Everything is ALWAYS "more complicated." But I don't think your example is a
useful complication in the present instance. (And of course it relates to a
literary character in Plato's dialogues, not a historical act.)
For some 5 years after the victory of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War Athens
was under the bloody rule of the Thirty Tyrants, one of the bloodiest of
whom was a close friend of Socrates (or had Socrates as his favorite
bootlicker.) Given this background, one can imagine that many in the
restored democracy might have other than friendly feelings towards Socrates.
One might imagine the survivors of Belsen constituting a jury considering
charges against (say) Himmler. Let us not confuse human freedom with some
The _useful_ complication to have in mind in considering ancient Athens is
the one Nancy brought up -- the status of women (and, of nearly equal
importance) of resident aliens and slaves). See Ellen Meiksins Wood,
_Peasant-Citizen and Slave: The Foundations of Athenian Democracy_.
P.S. Plato's Republic is one of my favorite books, & I taught it to
undergraduates for some 30 years. But its premises are in profound
contradiction to any conception of human freedom.
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Ken Armstrong
Sent: Friday, December 05, 2014 8:31 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The Bulk -- oops
On 12/2/2014 5:15 PM, Carrol Cox wrote:
<One of the greatest discoveries of ancient Athens (or at least of the
peasants & artisans) has been pretty well hidden: the discovery that freedom
can only be attained and enjoyed collectively.>
It's a little more complicated than that, isn't it? I can't help thinking
that being bound to the collective can run counter to "enjoying freedom."
Think of Socrates enjoying and practicing freedom. The collective powers
that were, were not amused, and Socrates paradoxically asserts his freedom
and his allegiance by drinking the hemlock -- in allegiance to the
collective and in staying true to the integrity of his thought. Is
collectivized freedom a contradiction in terms?