Why Socrates Hated Democracy

We’re used to thinking hugely well of democracy. But interestingly, one of the wisest people who ever lived, Socrates, had deep suspicions of it. For gifts and more from The School of Life, visit our online shop: https://goo.gl/mQYmze
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“We are used to thinking very highly of democracy – and by extension, of Ancient Athens, the civilisation that gave rise to it. The Parthenon has become almost a byword for democratic values, which is why so many leaders of democracies like to be photographed among its ruins…”

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Mike Booth

  • imperator epaulette

    "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter" Apparently not Winston Churchill

  • Ix The Best

    Americans must love sweets then...

  • Adrian Popescu

    How about we introduce politics and democracy as mandatory classes in every school and have competency test before each test.

  • SantiTVyMusic

    Oh, Socrates, how right were your words!!Education is the most powerful weapon to destroy or evolve the world, and goverments know it. If we stop ✋ a bit and just think about the system, the democracy and the voting process, instead of believe one crazy "savior" ideas, world would be more awaken, and countries would be plenty of conscious people in place of numbness citizens.THINK!! Whatever you want! Human thinking is your greater expression of freedom.

  • Dustin Keele

    LOL....All I can think of is Trump and the uneducated people that put him in power

  • Abe Honest

    🤔😰.... so that's how Mr Trump got elected.....

  • If Not Now When

    Don't think for one minute that Democrats and Republicans haven't used this as a tool to sway society either way, at any time in the past. Thus, no Independent party...The two main parties should be renamed the Sheep and the Lemmings

  • Brainwaves

    "Democracy is as much effective as the education system which surrounds it."

  • Θεόδωρος Τζιγκαλίδης

    I couldn't agree more with these statements. Unfortunately, most people, despite not ever reading the words of ancient Greek philosophers, believe that everyone then was preferring democracy against the previous regime. In fact, the majority of the philosophers and scholars praised the system of ancient Sparta as the most effective way of governing a state, the one closest that can ever get to an ideal one.

  • 1ucasvb

    So, the problem with democracy is that it works. The weakness of democracy is the culture that sustains it.Fix the culture and you won't have a problem with democracy. We have never fixed our culture, and the way all of our democracies work and have worked is goddamn awful, because we don't give it enough thought and we don't listen to mathematicians.Virtually all of the voting systems being used today in democracies are mathematically flawed and unrepresentative. We live in a world where if three candidates get 40%, 30% and 30% of the votes, the candidate that is disliked by 60% of the people wins. And we're totally OK with that nonsense, even though there are dozens of alternatives out there. (Score voting is by far the best alternative, but we need a runoff stage with it to please people. Check Equal Vote Coalition's website.)I think it's quite fair to say we never really had a proper democratic system anywhere in the modern world. So the whole basis of whether or not all people should have a say is nonsense, because we never had that anyway. Creating any artificial barriers will only add another layer to the unrepresentativeness to the system, one which will only benefit people who can pass that barrier.We treat elections as ideological weapons and not as systems for picking representative leaders. That's the real problem.

  • MCP/ChronicBuzz

    He traveled to 2017, saw that the US elected Donald Trump president and then he was all like "ok... fuck it... this won't work"

  • The Nazbol Inquisition

    This is why the united states was created as a republic and not a democracy.

  • Reglei

    Philosophy should be common core. why is it that i can go on and vote with only BASIC understandments of math science and literature. but no real applied economics and critical philosophical thinking skills? How come we arent taught to dissect good arguments and their premises, i think we'd be way better off making sure everyone was making valid and sound arguments.

  • MaSTer_of _RagGNarÖk

    This is why I support the Electoral College

  • Glial Cell

    TL;DR: Socrates realized that most people are incredibly stupid.

  • Deimos

    Love how people here are calling Trump the sweet shop politician, but he has actually delivered on some of his promises. I can't think of any western leader who has done the same, so far.

  • louis thompson

    The thing is. Socrates is right. We do need to be educated to be able to vote properly. RIP America

  • nougatbitz

    Which modern democracy doesn’t live off the (hidden) exploitation of foreign cultures nowadays though. As soon as this economic set up starts failing like in the US or European countries- they all shift back to the right becoming nationalistic again, blaming others yet exploiting themselves...

  • Caverman

    "Democracy is only ever as effective as the education that surrounds it."

  • Devesh Naik

    How about a system that revolves around "unions",such as a union of farmers to make all decisions related to farmers,a doctor union for doctors and so on. These Unions can accept new members depending on some criteria. To prevent corruption a few citizens can be selected in a union.

  • Squirrel Squire

    The problem is, how do you differentiate between "dumb" voters and educated voters? How do you know who has done research and who just votes like he feels? Do you want to put up tests before an election and only those who pass are allowed to vote? What about those who don't have access to better education? Do you want to deny them the chance of voting for a candidate who wants to better their or their childrens chances in life? Also it is not like in Socrates days anymore. Everyone learns about democracy and how it works in school. Something that wasn't given in Socrates days.

  • MC Mark Markson

    Democracy is great, until the racists get the majority.

  • Hipster Eagle

    I’m not the first to type this probably but...”and that’s how Trump got elected!”

  • r wfr

    a VERY inaccurate video please make some more research before adresssing a topic.

  • Oscar Cano

    Hes right, Trump is a perfecr example showing these damn idiots shouldnt be voting 😒😒😒

  • connor jensen

    This sounds good in theory, but there are about a billion questions left unanswered in this video. Here are the ones I have come up with:1. A) Who decides what makes a person educated? Do you need a high school degree? A university degree? Do you need to take a test? B) If the test is the route you chose, who decides what's on it, and how do you know that the people who pass it are actually intelligent, rather than just able to take a test?2. What do you need to have studied to be considered educated in voting?3. What makes a scientist or engineer better informed about, say, economics than a regular person?4. Who controls the education system?5. How do you ensure that the people who teach the do not indoctrinate the students into thinking a certain way?6. A) Why would the educated, who now find themselves the only ones with franchise, vote in the interests of the uneducated? B) What prevents an educated person from succumbing to demagoguery? C) Since only the educated can vote, why would the already educated be interested in educating others, since that would just increase the competition? 7. How do you select the actually educated people to vote, and prevent those who can only regurgitate information from voting?8. What does an education consist of, and why?9. What makes an educated person better at voting?

  • johnny cat

    That's why the USA is a republic.

  • Aleena Prasannan

    The reason why sweet talkers like Trump and Modi gets elected. People even ridiculed Manmohan Singh for being a man of few words. Today's Democracy needs some fixing, so that it won't become a mindless majoritarianism. For that, our education system needs fixing.

  • TeeVee Beatbox

    Democracy killed Socrates

  • Andy Kench

    The problem occurred when we put some sweet shop owners in charge of education; now they have no incentive to educate people fully, just enough to get by but not enough to ask critical questions. Oh well, democracy was a good experiment, what's next?

  • hadi erturk

    It's obvious that democracy isn't perfect. It has a bunch of flaws. But that's not the point. The point is that it's the most practical system. Any other system that relies on people being good is doomed to fail.

  • Rasczak's Roughnecks

    Something givin has no value.When you vote, you are exercising political authority, your using force. And force is violence. The supreme authority from which all authority is derived.Naked force has resolved more conflicts throughout human history then any other factor. The contrary opinion, that violence doesnt solve anything, is wishful thinking at its worst.The difference between a citizen and civilian; A citizen has the courage to make the safety of the people their personal responsibility. A civilian does not, and lacks the courage to even consider the safety of others over their own.Lets sum up. The failure of Democracy is its inheritance. Something so fragile when givin away loses its value and is, in the end, cast aside.Its failure is in its inheritance to those who have not earned it and do not understand its value.Its failure is in the vote of the civilian.

  • jose junior

    Thanks for Portuguese subtitles, cc.

  • Renato Pontes

    I feel that there is some heavy bias when the narrator suggests that Trump is a very clear example of a demagogue (to be fair, every victorious politician must be a demagogue to some extent). I'm not an american, but I say this because I perceived the US election as being very controversial and polarized.Trump said some stuff that got a lot of people pretty upset, which in my opinion shows that he is less of a demagogue than Hillary, because a demagogue tries very hard to please, but Trump consistently made a lot of a people angry.Since Hillary was not nearly as inflamatory, I feel that she would make for a better demagogue example: she says what most people want to hear and avoids controversy at all costs.

  • Jakromha

    I like how right wing and left wing people are accusing each other of being pro democracy.

  • Angan Bhattacharyya

    Socrates is my favourite personality from ancient Greece

  • DR S

    Anyway one tries to differentiate whose wisest to participate, in the end someone will try to 'control' the Outcome to suit themselves ! So All must Participate. Democracy is the best path !

  • TheBugsy

    As a trump supporter, I agree with this. More educated voters = Less people voting based on the gender or skin color of the candidate.

  • Tony Rodriguez

    I believe thanks to the internet, it will slowly change everything we ever thought or knew about basic principles when you throw a variable like the internet into the mix. Many countries suffer from heavy censorship to no internet at all but eventually everyone will have access to it and more. We have only had the worldwide for less than thirty years. We have had human civilizations for thousands of years.Now we have blockchain for less than a decade. Will we have a new form of governance created by a protocol that uses AI to determine the best choice? Would this be considered a dictatorship? For forever, sovereignty created currency. But now, currency has the power to create sovereignty.

  • trebledc

    Exactly I never had a doubt democracy without proper guide on who will have the right to vote will lead to chaos.

  • Cody Anderson

    So this basically boils down to don't let dummys vote. How would we ever measure who is smart enough to vote and by who's standard would we enforce that? I just don't see this as realistic although I like the idea of it.

  • Marlon Munguia

    This is why the US is a republic

  • Bob Joe

    There should be a test at the end of high school that you have to pass in order to vote.

  • Hypatia4242

    The problem with creating participatory thresholds or tests in a semi-democracy is that the elite will inevitably figure out how to game the system in favor of their children and ideological partners. The fringe will be discouraged from voting, threatened, and or simply prevented, no matter if the fringe is defined on technology promoters, tax, social views, race, or gender. Example: in the American south there used to be a reading requirement to vote (designed to discriminate). When a white man showed up he was given a paragraph from a local newspaper as his reading test. When a black person or woman arrived she was more likely to be given a paragraph of US law including relatively obscure phrases about "municipality regulation" or "fiduciary re-alignment" and then quizzed on the content and marked on pronunciation. Reducing the number of eligible voters is unlikely to do anything because the percentage that do vote is never guaranteed to be the "right" group over time. All people should vote, but, as the video says, they should first understand the ship and the ocean in which they find themselves.

  • Michael Kahr

    I think it's not only that voters have to be educated but that democracy is a multifactored cultural achievment. You can build it up or erode it like Trump. A destroyed system won't even work with educated voters.

  • Matthew Young

    "Teaching" people how to vote has dire ramifications for propagandizing. Either weight the votes by citizen value or require a test of competence to be eligible to vote.

  • Salma Hernandez

    A test would be a convenient way to weed out crazy and avoid idiocracies but we may well end up back in the era of Jim Crow and unequal testingExample:How could a test be done in such a way were to not discriminate those whom may be critical thinkers but not have traditional education?Take brain injury assesment for a low income 60ish handy man with not much than a middle school education that made a living constructing and has fallen from a roofIf the doc ask them can you tell which is different from the rest: hammer, pipe, wrench He may answer there is no difference - the doc concludes severe brain injury given a hammer and wrench are both tools causing then the pipe to be the odd one out, but is it?If you have higher education you may conclude the same as the doc because 2 things are tools and the 1 is a resource - but if you consider the patients access or relative ability to higher education then there is no brain injury because all 3 items are used in the process of building structures - how can you build a bldg/house with only tools and no resourcesNot only what is on the test but how and whom shall assess the test are all factors to consider

  • Ruben Sánchez Ramírez

    Here's a scary thought: The policies on education are in the hands of the same people who benefit from keeping the voters as uneducated and easy to manipulate as possible

  • Shai Sabag

    Huge huge hugeeee pile of bull**it and demagogy...

  • Silvio Ferreira

    The choise of the majority never should be done, only the right choise

  • Zak Casey

    Democracy is mob-rule; the tyranny of the majority. It is a system in which - if pure, at least - the removal of God-given rights is justified and possible if a slim majority of the populace accept it. Very often the majority is wrong, sometimes even objectively wrong. We cannot redefine truth on the basis of majority consensus.

  • Comoroo

    The United States is a Democratic REPUBLIC. Learn the difference.

  • Comoroo

    The history of one man influenced 96k viewers to thumb up this video. Hahah! Those are the people Socrates was talking about!

  • Colin Cobb

    Socrates throwing mad shade.

  • GAMMODE 1992

    Well there is a very simple solution, we need a law that forces politicians to work on their promises! The power of a country should belong to the people...We do not really live in a democracy but rather in a oligarchy, people should have a veto on certain decisions...Politicians should have a kind of books where they will have to write all their promises and how they intends to get them, and then the book should be checked and approved by experts!And with serious consequences if they do not respect their book!I think we will see much less clown stand for the presidency...

  • Joshua Mcnellis

    Modern day democracy is a myth. It's supposed to be a majority opinion of the people should decided the laws and practices of the State. It's absolutely not how it works in modern day western countries. The majority's vote or opinion holds no weight unless it is in line with the States agenda. There's a few examples of exceptions but very rare.

  • Jorge Rojas

    This critic of democracy is too simplistic and ignores the main reason behind democracy: conflict of interests. What if those educated in the rules of seafaring are simply not willing to send the boat to the place most people want to go? What if they use their education and skills to exploit and subjugated the majority? People should learn and educate themselves to make good judgments in terms of politics and economy, but if we wait until those who monopolize this knowledge and skills dare to share it probably we would have to wait forever.

  • Kim Demiş

    todays democracy = legal dictatorship

  • Zero Zero

    Socrates has his point proven by the election of Trump.

  • Kyllian Masson

    You really know nothing about true Democracy. It is completely different to a Republic.

  • shibu j

    Democracy gives power to the Majority and suppress the minority so it is a flawed system. If every group gets equal power and representation, then the chances of oppression and exploitation can be minimized.

  • Mark Sanchez

    That's why I don't vote 😂

  • Sumpter Carter

    I'd defer to Winston Churchill on the subject. "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others have been tried."

  • Viktor Orbán

    Democracy is overrated

  • Ricky Sterling

    democracy is failing all over the world now after Communism.Stupid religious people are voting and appointing their own in the democracy who supports killing of people of other sect.Well next 30-40 years will be very crucial in the humanity.

  • Dr. Mond

    Democracy is a government system in which the stupid majority choose a leader based on looks and social status

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