An analisys of Socrate’s Apology and its effect on contemporary politics.

The Apology features Socrates as the (in)famous gadfly stinging the lazy horse that was Athens from its dogmatic slumber. From this image, contemporary democrats have fashioned a vision of freedom and liberty steeped in dissent. This tendency raises a troubling question: is all dissent good for democracy? What, after all, is the conceptual distinction between a civil rights march and a neo-Nazi demonstration? If they both unsettle our conventional political beliefs can they also claim equal shares of the Socratic legacy? a. Begin by analyzing the specific instances in which Socrates directly defied the city as recounted in his apologia. What motivated him? b. Next, explore the difference between “good” dissent and “bad” dissent, with Socrates’ action as an example of the former. What makes this “Socratic dissent” so good for a political community?

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