Enemy of the State

Socrates was a philosopher, who was against the freedom of the citizens that his city offered to his dwellers. He believed that democracy was not a capable government, hence only those who were wise should rule the people. Socrates was from Athens, a city that boasted of freedom among its dwellers. Athens was well-known city state that all its citizens could be free to air their views without interference. Socrates was therefore not an enemy of the States since he was a critic of democracy, and he also believed in freedom of speech.

Who was Socrates? From Athenian historical records, Socrates was a teacher. Socrates had a big following of youth who listened and believed in his philosophy.  Some of his teaching and ideologies contradicted the state’s laws with his consideration of justice and the pursuit of goodness. 

What is a state? A state is a group of people or a community of people who are governed by a set of norms beliefs and laws.  As much as his teaching was acceptable by many youths, there were still many who did not agree with his philosophy.

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Why was Socrates not an enemy of the state? An enemy is someone who seems to oppose the core values of the system he or she is supposed to uphold. Socrates trusted that nobody was intentionally off-base, and this led to the accusation that he was corrupting the youth. This was not entirely correct as Socrates was the exercising his freedom of speech. The Socrates’ accusers should have realized that they were against the city’s citizens beliefs.

So why were some people still branding him as an enemy of the state?  That Socrates was in pole position to spearhead the conversion of some customary institutions in line with the needs of the changing society. In many occasions the state has people entrenched in the old ways and not willing to change as per the needs of the dynamic society, as a result, anyone who initiates the changes that contravenes the ideals of the conservative people is considered as an enemy when actually they are not, but just responding to the new demands. Such societies do not take change positively for fear of unknown. As a philosopher, Socrates strived to tackle the new ways that the state was to adapt, that made him earn the name enemy.

What did the government do and do you support the state?  Due to the government’s perception that he was fighting it, Socrates was found guilty of this offence after being tried. I do not support the state and the people at his trial because his trial was exercised in the absence of his supporters, and I am of the view that we can never get justice in the vacuum. His trial was against the norms of the day as it was not fair since the Athenian society boasted of freedom and fairness.  The charges leveled against him were unfair by those against change who felt threatened of being targeted by his ideals. According to Jowett, it was like those in the government were retaliating against him for their perceived enmity

Did Athens justice system change as a result of Socrates teachings?  Yes. Socrates was doing what was good for his country through his fight for good governance and democracy, all of which later came to help everyone in the society. His teachings laid the foundation and as evident from his students, they supported democracy that later resulted in a democrat society.  This resulted in many shifts in the justice system and running of public affairs, and in the end, the Athenians had a new face.  This was not so in the past because any struggles for democracy before the reign of Democrats were branded an enemy of the government. 

What did you learn from Socrates from Plato’s Apology of Socrates?  Socrates is accused of questioning the gods of Athens. He is accused of not believing that the moon and the sun are gods but masses of stone, This portrays Socrates as atheist as he forces Meletus to call him an atheist. This indeed is a personal choice in a free democracy hence was not illegal in Athens. The trial closes with Socrates offering a couple of critical words as the court officials finalize their work. He tells the jurors that his only crime is that he never addressed them as they would have wanted him to. This shows that Socrates was not an enemy of the state but rather an enemy to some people within the state especially the political class who did not like his ideologies and also Athens sophistry. The argument of Athens sounded correct, but it was false.

What do you learn about Socrates while in jail? While at the jail, according to his dialogue with Crito, Socrates was a responsible citizen who wants to uphold the rule of law. This is seen when Crito, a rich and great pal bid to pay jail guards so as to free him. Socrates was law abiding and was breaking it, and his only concern were if he would be wrong by breaking from the prison. Crito tries to persuade Socrates that he had been wronged by the jury and that he is not blameworthy of the charges leveled against him. Socrates answers by saying that they must not do any offence even when offended. This shows that Socrates is bound by law and he chooses to obey the law by not running away. By abiding by the law, Socrates is thus not an enemy of the state.

What do we learn from Socrates dialogue with Phaedo? In this dialog, Socrates examines the great beyond’s way where he believes in the immortality of the soul. Socrates believed in life after death. This goes further to show that Socrates was not afraid of death. This is a further indication of Socrates belief and freedom of expression the basis of his accusation. He is not afraid to defend his belief even in the face of death. Such a conviction is built on his innocence that he is not guilty of the crimes leveled against him.

In conclusion, Socrates wanted only one thing, to discredit democracy. He was successful in this quest as his conviction managed to expose many faults in this democracy. It exposed the hypocritical nature of the government and the political system. Though he was convicted and later executed for the crimes manipulating the youth by teaching them to develop a sense of thinking on their own, he was not an enemy of the state. He was only a critic of democracy this was shown by the fact that he was at the forefront to address the same. Socrates behaved like he wanted to lose the case He goes out his way to antagonize the jury and rarely put up a great defiance when given the opportunity to defend him. When the jury gives him the chance to suggest his punishment he responds by suggesting he be rewarded. He wants to be rewarded by being named a hero and be given free meals for the rest of his life.