This semester I had an extraordinary group in English 1A; reading through their timed final essays yesterday was euphoric. (There is nothing like being a teacher. The salary may be low, but the students make up for that a hundred times over.) Jonathan Montiel has been the first to agree to share:
Following Our Talents makes for an Ideal Society
Becoming president of a nation is a lengthy and arduous process. Over a couple of years, the least of the best are weeded out. In order for our new Commander-in-Chief to be selected, however, a candidate needs the majority of the most “powerful” and biggest states to vote for him/her. Education, know-how, personality and intelligence are some of the prime traits we take into account before casting our ballot. Thousands of years ago, it was dramatically different, but one man wanted to change the process for the better.
In Athens, a Greek philosopher named Socrates saw a better, cleaner and more rewarding system for choosing a king. Being born into royalty doesn’t always guarantee the most competent ruler. Socrates thought it would be best if rulers were chosen based almost solely on intelligence and youth. Socrates never saw his idea come to fruition, most likely because of his lowly position in the city.
His notion applied in other facets of life seems reasonable, however. When going to a doctor’s appointment, you’re hoping you will be greeted by a prompt, educated, straight-A, honor roll kind of physician. Showing up to court, you want a proper, clean, on-the-ball lawyer defending you. A teacher versed in what he or she is teaching always alleviates a lot of stress in an otherwise stress-filled day. In general you want the best to be in your support.
“Ideal society” is a far-fetched pipe dream, but we’d be as close to it as ever possible if everyone found and respected his or her niche. Unfortunately, people often fall into job positions they did not necessarily want to be in. Whether their parents forced them or emblazoned the idea into their minds, guardians frequently are the ones who change the plans. Slinking into work with a monotonous lethargy was never a part of our dreams.
In the end, Socrates’ thoughts are ahead of his time and revolutionary. Following our dreams will be beneficial not only to ourselves, but may set off a healthy chain reaction. With talent, drive and intellect, our dream is just a short-term goal away. And if we are steadfast in that sense, evidence for Socrates’s “only the best and most intelligent” will grow exponentially.
 Summarized prompt: Did Socrates have good reason to believe Athens should compel the best and most intelligent young men to be rulers of the state, and if so, would it be equally proper to compel those well suited to other fields to follow those respective callings? (Jacobus, A World of Ideas. New York: Bedford/St. Martin. 8th ed. 458.)