It seems to me, Glaucon’s question is pertinent today and is in many ways, the source of the societal convulsions we are presently experiencing. To those unfamiliar with The Republic, Glaucon’s question to Socrates was, “Is it better to be just and thought unjust, or better to be unjust and considered just?” The question went to the heart of the matter they were discussion, is justice really a good or only something we use to trick fools into following the “great men?” He went on to explain that someone who is just, but considered unjust, will be spat upon, ridiculed, attacked and his or her interests destroyed, while he who is unjust but considered just, will be lauded, protected and the road paved before him. Today our media tells us that people who clearly are unjust (evil), are just(good), and those who are just, as unjust. Seemingly to forward injustice as justice, which goes to the heart of The Republic’s premise, what is the nature of justice?
Machiavelli touched on the same question in The Prince. In that book, Machiavelli said that a wise prince must be dishonest (unjust) while appearing at all times to be honest (just). He went on that the way to appear just while being unjust is by several means. One must constantly claim to be honest, even when one is a consummate liar, because people will hear the words and forget the actions. We have the example today of Clinton and Obama, who lied constantly, about significant things, but are still considered by many as honest. Obama’s “you can keep your doctor,” and “Benghazi was due to an internet video,” are two glaring examples of our leaders following Machiavelli’s advice, be dishonest while claiming to be honest. The media backed those two liars, so they would appear to be honest, the media in other words, went to great lengths to make the unjust appear just.
Meanwhile, the media has bent over backwards to claim Trump, and Reagan before him, are/were bad people. The legacy media that calls itself unbiased threw mud at Reagan incessantly. They re branded Reagan’s every initiative, The strategic defense initiative was re branded as Star wars, Reagan’s supply side economics was called trickle down, are but two examples of many. Trump has faced the vitriol of the media since he became a viable candidate. Before that he was used as a tool to discredit republicans. That shenanigan backfired in the faces of the media that calls itself unbiased and helped get Trump in office. Clearly, judging by their actions the media is seeking to paint Trump, who may very well be just, as unjust.
Today, the media dutifully pretend that open calls for violence against republicans, is mere rhetoric. Claiming evil is actually good and thereby making the unjust appear just, while they make the just appear unjust. Knowing the way people treat those they consider evil, the media is complicit in creating “Great Men,” cut from the same cloth as other “great men,” Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Tamerlane, Hitler and Lenin… mass murderers every one. One thing they all had in common was that they were considered, at the time and some even today, as just, when they were anything but. The result of the media’s calling injustice, justice, evil good and good evil, is the political violence we are seeing today.
Take a look at what the media calls just, stealing from producers, and redistributing that ill gotten gain to politically favored groups. If an action is wrong (unjust) for me to do, then it is equally wrong for you, and even a group of people, no matter the size of that group. If a mob smashes a store window and steals the merchandise, it is as wrong as if you or I did it, and even if that mob consists of three hundred million rioters, it is still unjust. To claim it is, warps not only logic, but morality as well. The “great men” as Thrasymachus called them, seek to appear just, while they are unjust, as a means to trick the rest of us into believing in justice, so they can engage in injustice without oversight.
The ancient Greeks understood the nature on Man better than we do today. Today we are dazzled by technology and science, blinding us to fundamental truths of humanity. In our hubris at what our fathers have created, we forget the reality of human nature, and imagine we are gods. Yet we are reaping what we have sown, treating injustice as justice, is a sure path to economic collapse, crime, violence and human suffering. No less today that two thousand five hundred years ago. The heft of human history shows the absurdity of allowing the evil to masquerade as good while destroying the good out of ignorance of their goodness. Moreover, today the media calls those who are good, evil, because they are good!
So, we have a situation where the just are attacked, ridiculed and destroyed, for an unjust political end that is portrayed as just, while those who are unjust are lauded, protected and aided in ad for their injustice. Worse, the good today are attacked, for their goodness! To change this paradigm, stop the political violence, economic degradation, rising rates of crime and drug use, economic inequality, as well as the overt corruption in our governments… we must think for ourselves, see with our minds as well as our ears and our hearts, separate the just from the unjust… and refuse to be fooled again. Only then will Glaucon’s question be answered in the affirmative, yes, it is better to be just and considered unjust, than to be unjust and considered just, because humanity’s future depends on it.