PLATO’S “NOBLE LIE”
 
In "The Republic," Plato described a city whose inhabitant were
organized into categories: The Rulers,  Auxiliaries, Farmers, etc. The
Rulers, he said, would be chosen  from the military elite (called
Guardians) because they were good at shepherding and caring for the
interest of the community. The Auxiliaries would be Guardians in
training.
 
The Rulers, Plato said, must tell the people of the city “The Noble
Lie“--that the categories of Rules, Auxiliaries, Farmers, etc. was not
due to circumstances within the people's control, upbringing, or
education, but because of God's intervention. God, the Lie went, had
put gold, silver, and iron into each person’s soul, and those metals
determined where a person's station was in life was.
 
The Rulers told the people of the city that if their own children were
found with bronze or iron in their soul, the child would drop down the
ranks accordingly. And if a farmer’s child was born with gold in his
soul, he would rise up to the Guardian level. The Rulers also said,
people had different metals in their bloodstream, and therefore could
not intermarry.
 
The Lie is necessary, Plato argues, in order to keep a stable social
structure. In Plato’s mind, The Noble Lie is a religious lie that’s
fed to the masses to keep them under control and happy with their
situation in life.
 
Plato did not believe most people were smart enough to look after
their own and society’s best interest. The few smart people of the
world needed to lead the rest of the flock, Plato said. And The Noble
Lie had to continue.