The Daily Stoic for July 9th, “The Philosopher King”.
“For I believe a good king is from the outset and by necessity a philosopher, and the philosopher is from the outset a kingly person.”
—MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES, 8.33.32–34
When you have a look at today’s politicians, especially the ones in power (like the president or prime minister), you wonder where did the philosopher kings of the past go.
I don’t know if that’s something endemic from Spain, my country, only. But I strongly suspect it’s not. You just have to have a look at the world around you. I can understand to a certain exempt that people in Russia or North Korea idolize Putin or Kim Jong Un… They live under their dictatorship’s propaganda, with a tight control of the media, and they are largely uneducated populations.
However, how can you explain then Trump, the Brexit or people like Berlusconi, basically a sexist clown, or the sad history of Spanish politicians and prime ministers, whose view of I+D ranges from promoting organic gardens to penalize renewable energies.
This is what Google has to say in this regard:
The Philosopher King
I don’t believe in kings
— John Lennon, God, 1971
I stopped believing in kings and politicians years ago. They are a reflection of our society. If you can’t expect most of the population to vote rationally, how can you expect the politicians to be philosophers?
The problem is not them, it’s us. Because, in modern, civilized societies, we have the power. We can get them out of their seats.
Nonetheless, we keep on voting them for purely visceral reasons. We vote them for the color of their flags, for the way they look or dress, and for the most irrational arguments. We want someone to blame for our problems. “We lost our job because the Mexicans stole them. So build a wall!”
I don’t have faith that’s going to change anytime soon. Recent events like Facebook’s influence -and not in a positive way- on the US elections, and the way fake news is becoming a credible source of information, outline a dark future.
Am I being too negative here? What are your thoughts?
Today’s Daily Stoic, “The Philosopher King”, discusses the concept of a philosopher king. Do the leaders of today can be defined as philosophers? Not in my opinion. And we are the ones to blame for that.