Socrates is one of the eminent philosophers of his time. He was a young boy when the rise to power of Pericles brought on the dawning of the “Golden Age of Greece. ” As a young man, Socrates saw a fundamental power shift, as Pericles–perhaps history’s first liberal politician–acted on his belief that the masses, and not just property-owning aristocrats, deserved liberty ( Linder 2002). Growing to adulthood in this bastion of liberalism and democracy, Socrates somehow developed a set of values and beliefs that would put him at odds with most of his fellow Athenians.
To him, the people should not be self-governing. He denied that citizens had basic virtue necessary to nurture a good society, instead equating virtue with a knowledge unattainable by ordinary people. Striking at the heart of Athenian democracy, he contemptuously criticized the right of every citizen to speak in the Athenian assembly ( Linder 2002). Knowing these, I can say that it is through his ideologies that Athenians felt threatened by him.
Socrates–and his icy logic–came to be seen as a dangerous and corrupting influence, a breeder of tyrants and enemy of the common man. History will attest to this as two of his former pupils (Alcibiades and Critias) led 2 antidemocratic movement against Athenian democracy in two different periods (411-110B. C & 404-403B. C) ( Linder 2002). This consequently led to his trial where he was charged with impiety and corrupting the youth through his teachings. He was then convicted and was sentenced death.
If Socrates was alive today, I think he would be a threat to anyone – at least with his ideologies. His teachings could greatly influence people’s thoughts and somehow post challenge to our present values and traditions. It will just be up to us, as responsible citizens to decipher which of his principles we have to adopt and make it a part of our lives.
Linder, Doug. “The Trial of Socrates: An Account” 2002. www. law. umkc. edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/socrates/socratesaccount. html