Aristotle Vs. Plato and the Rise of Donald Trump

I teach the views of Aristotle and Plato in my Media Law and Speech classes. The columnist Kathleen Parker demonstrated their relevance in the rise of Donald Trump:

If a citizenry is small in number, narrow, and educated, Aristotle was confident they could govern themselves well, at least in ancient Greece. The leadership in its rhetoric would, Aristotle believed, “be guided by accepted rules of argument and engagement, emphasizing ethos (trust and credibility), pathos (appropriate use of emotion) and logos (logical argument and facts),” Parker wrote.

Plato, who was Aristotle’s mentor, thought otherwise — that rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, in the wrong hands was dangerous and likely to be abused to appeal to people’s base motives. He foresaw the unethical, dishonest uses that a skilled but immoral speaker could put his persuasive powers to, with credulous people eager to believe or buy whatever he was selling.

Is Trump, Parker asked, “the huckster that Plato predicted would someday organize an angry mob into a proud army of anti-intellectual patriots inoculated to facts and reason?”

She answers in the affirmative, and concludes: “The study of rhetoric is essential to an educated populace, lest rising generations fall prey to future demagogues and the perilous fates that await the unwitting.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

Together While Apart and Apart While Together

The Impact of Communications Technology on Families and Friends

Neighborhoods Online

Building Effective Virtual Communities That Enhance Real, Physical Communities


balanced at the brink of wisdom

Slender Threads: 'What If's' of History. Almosts and Alternatives

Thoughts on Communication and Media, Primarily for Students

The Buie Knife

Thoughts on Communication and Media, Primarily for Students

Mentor | Teacher | Writer | Blogger


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

%d bloggers like this: