Sunday, June 18, 2006

Part 2 of "Learn Some History! series"- Finding James Madison

A long time ago, in an era far, far away, there lived a man of unprecedented levels of competence, versatility, virtue, and yes, brilliance. Often regarded as the “Father of the Constitution,” James Madison was considered the leading political theorist during his time on Earth; a time when our country was developing into the benevolent republic to which it hath become. Madison indulged himself into any book he could muster into his feeble hands (he weighed roughly 100 pounds!) and he constantly was researching history for practical theories of governance. His acumen transcended party affiliation and he remained America’s most principled Founding Father who fundamentally understood the system of government he wished to execute. As I gaze, dazed and confused, at the Congress of today, and the “great” politicians of today, I constantly ask myself a very unsatisfying question: Where the hell is the James Madison of today? Is it so beyond the realm of possibility that a man of great intentions, convictions, and standards who reads and understands political theory be in existence in the political arena of American politics today?

Forget James Madison for a moment, and just observe the devolution of political minds throughout our nation’s history. We once had a government being run by a crew consisting of Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, Henry, Jay, Adams, and Washington (although he was most notably known for his ability to govern and compromise). We are now in the midst of a government run by the ilk of Bush, Frist, Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Cheney, etc. The very thought of this comparison leaves me sickened. As cynical as I may sound, I do have hope for our beloved republic and the optimism in me believes that this great nation may produce another James Madison to run the country.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Part 1 of "Learn Some History! series"- Napoleon: Reclamation of the Throne

Napoleon Bonaparte was an early 19th century military commander of the French armed forces who later became Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814. The final days of Napoleon’s reign were rather dismal, as he solemnly observed the monumental empire he had fought for begin to fall into the hands of other European nations. As Napoleon abdicated from the throne, he was exiled to the island of Elba in April of 1814. However, less than a year later, Napoleon had once again reclaimed the crown as Emperor of France. How did Napoleon justify his return to power and reclamation of the throne in France? There were three major factors in which Napoleon justified his reclamation of the throne. First, the friendly and unsatisfying terms of the Treaty of Fontainebleau provided him the eventual means of coming back as the agreements within the treaty were not upheld. Secondly, the location of Elba, and the lack of oversight on the island paved the way for his escape. Thirdly, the environment in France at that time allowed for not only Napoleon’s return, but also allowed for his acceptance and consent of the people.

On April 11th, 1814, Napoleon had formally abdicated from the throne as Emperor of France. The Allied European nations, Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau which ultimately set the stipulations for the fate of Napoleon. The treaty stated that Napoleon was to be exiled to the island of Elba where he would attain the title of Emperor of Elba, he would receive two million francs annually, paid by the French government, and his wife, Marie-Louise, would receive the Duchy of Parma, a territory in Italy. The terms of the treaty itself were undoubtedly particularly generous to a man who had conquered half of Europe through force. Yet, the French and the other Allies reluctantly agreed to the proposal.

Although Napoleon was depressed because of the abdication from his country, he requested in a letter written to then Commandant of the island of Elba, Count Dalesme, to “Announce this new order of things to the inhabitants, and tell them I have chosen the island for my residence because I know the kindness of their character and the excellence of their climate.” This is rather interesting because it shows that Napoleon was at least a little concerned about the consent of the people for his rule. Also, it portrays Napoleon as someone who took his title seriously, and that he was still capable of being an emperor in another country. These two components from this letter provide insight as to how Napoleon viewed his role in foreign affairs and how he viewed the consent of the people as something essential for his authority to be legitimately in power. His justification for coming back to power would never have been imposed on the French people had the French army not consented to Napoleon’s return.

As Napoleon remained in exile, the Bourbons, who were now ruling France under King Louis XVIII, were not following through on their promise of compensating him two million francs. One main reason as to why Napoleon was to be granted this money was because he left behind over 160 million francs of property and real estate in France. Even though Napoleon had brought 4 million francs to the island, his funds were slowly depleting, and he was unable to pay for his expensive guard which was protecting him from Polish assassins. This not only angered Napoleon, but it also prevented him from sustaining a healthy state, as the money was not a luxury, but a necessity. As Napoleon demanded the money from the French government, the Bourbons proposed that Napoleon be relocated to the Azores, an island located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This was something Napoleon would not stand for, so this played a very intricate part in his beginnings of plotting to escape the island of Elba and return to France. As we can see, Napoleon justifies part of his return for mere survival.

Another source of extreme frustration with the terms of the treaty and the final decisions that were made came from Napoleon’s wife, Marie-Louise, and her decision to not join Napoleon on the island in exile. When Napoleon learned that his wife would not be joining him because she had wished not to go against her father’s wishes, he was devastated. While Napoleon was on Elba, he received news that his wife had married an Austrian general named Count Adam Albrecht von Neipperg, and Marie-Louise eventually bore two of his children, the first in 1815.9 Here were two very distinct reasons which forced Napoleon to return to the mainland: he needed money for survival, and he wanted revenge for his personal hurt. One could only imagine if these two reasons had been dealt with in Napoleon’s favor, that is to say if he were paid the money from the Bourbons and Marie-Louise had joined him in exile, he might not have sought a leaving the island to return to France.

The Treaty of Fontainebleau was somewhat generous to Napoleon in two other aspects. The first is the actual location of where he was put, and the second is the specifications for his actual oversight and containment. The location of Elba was not too distant from the southern border of France as it was situated in the Mediterranean Sea roughly 240 miles from France. This is a crucial aspect to his actual means of getting to France because it physically enabled Napoleon to reach the island before he could be intercepted by British fleets. Had the Treaty of Fontainebleau been dictated by any of the other Alliance members, such as Britain for example, the terms would have been such that Napoleon would never have practical means of even coming back to France.

The main allied country that was set in charge of Napoleon’s oversight on the island of Elba was the British. British Foreign Secretary Lord Castlereagh sent Sir Neil Campbell to accompany Napoleon to Elba where he assured everyone that Napoleon would not escape. In fact, the briefing Sir Neil Campbell received from Lord Castlereagh prior to his departure from France with Napoleon stated “Conduct yourself, as far as the circumstances will permit, with every proper respect and attention to Napoleon, to whose secure asylum in that island it is the wish of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent to afford every facility and protection.” Campbell recognized that these orders were vague and while living with Napoleon in July of 1814 he asked for more specific orders. The British responded that Campbell was a “British resident in Elba without assuming any further official character.” Campbell had in fact been absent ten days prior to Napoleon’s escape, and for the British and many others it was a clear “dereliction of duty.” Much of the blame for Napoleon’s escape was placed upon Campbell, yet nowhere in the initial briefing or specific orders did it say he was to remain on the island and guard Napoleon every day of the week. In fact, Campbell had left the island for a medical consultation, and the following day Napoleon ordered the ship Inconstant to be fixed for a voyage. The lack of oversight and location of Elba made the possibility of return, despite the justifications, very conceivable.

The mitigating factors in Europe before Napoleon’s flight from Elba also played an important role in his decision to return. The Quadruple Alliance between the four powers that ousted Napoleon were starting to subtly quarrel with one another, and dissension was no the horizon. Within six months of these four powers signing the Treaty of Chaumont, which essentially said these four powers would ally for 20 years in case France ever got too powerful, they had formed alliances within the alliance. As Russia and Prussia wished to expand their territories, Austria, Britain, and even France became increasingly suspicious of their new prospects for more power. The tensions were so hostile that Austria, Britain and France signed a secret directed against Russia and Prussia. As Napoleon observed these events taking shape he realized that the Allies might be disconnected enough for him to regain power and continue his conquest through Europe.

The primary factor for Napoleon’s reclamation of the throne was not necessarily the reasons to accomplish his goal, or even the dynamics of his actual escape; rather it was the atmosphere within France that allowed for Napoleon to actually regain the throne and lead with consent of the people. After Napoleon abdicated from the throne, the allied powers allowed for the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty and Louis XVIII was placed as the ruling King. The Bourbons had ruled France for nearly 200 years before they were overthrown by the French Revolution of 1792. The people of France did not take a liking to the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty in France. King Louis XVIII rejected one of the essential ideals of the Revolution which was the “idea of a contract between sovereign and the people.” He believed a king should rule by divinity, nothing more. To top it off, Louis XVIII changed the national flag from the tri-color blue, red and white flag of the Revolution to the white flag with yellow lilies. The legitimacy of the Bourbons was not recognized by the people simply because they were forced back to power under the guns of the allied powers. The French people saw this transformation of power to ignore the foundation and ideals of the French Revolution, something which Napoleon had represented symbolically. Napoleon was able to take back France because the people believed the Bourbons were too reactionary and were going to send France back into feudal darkness. The Official Report of Napoleon’s Return from the Island of Elba published in the Moniteur on May 23rd, asserts that the main justification for Napoleon returning to power was because Napoleon was informed “that the French people have lost all their rights…and his throne could guarantee the rights of the nation.”

Although Louis XVIII did proclaim a “constitutional monarch” the situation was extremely bleak for most soldiers and peasants. In fact, thousands of military men who had been disbanded after Napoleon’s abdication were in the midst of monarchical corruption and they faced no jobs and no future. The King of France also engaged in nepotism by placing inexperienced officers in the higher ranks, and demoting veteran officers. The massive unemployment among the lower classes and peasantry produced a climate of disdain for the legitimacy of the Bourbon Restoration and paved the way for Napoleon to receive consent from the people.

When Napoleon had finally escaped, he landed on the southern coast of France in Golf Juan with roughly 1,000 soldiers. As he marched through various cities of France on his way to Paris, the people of France rallied around him praising his return and consenting to his “liberation” of France. Upon learning of Napoleon’s return Louis XVIII ordered the military to arrest Napoleon and remain loyal to the state. As the French army sent by Louis XVIII met Napoleon and his soldiers in Grenoble, Napoleon proclaimed “Soldiers! If there is one among you who wishes to kill his emperor, he can do so. Here I am”; to which the military responded “vive l’emperour!” The massive disdain amongst the disheartened military towards Louis XVIII was quickly turned into action as the military and peasants, facing massive unemployment, decided to act upon their anger and side with their old emperor who embodied the ideals of the Revolution. Napoleon was a general that cared for his other generals and wished to gain support and legitimacy from them before them before he reclaimed the throne. Evidence of this can further be seen in Napoleon’s will, as he granted five families over 100,000 francs because their loved one was a general that perished under Napoleon’s reign.

As word reached Paris of Napoleon’s return and rally towards the city, a series of anti-Bourbon riots ensued. Napoleon soon reached Paris and took back the city “without a shot being fired or any blood spilled.” On March 1st, 1815 Napoleon made a speech to the soldiers and peasants in France. Napoleon made a speech explaining to them that he has returned and now order and what the soldiers want will be acknowledged and kept. He also cleverly used phrases that appealed to the soldiers like “Soldiers! In my exile I have heard your voice.” Napoleon further proclaims “Put on the tricolor cockade; you wore it in our great days…then will you be able to claim the credit of your deeds.” Napoleon also made other proclamations asserting that “the throne of the bourbons was illegitimate.” The main theme behind his speech was to rally the troops and establish a military foundation with the troops and reveal the fact that he is back and that France will regain its prominence in Europe. It was produced to solidify the doubts in soldiers and generals heads that Napoleon was going to restore France with order and pride.
One must also keep in mind that the theory of nationalism was a new concept and the people of France were adhering to the belief of French superiority. As Napoleon pandered to the idea of nationalism in the speech, the people and soldiers rallied around his cries who then eventually consented to his authority. This speech marked the essence of Napoleon’s brilliance to appeal to the masses and ultimately led to his reclamation of the throne. By September 1st of 1815 he was able to gather a trained army of 800,000 men and his legitimacy was enormously greater than Louis XVIII.

Although Napoleon would soon be ousted and sent to exile once again by the Allied powers, his return and escape from Elba was a great accomplishment nonetheless. Each of these dynamics are essential for understanding the major reasons as to how Napoleon came back as emperor. Napoleon’s exile to Elba was not enough to stop this overly ambitious military genius from restoring himself back to power. With the French government unable to fulfill parts of Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon’s personal vendettas, the location of Elba, the lack of supervision on the island itself, and the surrounding ambiance of discontent among the French people for the Bourbon Restoration, Napoleon was able to escape from Elba and reclaim his throne and his legitimacy as rightful emperor of France.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Upon further Investigation...Marxism and Capitalism

Capitalism and Marxism are two very distinct theories and societal philosophies that have one very common thread; they are both inherently built around a system of class structure and the acquiring of capital. From the inception of these competing philosophies these two theories have shaped politics, philosophy, history, economics, social structures, and systems of governance in more ways than man can even fathom. In this regard I will define the terms were are speaking with, attempt to explain the origins of each theory, explore the differing tenets and precepts of these two belief systems, distinguish between the social and economic variations of the two conjectures, while examining the morality of each position, and finally provide criticisms of both philosophies. (Although explaining Marxism is a critique of capitalism)

It would be remiss of me to begin without defining both capitalism and Marxism in the broadest sense of terms, seeing as though there are schools of thought on both sides that project a certain magnitude to the actual belief systems. In Capitalism by David McCord Wright, capitalism is defined as "a system in which on average, much the greater portion of economic life, and particularly of net new investment, is carried on by private units under the conditions of active and substantially free competition, and avowedly, at least, under the incentive of a hope for profit." In short, capitalism presupposes that in an open society the ends are achieved by the individuals, or rather by voluntary organizations of individuals. Marxism is the reaction to such a system of capitalism, and advocates revolution of the proletariat in order to overthrow the capitalistic machinery of the state. Both systems have extreme complexities and components and each a reference point in history.

Where and when did capitalism begin? The earliest forms of capitalism were widely known as "mercantilism", which could be defined as the distribution of goods in order to realize a profit. This practice gradually evolved into an economic theory called capitalism.

Although the word itself did not come into existence until socialists coined it in the mid-nineteenth century, the principles of capitalism were first published in The National Gain, authored by Finnish parliamentarian Anders Chydenius in 1765, 11 years prior to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. However, Adam Smith is widely known as the founder of capitalism today. Smith used the phrase "economic individualism" rather than capitalism to describe this philosophy. Capitalism was seen as "the obvious and simple system of natural liberty" and it began under the idea that the state was built solely to protect individual rights and freedoms. The ingenious of Smith was that he had already written a rationale for the economic system of capitalism well before the industrial revolution had even begun. Smith had uncovered a set of principles which accepted man as the "self-starter" that was good for any productive society.

The application of capitalism became present after the American Revolution commenced as the founders created a government built ideally for the economic system of capitalism. The government was there merely to protect the natural rights of man which were, "life, liberty, and property." After Smith died in 1790, the industrial revolution quickly swept America and Great Britain by storm, and the seeds of the early unfettered capitalism were taking shape. It was not until Karl Marx in 1848, with the publishing of Communist Manifesto that society had not seen such a serious and radical philosophical critique of capitalism.

As stated before, Marxism was a philosophical and economic system which was promoted as a reaction to the unfettered capitalism of the early 19th century. Writing in London in 1848 Marx published the Communist Manifesto which served as the rallying cry and justifications as to why revolution of the proletariat should soon commence. Before this publication, French intellectuals were criticizing capitalism and advocating socialism, which goes to show many that the radical ideas against the system were flourishing. The drive for Marx to publish his ideas was heavily influenced by his deep disdain for the "anarchic" economy which capitalism perpetuates, and his desire to initiate a "planned economy" for the state.

The history of Marxism does not translate into the wide misnomer of the history of communism; the system of government which failed in the USSR and China. Rather one must understand that Marxism was modified heavily by these two systems and arguably was distorted to the extremity of creating authoritarian monsters such as Stalin, Kruschev or Mao. The strictest interpretation of Marxism has really never been implemented thus there is no real empirical evidence to use to dispute Marxism as a theory of governance.

So what are the basic tenets of the economic faction of these two philosophies? The basic foundation for the economic theory of capitalism is that the accumulation of the means of production is placed into the hands of a few individuals. This accumulated wealth is called "capital" and the people who possess the capital are "capitalists." The next step in capitalism involves the productive labor of the worker to be transferred into wage labor. That is to say that the value the worker creates will not be for the product they are making, but for the wages they are given by the capitalist. The division of labor then enables capitalism to increase productivity as it lowers the skill and wages of the worker. As an economic theory, capitalism embraces the free markets and the freedom of the capitalist to attain a profit by arguing that the worker has no inherent risk involved in losing money. The capitalist takes a risk with his money; therefore he is entitled to make the profit that is owed to him.

Another support system for capitalism lies within the social philosophy and morality of such a theory. Wilhelm Ropke argues that the logic of capitalism is an intrinsically peaceful exchange between two consenting parties and because of this it is an exchange which exerts two moral parties. Within the free market, which capitalism embraces, people are able to put their ideas into practice and start a business if they wish, and it is up to the market if they succeed or fail. It promotes individual liberty and self-autonomy as the cornerstone of human existence. Capitalism offers the individual worker to attain high status in society and pursue their own goals and dreams with what they choose to make of their individual liberty. Robert Tracinski points out that "the fundamental characteristics that make capitalism practical, its respect for the freedom of the mind and for the sanctity of the individual, are also profound moral ideals."

Marxism as an economic theory takes upon a rather different approach. To fully understand the theory of Marxism, it is required that we first must understand Marx’s view of history. Marx views history as dialectical. That is to say that Marx views history as a "process of change that took place through the coexistence of two contradictory sides, their conflict and their fusion into a new category." Capitalism was a synthesis of the bourgeois fighting against the thesis of feudalism and for the antithesis of mercantilism.

Marxism argues that the value of a product being produced is nothing less than the amount of labor necessary for it to be manufactured. The capitalist in turn only pays the worker a wage and thus accumulates the surplus value, or profit, of what his laborer, according to Marx, has rightfully produced. This is the crux and main problem Marx has with capitalism; the class stratification produces an inequality amongst men and the bourgeois class is able to profit from the proletariat. For Marx, the accumulation of capital for some will often cause accumulation of poverty for many. Marx’s says the "accumulation at one pole is simultaneously accumulation of misery, work torture, slavery, ignorance, brutalization, and moral degeneracy at the other."

According to Marxism, the evolution of capitalism would lead to a dismal state of unemployment and exploitation and a severe economic crisis would ensue. Since Marx was writing Das Kapital in London, he envisioned the most advanced capitalist society to be the first system to be taken over by the proletariat. In fact, Marx’s ideal place for revolution was no other place but London. The finality of Marxism was to have a "dictatorship of the proletariat" that "was to centralize all instruments of production into the hands of the state" that would then increase productivity at a rapid rate. The endgame of Marxism is a kind of social and economic utopian ideal between the state and the workers producing the goods in harmony. As a result Marxism hopes to create a classless society in which the doctor gets paid the same as the janitor.

The interesting point about Marxism is that Marx’s himself never attempts to argue that capitalism is unjust. In fact, he even attempts to distance his scientific socialism with the utopian socialists of the day who argued that capitalism was unjust. Marx did however, use phrases such as "exploitation of the proletariat" which does have a connotative meaning of someone wronging someone else of their humanity. Yet Marx does acknowledge that "exchange is by no means an injustice." Thus many Marxists have argued that capitalism is simply not the best way for humankind to live, implying that humanity could be better served through a collective ownership that does not diminish freedom or abuse the men of society. The practice of such a society attempts to summon a utopian society where the synchronization of mankind is perfectly in tune and the eradication of poverty, unemployment, racism, sexism, and pollution will be the end result.

Since I have already outlined a Marxist critique of capitalism, I will now address the many criticisms of Marxism itself. One criticism of Marxism says that the problem of Marxism’s idea of history is that in thinks in terms of the material world and not the world of ideas, which ultimately "disvalues the idea of democracy." Using this criticism, many say that Marxism has given rise to totalitarian states. It is interesting to note that the implementation of Marxism by Lenin in the 1917 Bolshevik revolution was merely one interpretation of Marxism. That is to say that Lenin ultimately viewed the application of Marxism as the "dictatorial seizure of power by an exclusively revolutionary vanguard party of the proletariat, and taking the bourgeoisie’s and aristocracy’s property by expropriation, the denial of their political power and rights, and subsequently their death." Although it is clear that Marx would not have supported this, it does say something about the interpretation of such philosophy, and that maybe the practical application of Marxism is something which is unattainable.

If we examine Marxism from the Communist Manifesto’s perspective, we clearly see that Marx gives rather specific instructions as to how the dictator of the proletariat should govern the state. He says "the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class, to win the battle for democracy." This is somewhat troubling for Lenin however. Lenin believes that since democracy was a state form, and Marx believed in the abolition of the state then democracy must perish as well. Thus a dictatorship of the proletariat commenced and soon gave rise to even more malcontent for the people then the system below. For example, the interpretation of Marxist thought has led to a restriction on personal freedom, expression of opinion, the free exchange of ideas only to achieve a utopian end of pure communism. With communism giving rise to dictators restricting these liberties, the application of Marxist thought is often seen as giving rise to a different form of dictatorship and oppression.

There is also a very interesting critique of the way in which Marx views history. If one were to apply the theory of dialectics to Marxism, then we would thus assume that the Hegelian theory of history was the thesis and the Marxist theory of history was its antithesis. But if the Hegelian theory views history as a change in ideas, and Marx argues that he is ignoring class struggle and economic order, then where is the synthesis between these two theories? If Marx truly support his own theory of dialectics then all evolving theories and change must be a synthesis of two other forms, therefore this could negate him from even believing that pure Marxism is correct.

In conclusion, capitalism and Marxism are philosophies which presuppose different tenets of human nature and from this they draw their differing conclusions as to how society should be run. Although they have much that is different, it is true to say that they have much in common with one another. Through the histories of each of these two concepts and the fundamental purposes for which they were composed, highlights, arguably, the two most influential philosophies of our day. Capitalism and Marxism are two theories that have stood the test of time in the relevance of intellectual discussion.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Socrates Was a Badass

The Trial and Death of Socrates authored by the “other great philosopher” Plato, has come under my recent inspection and inquiry after taking about a year off from my initial encounter with the book. Comprised of four distinct dialogues, Socrates protrudes the utmost courage and superiority within his grandiose dialectical method of examination accompanied by his interlocutors. In modern day language, by all accounts and understanding of the English idiom, Socrates would be considered no less than a swanky badass. A badass with words, with phrases, with quips and barbs, and most importantly, with convincing Plato that nobody ever prevailed against any of his contentions thus continually leaving the futile interlocutor walking away head down, disgusted and shamed.

The first and second dialogues represent little importance to me than do the third and fourth dialogues. The first being Euthyphro, a dialogue in which Socrates plays upon one of his most infamous techniques in plastering the raconteur of the passage, Euthyphro, by invoking his Socratic irony. In the end, like all Hollywood movies, the good guy, Socrates, eventually makes the bad guy look like a fool. The second dialogue called The Apology, consisting of Socrates playing ignorant once again, casts all pretensions to human knowledge into uncertainty. As the wisest of them all, Socrates proclaims that he is posited better off the less he thinks he knows. This way he continues to foster discourse amongst truth and will not stop attaining knowledge as an indignant pretentious prick would. (Yes, I am talking about myself)

Now, onto the reason I decided to write this less than amusing and less than interesting article. Hopefully, you have not fallen asleep at the title. The third dialogue, called Crito and starring Crito, is probably the most thought-provoking dialogue ever to be written by Plato. (There are a total of 32 Socratic dialogues) The entire dialogue takes place in Socrates’ prison cell, where he awaits his Athenian court death sentence. Crito comes upon Socrates cell and informs him that he has arranged for Socrates to escape from the prison and has planned his exile in a distant city away from Athens. After a plethora of arguments trying to convince Socrates to leave, Socrates seems to be unconvinced of Crito’s polemics and further questions if what Crito asserts is the right thing to do.

Enter badass. Socrates charges into his elenchus and leaves Crito dumbfounded and without words in the end. Socrates says that he must stay to carry out the state’s sentence, because ultimately he has consented to the rules of the state, and leaving now because the rules inconvenience him, would be a dereliction of duty. He poses the absolutely brilliant question to Crito which is: “Do you imagine that a State can subsist and not be overthrown, in which the decisions of law have no power, but are set aside and overthrown by individuals?" In other words, if individual citizens decide to obey the laws of the city based solely on their private circumstances, then there can be no city and laws at all. Although he issues three other arguments in this discussion, this question is a tough question to answer if you support Crito’s proposition. Crito then concedes without further questioning Socrates’ supremacy and Socrates remains awaiting his fate.

With Socrates accepting his fate, we now turn to his final conversations before his death in Phaedo. Here we can examine empirical evidence that remains consistent with my intellectually charged thesis that Socrates was indeed, nothing less than a badass. It is in this dialogue that we find out that Socrates was not repining death whatsoever. In fact, he even goes so far to declare that since death is merely the separation of the body and soul, that every philosopher, at Death’s doorstep, should gladly accept his fate. In other words, since the philosopher holds true the idea that the body corrupts the soul and that the body merely infringes upon the learning and knowledge of the soul, that the separation will free the mind and give the philosopher what he always has hoped to have. Socrates accepts death on the premise that the body has been a hindrance to his knowledge search thus death will enable him to further himself with merely his soul.

A man who plays ignorance to defeat his cohorts in a Columbo style charade; a man who dabbles in innocuous fun by claiming to know nothing at all yet spreading more wisdom than Michael Moore spreads lies; a man who altruistically accepts death on the principle of keeping the state intact; and a man who willingly accepts death because his body has impeded himself from acquiring total reason and virtue, is nothing other than a mother fucking badass. Thank you, now go read some Nietzsche.