Monday, November 28, 2011
The Republic of Plato
Purchased at the Fordham University bookstore.
And yes, it was translated by that Allan Bloom, author of the infamous late-eighties culture-war manifesto, The Closing of the American Mind. That book seemed to crystallize the rage of its era. I remember it being everywhere at the time.
One of my roommates, P., had a copy on his bookshelf. I remember being tempted to read it, knowing full well it would piss me off. I finally pulled it off the shelf after staring at it for months. It didn't really anger me. It made me laugh a little and mostly made me sad that a person of such obvious intellect was so out of touch with reality.
My clearest memory is of his attack on feminism. I don't remember it perfectly, but his argument went something like this:
Men are insecure. They are especially insecure about their penises and by extension (no pun intended) their virility. It is important for the continuance of humanity that men feel confident in their sexual potency. Otherwise, they will not perform well in bed (or, by extension, in life) and humanity as we know it will die out.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon women to make sure that men feel secure in their virility.
Therefore, women should not be sexually liberated, should not have multiple partners, should not have sex before marriage because each of these things undermines a man's confidence in his virility and threaten the existence of the human race.
Therefore, it is important that women stay home, where they are less likely to be tempted by men other than their husbands and less likely to undermine their husbands' virility and threaten the existence of the human race.
Kind of sad and funny and scary all at once.