free booknotes online

Help / FAQ




<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-Utopia by Sir Thomas More
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version

Philosopher - Councilors

More is very impressed by Hythloday's account of his dinner at the Cardinal's, but he tells the mariner that it is only further proof that he (Hythloday) should enter the service of the state. Plato, the ancient philosopher, had said that kings would rule best when they were philosophers, and he wonders what the world had come to when philosophers would not even give king's advice.

Hythloday laughs and maintains that no king will listen to good advice. Every king, sure in his own right, would only do what he desires. He then gives a contemporary example. The King of France wishes to increase his territory and conquer Italy. His councilors, instead of dissuading him, abet and encourage him. They help the king in all that he needs to do to conquer Italy. They do not tell him to rule his own kingdom properly and not meddle with other countries. War, Hythloday says, is abominable as it kills a large number of people, destroys lands and makes kings paupers. Yet kings revel in it. He gives an example of a situation in a country called Nolandia where the king had to decide between the one of two kingdoms that were in his jurisdiction. His people complained because he was not giving enough attention to either one and they both suffered from his divided attention. Yet for most kings, war is considered glorious and if Hythloday were to advise the French king against it, he would be only laughed at.

More agrees with Hythloday, who then gives another example of how a wise man's council will fall on deaf ears. A king in need of money will do anything to raise it. His councilors, to please him, devise various methods to make the king's schemes legal. In effect, the king illegally taxes his subjects and his councilors help him to make it legal. No minister would dare tell the king that he is wrong and if he does so he would be considered a traitor. Right advice is often unpalatable to kings who want only flatterers around them. Any man who tells the king a few harsh truths or advises him to change his life will become very unpopular. This, Hythloday says, is very unfortunate. Kings forget that they are the shepherds who should feed their flocks before they themselves eat.


Levying very heavy taxes makes the people bankrupt. This is very dangerous as it can lead to rebellion. A king ruling over a rich country is safe because the people will not want to change their comfortable lives. The opposite is also true. Poor people, who have nothing to lose, often rebel against their masters. A king who robs his people becomes a jailer. It is the king's responsibility to set a good example in every way possible. He should obey the laws, avoid ostentation, hurt no one and be strong and brave. He should not give any opportunity for anything wrong to occur.

In Happiland, a place not far from Utopia, the king is bound by law not to increase his wealth. He could only have a certain fixed amount of money. After discussing the reasons for this limited income, Hythloday concludes if he were to discuss these issues in a king's court it would fall on deaf ears. Philosophy, in reality, has no place among kings.

Though somewhat convinced, More still feels that moral philosophy is important to kings. If all men behaved as they should, the world would be a better place. It is not possible for the world to be good unless men are good. Hythloday agrees in theory, but in practice he knows it cannot be accomplished. Men naturally head more towards evil than good. Certainly nobody will listen to him and he may end up becoming senile.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-Utopia by Sir Thomas More
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   

All Contents Copyright PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 8:53:43 AM