Front Page Titles (by Subject) Plato\'s Republic as a Political Dystopia - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1979, vol. 2, No. 3
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Plato's Republic as a Political Dystopia - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1979, vol. 2, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Plato's Republic as a Political Dystopia
“Comedy in Callipolis: Animal Imagery in the Republic.” The American Political Science Review 72 (September 1978): 668–901.
Plato's dialogue, the Republic has often been taken as presenting Plato's vision of his own ideal state. The Greek name by which the state is called in the dialogue, Callipolis (“the Beautiful City”), at first sight supports this view. In fact, however, Plato's intention in the dialogue was to minimize the role of politics: he presented Callipolis as a city fit only for animals. In this way the customary portrayal of Plato as an enemy of freedom can be reversed: he was in fact a proponent of growth through an inward process involving the social rather than through external action.
Much of the Republic is organized in the form of a comedy, which in the Greek usage implies that the weakness of human nature is stressed. Men are presented in ridiculous fashion, and their pretensions are unmasked. This is particularly evident in the work of Aristophanes, whose comedies strongly influenced the Republic. For example, Aristophanes' The Birds depicts a utopian political society founded, as one might expect from the title, by birds.
Laughter is a frequent theme in the Republic: as Socrates presents the main features of Callipolis, he often laughs or evokes laughter in his audience. In contrast, in the ideal city itself, almost all laughter is banned.
Even more important is the frequent use of animal imagery in Plato's dialogue. The guardian class's breeding policies are compared to animal breeding, and the politician is likened to a shepherd whose concern for his sheep's welfare ends in butchering or exploiting them for his own ends. These references strongly support viewing the Callipolis as something to be avoided.
Plato's actual views on politics may be best discerned in other dialogues, such as the Gorgias. He believed in the inner cultivation of the soul. He contrasted self-development with political action in the city, to the detriment of politics.