Plato argued that the majority of the people are ignorant and ill-informed, that they would always get it wrong. According to him, they are easily swayed by specious rhetoric and tend to be short-sighted, selfish and fickle. They are conditioned to fall prey to skillful manipulators, worship demagogues and are nothing but a collective tyrant. Hence, democracy does not work. Does any of this sound familiar?
The philosopher was speaking of the challenges facing Greece's democracy then, but that what he said 2,500 years ago still rings true - even if to a lesser degree - for present day Thailand is a testament to two things. One, philosophers have better foresight than fortune-tellers, and two, my country needs some serious re-engineering.
An educated populace is required to engineer a healthy democracy. But ranting about Thailand's educational system can be quite redundant. Rote learning, tea money and the obsession with obedience, forms and ceremonies have all been well documented and discussed. The masses are poor and poorly educated. Also Thai education being what it is, how well educated are the educated anyway? There are definitely brilliant minds and success stories in Thailand, but looking at the country as a whole, our screws are quite loose.
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