Andrew T. WolschlegerDr. HoggIntroduction to PhilosophyNovember 8, 2017Plato’s Theory of State(Plato book VIII)”All things created must decay” Plato cleverly presented the idea that not only our everyday objects will prove to become aged and of less value over time, but also our government. The demand of the piece speaks for itself; it captures true issues and further proves the intelligence and relevance of the brilliant philosopher. Debunking any generation that assumes knowledge might naturally flock to the newest, rather than those who intentionally search, study and prove their concepts. Plato approaches in a step by step manner, elaborating his thoughts and explaining the rise and fall of the state. Book VIII presents Plato’s opinions regarding the five forms of state: Aristocracy, Plato’s ideal form of state, followed by Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, and Tyranny. The importance of this topic and those of similar manner have recently come to light. With our fast paced world, divergent citizens, and ever changing society, this book proves itself as a timeless guide to states in the international system. After reading through and deepening my understanding of Plato’s concepts, I have began to question Democracy and the pedestal it seems to sit so high on today.Plato’s ideas and beliefs prove to be very intelligent and accurate. Plato’s Republic Book VIII displays what Plato classifies as the five major forms of state. The five forms of state are what Plato believes to be the main or important forms, and evaluates the scenarios that occur within each; he suggests that there are countless forms of state but will only discuss the major ones. He focusses on the rise and fall of each form and discusses how important it is to see the issues as they develop. He suggest the most common occurrence is that “The best form of government deteriorates into a less perfect form and then an even lesser appreciated form.” suggesting that government will eventually fall to its worst point. We the people, need to be held accountable to not repeat the past and furthermore make the future a better place. If we can avoid the problems we have made in the past, we can continue to learn from new mistakes. First, Plato speaks of Aristocracy, also what he referred to as the “ideal” form of state. Aristocracy deals with the highest class and the most notable people. This in a general sense is implying that in a form of government, the highest class would be the ones in charge; it is referred to in book VIII as “rule by the best, the lovers of knowledge”. In Book VIII it’s said that people who rule themselves are the best and most worthy types of people. These philosophers support Aristocracy and like the importance in education and the support to the smartest and most well fit. Plato thinks “the best King is one who is the best of philosophers and the best at war”. The concepts fully support the time period, so many things were yet to be discovered and education was very important. War and battle seemed unavoidable at the time. The combination of the two would have made a clear path for Aristocracy. He favored intelligence thus, he was able to quickly declare and support what form of state he supported. He believes that over time the government will continuously deteriorate until it has reached its worst form. Although aristocracy was never put into place, Plato still believed it could have worked the best and been recorded as the top form of government. Secondly, as we work down the line of deterioration we are presented with Timocracy, also known as the strongest or most powerful form of state. This would be a result in the destruction of Aristocracy ways. This form of state focussed solely on honor and glory. Timocracy had a strong focus on power, war, and being presented as victorious and strong. They fully support that it is no longer going to be the “wisest guy” that is in charge, but rather the one best fit for war. This form of state falls when people begin to want change. After a switch from the wisest leaders to the most Courageous commander, People began to realize they would have preferred Aristocracy after the change to timocracy, however that was not going to happen. As one form of state falls another will quickly rise up, and often also be the leading reason for the fall of the previous form.Next, Oligarchy, known as the rule by the rich and the few that rule the majority of the poor. This was more towards the roots of the state at the time, it slightly reflects the ideas of aristocracy but continues to change concepts. Oligarchy was spawned after timocracy due to wealth accumulated from the wars. The money helped influence this as the rich trickled into power and began to oversee the poor. The large gap of wealth seemed to be the biggest issue and quickly sprouted problems amongst people seeking the best and most reasonable form of state to fit their needs. Leaders of an Oligarchy are usually very selective. There are only a few ways to really gain power: you can be born into a leadership role, sometimes elected into a position and rarely are able to force their way in with enough money and power. The main problem being the poor had absolutely no chance to attain power. When the poor basically realized and got a hold of the situation they came to a realization that it was not working for them. The state needed more appeal and more fairness to all of the groups of people.Democracy was the result of the angered people at the time. They would form together for what they would think is the best and last form of state. What could go wrong if everyone has an equal say? Plato basically just flat out disagrees with democracy. He discusses the greed of the people and how it’s too easy to take advantage of. This idea of the people becoming more and more equal is what poses a problem and makes Plato consider it as one of the lowest forms of the state. He goes on to say that eventually people will just need more and more equality and begin to try to get money from the wealthy because they see it as unfair. This really doesn’t work for anyone. The rich are having problems and becoming upset and the poor are not liking whats going on. The downfall of democracy was clear as he discussed in book VIII. Almost everyone is mad at someone and the state has become unappreciated and brought out anger in a large majority of those affected by it.This leads to Plato’s fifth and final form of state comes in. Tyranny, the creation is almost direct result from the collapse of democracy due to the obsession with freedom. In Plato’s mind this is when things really start to go severely wrong. When nothing can be concluded in a way that everyone agrees and cooperates a switch to tyranny may discreetly come about. This will consist of one leader or a very small group with nearly unlimited power. This is an obvious disaster, basically the leader will convince the people that they need him/her and actually take advantage of the people’s obliviousness. The leader of tyranny will be an antagonist with intentions of self approval and will truly not care. This form of state is an uncontrollable downward spiraling mess; hence the fact that it is the last and considered the bottom and worst end result.Deterioration of the state has proven time and again to fall at the hands of greed. As more people want fairness, a bigger chance and larger opportunity, the government begins to appeal and lose their own power. The constant cycle just destroys the state’s stripping them of their ways in attempt to better tend to the people being governed. It seems as though the average people remain oblivious and truly think the changes in state power are in their best interest. The changes in state however have shown to be temporary fixes and only sustainable for so long. It’s people seeking the most amount of pleasure in the moment without regards towards future consequences and what the worst case might be.The preferred or “ideal” form of state Plato would most definitely be Aristocracy in book VIII he comes out almost right away and explains how and why this is the best form. He really supported the idea of the most intelligent people and philosophers should be in charge. Although he liked this idea, it seemed to remain as only an idea. Plato never really got to experience his ideal form and suggests it will not happen based on how the forms will get continuosly worse rather than better. His ideas make sense as he supports himself and those like him. Plato believed that he and people of higher education really would have been the best form. It makes sense to support your own thoughts and it may have been interesting to see how it would have played out. In an unrealistic turn of events, if Aristocracy were to be applied today it honestly might not be that bad; people really are seeking an answer to the issues at hand and I think a reasonable and educated group holding power more people might be willing to support it. Plato over all had some really good points. His favorite was understandable and interesting. Plato proves his own intelligence and shows that his ideal state may have actually been worth a try.The topic on hand is very relatable to today and the current issues that are being faced by almost everyone in the U.S. We are just about on the stage of democracy although we are not fully considered a true democracy. As the piece moves into discussing what would be the future or the fall of democracy it proves to be something to strongly consider. As the greed continues to show through and our citizens beg for handouts it’s very reasonable to worry. There is talk of taxing the rich and distributing wealth more evenly, free college and countless ways for the unemployed to gain wealth without leaving their houses. Some of that is good don’t get me wrong we need to look out for those in need and those that are unable to supply themselves with the necessities to live. The problem is presented when people that don’t need the money to live and are just being lazy; this is starting to show itself as the beginning of our system really being taken advantage of. We can see that Plato looks at the past as a steady decline. It is relatable to many situations that are happening in our current daily lives. However, I think one of the most apparent examples in attempt to change that decline starts with our presidents slogan, “Make America Great Again” he is suggesting change and hoping to recreate a time when America really was great. I think one of the biggest reasons he was elected was for the idea of change. People have become worse off, further giving up on the idea that something good may come. I think the Trump administration did a great job suggesting they will do their best to make it how it once was, rather than fitting what they want it to become. Although he has been heavily criticized, he attempts to go to times of lower taxes, lower debt and a country that was prosperous and powerful. It is important that the government stays strong and Donald Trump although lacking in some areas seems to have a good motive and effort in at least starting to get the government back in the right direction. Plato goes over the rise and fall of the four/five major forms of state. It has been shown that government functions really are not set in stone. As addressed in Book VIII governments take time and piece of mind, “For governments don’t spring up out of stones and trees, but from the quality of mind and way of living of the citizens…”, (Book VIII pg 143) it elaborates the construction from the people and how they think and collaborate, they don’t just pop up. Even though something may seem like it will never change, there can be many surprises. His ideas are widely accepted and relevant to present times. Reading into this made me appreciate older text and really put some things into perspective. We as a nation, need to accept the fact that we may not always be right and take a step back. It’s important to understand the history of our government and how it is able to change quickly, a half of a step forward is better than 2 steps backward. It has proven true that all things created must decay, not only our materialistic goods but also our government.