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Socrates on Communism & Capitalism

WHAT, THEN, IS THE DIFFERENCE?

By Peter Kreeft | May 1984
Peter Kreeft is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. The above constitutes the second installment in a three-part series of articles drawn from his forthcoming book, The Desperate State Dialogues, to be released by InterVarsity Press this summer. His most recent book is The Unaborted Socrates (reviewed in our April issue).

Felicia Flake: Oh, Socrates, I’m so glad to find you here today.

Socrates: When we first met, you were not nearly so eager, remember?

F: That’s because I’m off drugs now and into something really meaningful. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. I want you to meet my new friend Karl. He’s going to meet me here in a few minutes. He’s a terribly important person to me because he’s given me a great gift: a cause to live and work for. I was drugging because I was drifting; now I know I’ve got direction.

S: If he has truly given you a cause to live for, that is a great gift indeed, especially in this age of a plethora of means and a dearth of ends. I hope his gift is a true one and not just an ap­parent one.

F: That’s why I’m so glad you’re here today, Soc­rates. I can’t wait to hear you two in dialogue. I couldn’t stand up to your cross-examina­tions, but I’m sure Karl can. Perhaps you can even learn something from him.

S: I can learn something from everyone.

F: Perhaps he can even give you the gift he gave me.

S: Perhaps. But I am not drifting. I have a cause to give my life for.

F: Your questioning? How can it be your end and purpose in life if you never come to an end of it? Do you just seek for the sake of seeking?

S: An excellent question, Felicia; in fact, the best one you have yet asked!

F: And do you have an excellent answer?

S: Ah, my good infection seems to be spreading, I see. Good, good! The student begins to outdo her teacher. And thus the teacher’s purpose is fulfilled.

F: You still haven’t answered my question.

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