Pieper makes an interesting point about slavery -- the type of mental slavery that, for the left, isn't a bug but a feature.
For the left promises Liberation by seducing the more weak-minded among us with promises of a type of childish freedom that no state -- by definition -- can confer. And certainly no democratic state can survive if it is constituted of weak and dependent children.
Pieper notes that the "contrast between galley slaves and free men has nothing to do with the social phenomenon of slavery." Rather, "there is a concept of slavery which no social changes, no emancipation of the slaves, can wipe off the face of the earth."
This is especially true in a leftist culture that creates incentives to identify with one's own enslavement instead of taking advantage of liberty. Slavery also means dependence, which for many people is much less persecutory and oppressive than independence. If you turn a child from the house and tell him he's free, he's not going to be happy about it. Which is where the left comes in, by protecting adult children from the vagaries of mature independence.
Pieper notes that "what is truly human is never the average." Human nature cannot be discovered via demographics, by looking at the behavior of Mass Man. Humans, since they are uniquely situated in vertical space, are are as free to perfect their nature as they are to flee from it. Just because everyone engages in the latter, doesn't mean it's a good idea.
In short, there is a standard of "what man himself is capable of being," and in my opinion, the very existence of this standard obliges us to move toward and conform to it. In other words, if we can fulfill our potential, then we must try to do so. To avoid this struggle is not only to fail, but to miss the whole point of life.
In the dialogue, this lesson is conveyed by Socrates' two very different speeches. The first is plausible enough, a reflection of the cynical sophistication of his audience. But like an Obama speech or a paper by a liberal academic, it has no interest in reality or truth, and only exists to glorify its author.
A normal person would feel shame at such a betrayal, but this is a higher normality defined in light of what man is to become. Which is why an Obama or a Clinton are so shameless in their lying -- which they must be in order to pull it off.
Nor are they ashamed -- as any normal person would be -- at the plaudits they receive from the grazing multitude they have successfully hypnotized and seduced. Why would you want the acclaim of idiots? And what does it say about you?
But Socrates is ashamed of his first speech, even to the point of feeling impure. He "wishes to recant his shamefully false speech by a second speech on Love.... Socrates steps forth from the fogs into the clear light of heaven, as it were. In place of a literary exercise, we have the genuine emotion of one who is saying what must be said.... We find ourselves breathing fresher, cooler, purer air."
To be continued...