L47 Plato Today
The modern Plato, like his ancient counterpart, has an unbounded contempt for oliticians and statesmen and party leaders who are not university men. He finds politics a dirty game, and only enters them reluctantly because he knows that at the very least he and his friends are better than the present gang. Brought up in the traditions of the ruling classes, he has a natural pity for the common people whom he has learnt to know as servants, and observed from a distance at their work in the factory, at their play in the parks and holiday resorts. He has never mixed with them or spoken to them on equal terms, but has demanded and generally received a respect due to his position and superior intelligence. He knows that if they trust him, he can give them the happiness which they crave. A man of culture, he genuinely despises the self-made industrialist and newspaper-king: with a modest professional salary and a little private income of his own, he regards money-making as vulgar and avoids all ostentation. Industry and finance seem to him to be activities unworthy of gentlemen, although, alas, many are forced by exigencies of circumstance to take some part in them. intellectual, he gently laughs at the superstitions of most Christians, but attends church regularly because he sees the importance of organized religion for the maintenance of sound morality among the lower orders, and because he dislikes the scepticism and materialism of radical teachers. His genuine passions are for literature and the philosophy of science and he would gladly spend all his time in studying them. But the plight of the world compels his unwilling attention, and when he sees that human stupidity and greed are about to plunge Europe into chaos and destroy the most glorious civilization which the world has known, he feels that it is high time for men of good sense and good will to intervene and to take politics out of the hands of the plutocrats of the Right and the woolly-minded idealists of the Left. Since he and his kind are the only representatives of decency combined with intelligence, they must step down into the arena and save the masses for themselves.