledge, thought, intellect; reason-these are one. Desire has its seat in the loins; it is a bursting reservoir of energy,· fundamentally sexual. Emotion has its seat in the heart, in the: flow and force of the blood; it is the organic resonance of experience and· desire. Knowledge has its seat in the head; it is the eye of desire~ and can become the pilot of the soul.These powers and qualities are all in all men, but in divers’ degrees.
Some men are but the embodiment of desire; restless and acquisitive souls, who are absorbed in material quests and quarrels. These are the men who dominate and manipulate industry. But there are others who are temples of feeling and courage, who care not so much what they fight for, as for victory “in and for itself”; they are pugnacious rather than acquisitive; their pride is in power rather than in possession, their joy is on the battle-field rather than in the mart: these are the men who make the armies and navies of the world. And last are the few whose delight is in meditation and understanding; who yearn not for goods, nor for victory, but for knowledge; who leave both market and battle-field to lose themselves in the quiet clarity of secluded thought; whose will is a light rather than a fire, whose haven is not power but truth: these are the men of wisdom, who stand aside unused by the world.Now just as effective individual action implies that desire, though warmed with emotion is guided by knowledge; so in the perfect state the industrial forces would produce but they would not rule; the military forces would protect but they would not rule; the forces of knowledge and science and philosophy would be nourished and protected, and they would rule.
Unguided by knowledge, the people are a multitude without order, like desires in disarray; the people need the guidance of philosophers as desires need the enlightenment of knowledge. “Ruin comes when the trader, whose heart is lifted up by wealth, becomes ruler”; or when the general uses his army to establish a military dictatorship. The producer is at his best in the economic field, the warrior is at his best in battle; they are both at their worst in public office; and in: their crude hands politics submerges statesmanship.
For statesmanship is a science and an art; one must have lived for it and been long prepared. Only a philosopher-king is fit to guide a nation. “Until philosophers are kings or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and wisdom and political leadership meet in the same man, cities will never cease from ill nor the human race”Well, then, what is to be done?We must begin by “sending out into the country all the’ inhabitants of the city who are more than ten years old, and by taking possession of the children, who will thus be protected from the habits of their parents”. We cannot build Utopia with young people corrupted at every turn by the example of their elders. We must start, so far as we can, with a clean slate.
In any case we must give to every child, and from the outset, full equality of educational opportunity; there is no telling where the light of talent or genius will break out; we must seek it impartially everywhere, in every rank and race. The first turn on our road is universal education.For the first ten years of life, education shall be predominantly physical; every school is to have a gymnasium and a playground; play and sport are to be the entire curriculum; and in this first decade such health will be stored up as will make all medicine unnecessary. Our present system of medicine may be said to educate diseases, to draw them out into a long existence, rather than to cure them.