A utopia, an ideal socio-politico-legal system that we can work towards if never reach, should lie at the heart of ones political philosophy. Ones support for ideas and policies should be based on whether they further progress towards ones utopia.
One of the earliest expoundings of a utopia was in Plato’s The Republic. Plato recounts Socrates examining the requirements and conditions for an ideal state in which the Men of Gold, also called Philosopher-Kings or Guards, rule with their perfect logic and lack of self-interest (funny how philosophers come up with systems where philosophers rule), Men of Silver, or Auxiliaries, conditioned (through eugenics and collectivism) to be totally loyal to the State defend the system, and the Men of Bronze (that’s the rest of us) do all the stuff and are well-behaved.
This system was meant to prevent the bad outcomes the Greek philosophers saw in the monarchies, oligarchies, and democracies of Ancient Greece, effectively creating a benevolent dictatorship of really great chaps who would do the best for all. Of course, 2,500 years of experience since then has shown that even the best dictatorships do not stay benevolent for long. We can all see that this ideal state is a blueprint for what would quickly become a Police State. As Socrates is asked in The Republic, ‘who will guard the Guards themselves?’
Who indeed. The philosophers spend the bulk of the work debating whether the Guards can guard themselves (which is pretty much what modern democracies attempt do through the seperation of powers), whether there can be naturally perfectly just, incorruptible people to be Guards, whether they have incorruptibility conditioned into them (by being told ‘noble lies’), or whether this is all a silly idea.
Anyway, this was all just an excuse to post Minuit: The Guards themselves. It’s the coolest song with a reference to political philosophy, ever. At least, as far as I’m aware. Have a listen, why don’t ya?