In Platos Crito, Socrates states that the authority of the state is beyond citizens and therefore they must seek to obey its laws and regulations. Socrates engages Crito by directing to him personified questions, where Crito gets confused in the process of the argument. Crito visits Socrates in order to propose to him an escape plan away from prison. By so doing, Socrates would escape the death penalty the judges had ordered against him. Socrates turned down the offer because it was against his conscience. He instead, preferred to commit himself to the will of God. This study seeks to reflect more on this conversation and the arguments advanced therein. The purpose of the speech of the laws and Critos political opinions will be considered. Other aspects for instance, social contract theory, common good and the theme of examined life will also be considered.

Purpose of the Speech of the Laws
It is a dialogue between Plato and Crito in regard to laws. Socrates invites Crito to imagine the scenario of a truant before the authorities and the laws governing them. The authorities, basing their arguments on the founded laws, interrogate Socrates in regard to the case brought against him. The authorities ask him to substantiate on his intentions to overdo the government and all its legal structures (Jowett 1). They want Socrates to verify his course of action. It seems that Socrates brings out a rebellion against the law or better still, Socrates is trying to underscore the dictum that law is for man and not man for the law. He brings into Critos attention that in deed a state can subsist even if the laws are powerless and ineffective. In fact, Crito is let to think over it and in turn share his views in it (Jowett 1). Socrates further argues that the citizens can obliterate the set laws and resort to an anarchical way of life. It is beyond imagination to fathom the gravity of evil there can be if laws are set aside. In this regard, Socrates invites Crito to acknowledge that the laws can be defective and hence confer unjust measures to its objects. The object of the law is the individual person who has a duty to obey the law.

As indicated earlier, Socrates symbolizes an element of rebellion against the law. However, it is also important to note that Socrates revered the laws very much such that he declined to escape from the prison. In this regard, one should not jump into concluding that Socrates is turning out to be unruly. Socrates brings out superiority of the law when he mentions that one ought to abide by the sentence of the state (Jowett 1). Socrates argues further that the law dictates the destiny of all. It regulates marriage it regulates the system of nurture it regulates the education of children and their bring-up and so on and so forth. In fact Socrates notes that the dictates of the laws lured his father to train him in music. Basically, from this reflection, it can be perceived that the law is somehow a god to humans who abide by it. Further to that, it can be argued that nothing else but total submission to the law is the real vocation of man. Now, from the dictum that law is for man and not man for the law is affirmed contrary to its proper connotation that law is for man and not man for the law. Socrates therefore invites Crito to reflect on the possibility of errors in the laws. In other words, Socrates invites Crito to appreciate the fact that the laws cannot be absolute and that they are subject to criticism and amendments.

Socrates and Crito continue discussing on the superiority of the law. Socrates is focusing on the general understanding of the law and invites Crito to emancipate his commitment to the laws. Socrates is bringing in the element of rationality in law. That, let there be a rational grounding in the law. It is an invitation to transcend the statutes and let reason guide the laws.  Whenever an individual acts rationally she can be said to act in freedom and in reason. This is very important as it will be featured more in the process of this study. The law admits not any discussion it is either that one is for it or one is not for it. In case one is not for it then she can find a place away from the laws, and on the other hand, if one is for it then she must abide by it with no conditions whatsoever. we advise every Athenian, that if he does not like us when she attains ample maturity, she may go where she deems appropriate and should carry all hisher belongings. No laws will bar himher to take leave to a place of choice. Still, to all of those who dislike us and instead want to take leave to another colony or city may do so. But to all those who adore us there is no option but to conform to all the commands therein, period (Jowett 1).

In general, it can be seen that Socrates is questioning the sanctity of the law as such. He feels that there is no option but to follow the dictates of the law. Crito affirms that there is no option but to comply. However, Socrates concludes that he intends to be guided by the intimations of the Gods will. It is important to note what it meant when Socrates purports that he will be guided by the intimations of the will of God.

Notably, Socrates uses a lot of personification in this speech. It brings out the conversation an individual will have with a fellow individual and the agreement an individual will have with a fellow individual. The clear indication that one should not take advice of all his friends is implied especially when Socrates refers to arguments as his friends. Only sound friends are to be listened to. The use of personification on the other hand, analogically brings out all political and ethical issues as an interaction between two individuals who are friends. Therefore, their complexity is as simple as personal matters except that they are geared towards the state and its constitution.  In other words, the object of political and ethical matters is the state and its constitution, while the object of mutual individual matters is that friend.

Critos political opinions
The general and widely accepted interpretation of Platos Crito is that it is a compendium of primordial principles about government. The discussion in regard to laws is believed to be the classic defense of the obligation to comply with the law even in situations where it confers unjust verdicts to its objects. Law, therefore, remains sovereign in spite of its defective nature. Or better still there is nothing like unjust laws, as all laws are just, it does not matter the impact it might have to the person.
All laws should be upheld first because they are unjust and on the other hand, should be obeyed despite being unjust. They are obeyed because they are duly mandated and enacted laws. In this regard, the question to obey the law or not should not be quelled or determined by their being just or unjust they should be obeyed as laws and as they are in themselves (Rex 1). This can be linked to the Kantian believe that duty for dutys sake.

By and large, the Plato dialogues, Crito, the overall tone is the dynamics of the so called political obligation. As indicated above Socrates chooses to remain in Athens, which has well-grounded principles of constitutional government. On the hand, it is believed that there is an absurdity in his agreement to conform to the unjust law (Rosen 307). There are attempts to indicate that the dialogue not only reflects a compendium of first principles in relation to the government but instead, a careful look at the argument brings out friendship and beneficence between Socrates and Crito, Athens, and philosophy. As such, the basis for the warm conversation between the Socrates and Crito is because of friendship. In fact, friendship becomes one major issue that Socrates ought to look into (Rosen 307).

Crito concurs with Socrates in that not all views are of equal substance and value. There are those opinions that are sound and valid and there are those that are flawed and defective. Crito further ascertains that an individual should follow the sound directives of the wise and abandon those of the foolish which are defective and flawed. The body of thought in the wise is built by relevant authorities for the same. This element of thought is highly upheld in logic and as such, articulated well in the fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam which means appealing to the wrong authorities. Consider the following scenario a person seeks to find a lasting solution to his mental health. Instead, he goes to a computer programmer for advice and medical prescription. This is ridiculous and very inconsistent, so to speak. No doubt that he needs to see a doctor or a psychiatrist, name them. Consider another example a group of people sit together to discuss laws in the House of Commons or in the Senate. Some of them are truck drivers others are professional journalists others are psychologists and others are business men just to mention a few.

In this case, it is very important not to go by any advice that is not from competent authorities. All should let themselves be guided by the well-trained experts and not the vice-versa. It can be argued and justifiably so that Crito is acting in bad faith in worrying or panicking because of the public opinion on matters of justice. He should focus on the teachings of the wise about justice. Socrates regards it as an issue out of context in the argument when he suggests that despite them being ignorant, the public has the authority to manipulate the citizens even putting them to death. For Socrates, what is important is not what one ought to do but it is more of what one ought to do to live well. The worries should never be based on somebody else regardless of his status. Things should be sought as ends in themselves, period. Remember what has been mentioned above that the aspect of friendship is threefold where one of it is Socrates friendship with philosophy. Philosophy seeks the truth about reality the inherent meaning of things knowledge unprejudiced and without bias. For example, Socrates intention to escape prison should be illegitimate not because it is prohibited in law but because doing so is just and an honorable thing to do.

Socrates believes that no one can do evil in the light of hisher conscience. No one should consciously commit an injustice. The aspect of retributive justice cannot stand in such a given context. For example if one injures a person, the retaliation might be injuring that person in return. This is injustice. Now, the difficulty here is how to reconcile injustice with retributive justice in the modern world. Therefore, if Socrates escapes prison without the consent of the state, he will be infringing on the agreement he made with the state to abide by its laws and regulations. This is an injury to the state, an argument Crito does not understand at all (SparkNotes 1).

Social Contract Theory
One of the major issues in any political framework is the implication of the relationship that exists between the individual and the state. Plato argues that all dwell in a state and benefit from its laws and therefore all have an obligation to obey its laws. It has been noted earlier that Socrates refuses to escape from prison so that he can abide by the laws of the state. He even considers it an injury to the state. Funny enough, he further refuses to pay a fine in that there is a higher value to it. He seems to stand by his moral convictions and ideologies.

Social Contract Theory regards the persons moral andor political duty and obligation as dependent to an accord among them to build a society. It is actually on these grounds that Socrates affirms his decision to stay in prison and not heed to Critos offer.  It is however important to note that the notion of Social Contact Theory is associated with the present connotations in morality and politics. Thomas Hobbes is the major proponent in these developments (Philosophy Encyclopedia 1). Here, the citizens agree to work together and live in harmony for the sake of mutual benefit among themselves. In such a contract certain natural rights are upheld, certain liberties are regulated, duties, the assumptions of various duties, and the involvement of the collective exercise of certain powers (Constitution Society 1).

Looking at what had been mentioned earlier, law is for man and not man for the law. Man is not the object of the law but its subject. Socrates somehow, tried to understand whether laws can be defective or flawed. Further to these, the refusal of Socrates to escape prison clearly is a total surrender to the law. Notably, this is an aspect of the accord that can exist between the citizens and the government today. It is also important to recall what had been mentioned earlier that one ought not to seek advice or counsel from incompetent authority. Among the examples stated above in that a senate or parliament or House of Commons may be comprised of many categories of people and with different professions. Also consider the view of Plato above in regard to the accord. All these flashbacks are meant to lay ground to the next reflection here below on the political society in the modern world.

Socrates asserts that the maintenance of harmony means the individual to fulfill hisher moral obligation by doing all that the laws of the state dictate. This allegiance is embedded in the fact that there is an accord. The individual takes pleasure in by being a member of the state and therefore she reciprocates by obeying its decrees.

Political Society Today
There are many instances when people have been arrested and put to jail due to their malicious and criminal acts. This is important. The reason why different states apprehend criminals or rather the reason why a government is able to ensure a just, secure and sovereign state is all because of its laws both as spelled out in the constitution and in the penal code. There would be no institutions like the executive, the judiciary and the legislative if the state has no ideal legal structures and objectives. In fact, the heart of every government is the law, period. Just like how humans cannot do without a heart so does a government without laws. Again, the complex role played by the heart in the human body is attributable to the role a constitution plays in a given country. In this regard, one will concur with the alleged belief that citizens should protect and abide by the laws of the state at all times.

However, the basis of law is reason itself. It cannot be upheld that a given law is the maxim according to which human beings act, no. A society should base its legal andor moral statutes in the light of good and sound reason. It should not be the case that civilizations succumb to slavery or better still, no one should seem as if she is a slave of the law. Today, due process of the law is very important, very important in deed. Due process is a vital, constitutional assurance and an affirmation that all legal proceedings will be just and fair and that one will be notified of the proceedings and a chance to be heard will be provided accordingly. No government whatsoever can obliterate once life, liberty andor property not outside the principles of habeus corpus. Further to this, no law deemed unreasonable, arbitrary or erratic shall be considered worthy to be practiced (Law Dictionary 1). The aspect of justice and fairness is very relevant in due process. Therefore, one may ask did Socrates understand due process of the law inasmuch as he wished to live up to the decrees of the state All that can be seen is a person who is willing to die merely because the laws of the state say so. Again, is the case of Socrates just and fair In other words, how can one justify his death and from a legal point of view Due process is among the pillars of a social contract. That the laws should not be taken for granted and for the sake of it.

Today, it is impressive to witness the vast legislative processes in making amendments to laws that are not proper and practical. This is the rationale for democracy and deliberations in the legislative order. Again, was it not for democracy there would be no electro processes and change of governments. This is because people would be subjected to one-rule which they must adhere to in seucula saeculorum. In deed, social contract could imply dictatorship. This is well illustrated in the doctrine of Leviathan as stated by Thomas Hobbes.

It is impressive to note the on-going law reforms in different states. The most impressive thing is that reforms are been institutionalized. For instance, the New South Wales Law Reform Commission is on record in proposing changes to the New South Wales law. It is the first and static law reform agency ever in Australia (Lawlink 1). These amendments confirm Socrates worst fears that in deed law can be defective and flawed. By logical implication, if the laws were not flawed then there would be no need to amend them.

It was demonstrated earlier that the government can have incompetent personnel and this can undermine its expertise in running the affairs of the country. In the wider sense, the need for checks and balances comes in to regulate the potential breaches of the social contract. It is true that people may give mandate to a leader of their choice because of his good and upright personality. However, she may lack very important skills in managing some functions of the government. In this regard, checks and balances should be reinstated. Today, the government in most states is comprised of the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. This delegation of functions helps in preventing too much power or responsibility to a particular entity since it may lack expedite in other sectors.

Common Good
A social Contract that does not foster common good is null and void. For Socrates the reason why human beings need to come together in a bid to form a state first and fore most is because they have certain fundamental needs which cannot be met by one individual alone but through community building. In a well managed state, all individuals are able to meet all these needs. The healthy state meets the basic needs, especially food, clothing and shelter. These needs are more of bodily needs. The suitable satisfaction requires that every man get involved in only one art. In other words every person goes about all hisher business for the sake of others and other hand, others go about their business for the sake of himher.

Common good is founded on good laws. There cannot be any fair society if its laws are unjust. In other words, common good builds in good laws. Therefore a political system that operates with bad laws will never achieve common good. Common good extends to the realm of rights and freedoms. In other words, to violate a law is tantamount to violation of a right. It is argued that where there is law there will one find morality and that where there is law there will one find a right. Therefore, communities ground their rights and freedoms on the precepts of law. Consider the following case. The constitution of United States asserts that all children have access to health and other medical covers andor life insurance policy. In this light, the children have a legal right to health and other medical covers. This right is conferred to them by the state, there it becomes a legal duty to every citizen is ensuring that no child is deprived of health care.

Examined Life
Socrates asserted that it is not what one ought to do but instead it is what one ought to do to live well. Socrates famous dictum that unexamined life is not worth living is very applicable in todays society. The most crucial issues a person should address are a self reflection on who one really is the rationale behind hisher being or better still, why one is what she is and the aim of his life. Living aimlessly should be discouraged among the citizens. It is the duty of the government to provide a leadership that helps people discover themselves and live according to their full potential. In this way there will be a stable working nation with citizens of adequate self-esteem and above all, self-actualized citizens.

Socrates gives three reasons for not escaping from prison.  He argues that he cannot put at stake the common good of those in Athens who are willing to help him escape, since the authorities will apprehend them and punish them. Socrates finds no value in it. The second point is that he is not ready to disobey the state that he has gained from and its government. He is not ready to breach the laws. And lastly, Socrates prefers death rather than going into exile. He cannot return a wrong-doing with a wrong-doing. To him, it is the injustice of the highest order.

I strongly agree that citizens of any given state should support the government in all its endevours. Even if the government may not deliver to the expectations of the citizens per se this should not be a reason to go wild. However, the functions of the government should be checked and regulated through good and competent checks and balances. I also concur that incompetent authorities should not be asked for advice a person seeking guidance should always look for qualified personnel to do that. The government should ensure that all professionals are well licensed and accorded appropriate accreditation so that their practice is not feigned. Yes, unexamined life is not worth living


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