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The Virtues of ExitOn Resistance and Quitting Politics$
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Jennet Kirkpatrick

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635392

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635392.001.0001

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The Argument against Exit

The Argument against Exit

Plato’s Crito

(p.26) 1 The Argument against Exit
The Virtues of Exit

Jennet Kirkpatrick

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines Plato’s Crito to explore the political challenges of leaving one’s homeland. When the dialogue opens Socrates is facing a death sentence for high political crimes and he has every reason to flee Athens. His friend Crito tries to persuade Socrates of the virtues of escape, freedom, and self preservation. These arguments are challenged by the Laws of Athens, who are personified by Socrates and make a case against a faithless break with the polity. The chapter argues that this debate illuminates a more general ambivalence that migrants may experience: the push to go, the pull to stay, and the sense of internal conflict that can accompany the prospect of departing. Read in this way, the dialogue enriches an understanding of the meaning and consequences of an exit for the individual.

Keywords:   Political obligation, Political injustice, Citizenship, Belonging, Immigration, Civil disobedience

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