Robert Ringer

Where Is Socrates When You Need Him?

By Robert Ringer - Monday, September 30, 2013

Like everything else that goes on in Washington, the perpetual reruns of the government-shutdown circus are nothing more than diversions.  But to anyone addicted to phony drama, “debates” over “stopgap funding measures” and raising the debt ceiling to avoid government shutdowns are like watching the Super Bowl.

What’s good about these theatrical debates is that they shine the spotlight on just how weak-kneed and unprincipled politicians are as a result of their insatiable thirst to hang on to the good life that membership in the Capitol Hill Mafia affords them.

We’ve seen this spinelessness on display in issue after issue — Roe vs. Wade, the Iraq War, global warming (now known as “climate change”), gay marriage, amnesty for illegal aliens … the list goes on and on.

Of course, just in case a politician’s words come back to haunt him at a later date, his ace in the hole is the old-reliable flip-flop.  To be a respected member of the Capitol Hill Mafia, one has to be able not only to change his stance on an issue quickly, but to do so with a totally straight face.

Who in the world would be taken in by all this flip-flopping, weak-kneed silliness?  Most Americans!  Why?  Because they are intensely interested in the answer to only one question:  “If I vote fer ya, whataya gonna gimme?”

Hey, it’s what we call democracy — at least democracy in its sunset stage (or should I say on stage?)  It’s also what prompted H. L. Mencken to describe an election as “an advanced auction of stolen goods.”

Of course, if government’s powers were restricted to those specifically set forth in the Constitution, lack of principle would become a moot point.  For example, the details of a “crisis” on the other side of the world would be irrelevant if the government was not able to usurp the power to use your tax dollars to roam the earth and stick its nose in other people’s business.

This is true whether such snooping involves invading foreign countries with bombs or invading them with humanitarian aid.  Humanitarian aid is a wonderful thing, but it should be left to humanitarians.  In case anyone has bothered to notice, the Founding Fathers never put anything about humanitarian aid (or thousands of other activities that today’s politicians engage in) in the Constitution.

What we need in Washington today is a modern-day Socrates.  Socrates may have been shortchanged when they passed out good looks, but he was handsomely endowed with principle.  He was a rare man who stayed true to his convictions even in the face of death.

Socrates would not do anything he did not believe to be right, regardless of what was at stake.  His chief interest was the pursuit of virtue and truth.  And then, as now, truth was abhorred by those in power, because they were all too aware that truth is not well received by the masses.

The fact that Socrates was a man of conviction and principle irritated politicians no end.  He believed that the greatest wisdom is to be aware of one’s own ignorance, and that people who know nothing, but believe they know much, are fools.  Can you imagine what he would think of the members of today’s Capitol Hill Mafia?

Socrates was philosophically, morally, and politically at odds with his fellow citizens, and his views did not play well in Athens.  If he were running for office today, his handlers would be whispering to him, “Shhh … Soc, cool it or they’ll be bringing out the bucket of hemlock before you know it.”

And indeed they did.  The official charge:  “corrupting youth by questioning tradition.”  Of great importance in this saga is that even after the power holders threw Socrates in the clinker, he could have saved himself by recanting.  But he was defiant to the bitter end.

Can you picture a modern-day politician, when being given an opportunity to change his stance or be put to death, saying, “Thanks, fellas, but I think I’ll just stick with my beliefs.  Pass the hemlock, please.”

So, Socrates died — but he died with dignity, maintaining the courage of his convictions to the bitter end.  He preferred death over the endorsement of B.S.  Do you know any politicians today who would be willing to die for their convictions?

Socrates has always been an enigma to historians in that he seemed to be a patriot, while at the same time disagreeing with much of what he saw and heard around him.  Socrates was, in fact, a patriot of the highest order, because a true patriot is someone who has the courage to disagree with immoral actions.

In today’s America, if you love the founding principles, why wouldn’t you disagree with the lies, the decadence, and the unconstitutional policies that have metastasized throughout our once-proud culture?

The problem with the United States is not the national debt, the deficit, illegal immigration, or foreign entanglements.  The underlying problem with the United States is that politicians are willing to say — and vote for — just about anything in order to maintain their status in the Capitol Hill Mafia.

And so, my fellow Americans, the dramas acted out by politicians in the multiplex D.C. Political Theatre live on.  But regardless of political-theater to the contrary, the majority in both wings of the Demopublican Party agree on the major, underlying premise that the state has a right to ignore the Constitution.  Their differences lie only in how much of the Constitution it has a right to ignore, and to what extent.

Luckily for politicians, a majority of Americans still don’t get this — including many in the conservative media who claim they do.  And so long as the D.C. Political Theatre dramas continue to dazzle the masses, they never will.

Where is Socrates when you need him?

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Copyright © 2019 Robert Ringer
ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron's, and The New York Times.

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9 Responses to “Where Is Socrates When You Need Him?”

  1. Andy says:

    Wasn’t it Winston Churchill who said that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter?

  2. PitBull says:

    Not going back as far as Mr. Ringer, I've gone back to an ancient DWEM (dead white european male_ – Francesco Guicciardini – 15th/16th century Italian historian – for my bitter lesson of the day:
    "If you attempt certain things at the right time, they are easy to accomplish – in fact, they almost get done by themselves. If you undertake them before the time is right, not only will they fail, but they will often become impossible to accomplish even when the time would have been right."

    Our POTUS and our current political theatre could not exist – would not have seen the light of political office – were it not for the current dumbed down 'citizen' and his and her entitlement mentality. AND…I'll throw 'kudos' to the celebrity culture that waters and feeds our lack of critical thinking and our 'gimme more' and 'what'sinitforme' pursuits.

  3. Mike S. says:

    I believe Ron Paul was about as close as we have come recently to Socrates, and we all know how well that went. As long as the party favors are being handed out, who wants to stop, even though a few of us know how it will all end!

  4. Common Sense says:

    You've said in other articles that human nature hasn't changed over the centuries–I disagree.
    The essence of human nature is still the same, but those qualities exist on a continuum. Around the time of Jesus (and before and for a period after) they were much tougher, among other positive and negative traits, like brutality.

  5. george says:

    Hi Everyone.
    Well the 2014 elections are coming. The republicans know that ACA would really be painful to the voters, once they actually have to surrender their cash. Putting ACA off for a year is the way for the republicans, to protect the democrats, the republicans drinking buddies. LOL
    Try to enjoy what time you have left folks and don't clutter your mind with meaningless thoughts. Thanks to RR and the other people leaving info on this site. Most of the comments are entertaining, and quite thoughtful.

  6. Reality Seeker says:

    “If I vote fer ya, whataya gonna gimme?”

    ………. lol.

    Tip of the hat to you, RJR, because this was one of your better written articles. I like them all, mostly, because they are all well written, but this one was a jewel, indeed….

  7. What’s up everyone, it my first go to see at this web site, and post Where Is Socrates When You Need Him? is in fact fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these types of articles or reviews.
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  8. A school is a place where people acquire knowledge through the guidance of a teacher. It is through school that people have gotten the know-how of various things including understanding themselves. In short a school is an eye opener.

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