I came upon this poem in “The Open Society and Its Enemies: Part 1” by Karl R. Popper. It is of course, much older than that work, its author, Critias, living from 460 to 403 BCE.
I think one could read much into this poem these days, and it bears several interpretations.
Then came, it seems, that wise and cunning man,
The first invetor of the fear of gods . . .
He framed a tale, a most alluring doctrine,
Concealing truth by veils of lying lore.
He told of the abode of awful gods,
Up in revolving vaults, whence thunder roars
And lightning’s fearful flashes blind the eye . . .
He thus encircled men by bonds of fear ;
Surrounding them by gods in their fair abodes,
He charmed them by his spells, and daunted them —
And lawlessness turned into law and order.
How would you interpret it?