Socratic food for thought: Anarchy is uncool


Courtesy photo: Wikimedia Commons

Opinion – Death of Socrates

Bijan Choobineh

A new norm I have found through my adventures on campus is that many college students seem to be trying their best to ignore certain laws. For example a few days ago I saw one or two people by the library preaching anarchy; that we should ignore laws. I could not help but talk about this and explain to you boys and girls the problems behind this.

This issue has already been thoroughly explained in philosophy. It was explained by a man name Socrates. In Athens, his philosophical speech was not very popular; in fact it was incredibly annoying because he was constantly correcting everyone. He was finally sent to trial to try and get rid of him. The people of Athens really wanted to exile him, however, he chose to be poisoned. In Socrates’ “Crito,” his friend named Crito comes in to the jail and attempts to convince Socrates to break out of jail and leave. However, Socrates presented an argument that he should not break out because of this very same concept about laws.

Some of you boys and girls may be wondering to yourself “why do these laws need to be followed?” Some people say that a number of laws are completely useless and therefore should not be followed. Another thought is laws should not be followed because people feel the background behind it is stupid, and because people do not want to obey anything. Although these can at certain points be true, they must be followed anyway.

When in jail, Socrates does admit that he feels that his death sentence and imprisonment were unjust. However, he states that he must follow no matter what he thinks about it.

Since Socrates speaks in a somewhat strange matter, I will try to make his points as simple as possible. He basically states that we need to obey all laws because of what society offers you. For example, nobody is really too energetic about paying taxes, but these taxes go to fund stuff like roads and schools that do more good than paying taxes does bad.

His biggest point is about benefits you receive unconsciously, through an idea commonly known as a social contract. For example, we receive a benefit like national security: If an invading country is attacking your city then the government will send the military to protect you. His main point from this example is that when you live in a nation, no matter what economic status you have, you are still protected in many ways. Socrates points out that by living in a nation or city, you are consenting to follow their rules because of the indirect benefit you receive.

All of you boys and girls who believe that laws should be ignored need to think again. Think about all the benefits you are receiving. You have a police and fire department, and even a hospital; all benefits you receive just from living in an area.

So next time you are analyzing a law, think about whether you would be better off following these laws or going on without some societal benefits.