>>>>”The Republic” poses the fundamental difference
between public good and private good. And it does it in a radical way by trying to subordinate
private good to public good–going so far as to deprive the ruling classes of all private
property, indeed, of any private family life. This raises profound questions about how we
weigh the difference between public good and private good. How do you balance the equation?
It’s easy enough to compare two private goods, but what is the nature, what is the logic
that governs the reasoning when we’re trying to evaluate whether a course of action is
just, if it favors the public over the private good? Because sometimes they’re simply in
conflict. Imagine that we had to pass a tax that would allow us to achieve some public,
some shared good, whether that was building a public library or building a public monument
or a collective project like going to the moon. That would inherently deprive individuals
of their ability to pursue their private good to the fullest extent by taking away their
property for that. How do we weigh those kinds of conflicts in the arena of politics? And,
does it matter whether or not individuals have consented to be a part of that political
society? Does it matter for Plato? Is there any place in Plato’s scheme of justice in
which individuals must consent to be a part of “The Republic”?