In Plato’s Republic III, Socrates attempts to identify justice in reference to a political system. Socrates believes justice in a political system is perfect and absolute knowledge because of the class system. He believes in this justice because education and virtue are part of the system. Rulers, also referred to as Guardians in this text, have training and education to know about justice and are given hereditary disposition to resist corruption. He also sees political justice as a harmonic structural body.
Socrates goes on to discuss his belief by describing that all citizens are born from mother earth and not from biological parents. In this way, all citizens come from native soil and are brothers and sisters in this way. This shifts dedication from biological parents to a dedication of traditional loyalty to a native land, or patriotism. When mother earth births its young, they are also deposited with specific metals. The gold souls will go on to be guardians, silver will be auxiliaries and bronze will be producers. This explains why Socrates belief is understandable.
In another way, Socrates is wrong, and that is partially why this section of text is referred to as a noble lie. Although the noble class, or the “well born” are predispositioned for guardian class, this does not always have to be the case. When mother earth is the parent and the training and education happens very early in life, a child of the producer or auxiliary class could be recognized to be destined for the guardian class. This will be apparent at a very early age, according to Socrates. This proves Socrates’ belief of justice to lack absoluteness because citizens could move throughout classes in some cases.
Socrates also discusses the way to perfect the political system, which is to only give gold souls to guardians and not worldly gold to these ruling members of the political system. This is the noble lie, kings and queens know about truth better than other citizens. They do not have purity of soul or perfect knowledge and cannot resist corruption. If this was the case, they would not have to be restricted of worldly possessions, but they need to be to avoid corruption and abuse of power. This is truly the opposite of an ideal state as Socrates discusses initially.
Socrates’ intent was to prove that privilege due to heredity is not fair or just. For a harmonious state, all roles must perform their duties without corruption, which is virtually an impossible task. The ideal state is not ideal at all when corruption exists.