In Plato’s The Republic, he proposed an ideal society that would be ruled over by philosopher-kings, rulers who had a genuine love of knowledge and wisdom. These men would be truly well-learned and understanding so as to best lead their society. This is the ideal but the reality falls vastly short of it. The rulers of today’s society, most especially our latest President, retain the aspect of a truly knowledgeable ruler but that aspect is hollow and ill fitting. The government acts as if they are our betters, telling us what to do and how to do it, as if we are children. If this was just the beginning of this trend then something might be done about it but it has gone on far too long for many to take heed. They say that if you put a frog in boiling water, the frog will jump right out. However, if you put the frog in the water and steadily increase the temperature until boiling, the frog would not notice until it is too late. After incrementally being told more and more how their lives should run, eventually the populace defers to Government and the media for instruction instead of taking it upon themselves to make the choices. If one takes a look at television, one will see show after show on how a person should or should not do things. Classically is the example my father always told me in jest, “Don’t put your hand in the fire and don’t poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick”. Now maybe if we were mere younglings this information might come as a revelation but it has frighteningly become more uncommon to have common sense. There are disclaimers on To-Go coffee mugs “Caution: Hot” because of that lawsuit some years ago, when that person spilled the hot coffee on themselves. Apparently, we need to know that when we order hot coffee…that the coffee is hot and we should not spill it upon ourselves. Of all the lawsuits plaguing California, how many are based in the simple lack of common sense in the people and of the judicial system catering to them? The person who sued because of the coffee burn is a prime example. The lawsuit went through and so now people do not have to think about if the coffee is hot, the cup tells them. What is worse is that some politicians make it their personal mission to save the “helpless” populace from their own selves. After all, these people in power are so much wiser then we so they need to pass laws to help us since we just cannot make our own choices, right? The seatbelt law is an example of some action that affects no one but the occupant; however, it is a law that the politicians have passed to “help” the populace. I, by no means, want to imply that one should not wear a seatbelt but I would like to point out how odd it is that it would even be a law. For now it is required for all, despite what an individual believes. If I do not wear a seatbelt and I get into a car accident, no matter what happens to me the fact that I chose to not wear one does not affect the rights of anyone else. So why make it a law at all? A suggestion would suffice, a Public Service Announcement to inform of the dangers and leave it to the populace to decide what they want to do. It seems we do not get to make our own decisions anymore. The False Philosopher-Kings get to tell us what to do now, from their lofty position as…what? These are not preternatural beings; they are just people like the rest of society. They should in no way take away the ability for the people to think and make their own decisions. They should leave us be when we spill coffee on ourselves and get burned. When we can sue out of our responsibility claiming ignorance of something that should be common sense, allowing the obligation fall on another’s shoulders for not telling us, out goes the idea of personal responsibility.
Ciera Forsythe is a native Californian, a college student and a first time contributor to Voices Under 30 at CABPRO News.