I suppose one could view Plato's strange ideas regarding poets as a curious kink in his personality, and to be truthful, this is as far as many teachers went, in my experience, when discussing his brilliant work. Brilliant thinkers with bad ideas, though, still espouse bad ideas, regardless of how brilliantly they are presented. Plato could be called the Father of Totalitarianism, the MacDaddy of Aristocrats, the Tyrant Extraordinaire. Plato's ideas are despicable justifications for coercion and micro-management, means of elimination of all undesirables, assurance of groupthink, and the support for aristocrats to maintain their undeserved positions in society, propped up and carried on the backs of slaves.
In modern times, "poets" are any free thinkers who are a threat to the State and the State's tyrants. In some countries they're murdered or imprisoned, but in more civilized and kind countries they're marginalized through smear campaigns and mind-control -- they're either co-opted by the State or neutralized through propaganda and ostracism. Free thinkers are anathema to information control and status quo narratives which justify whatever flavor of tyranny is being offered, soft, mildly harsh or hard-ass.
Regarding Plato's influence, Alexander Rustow wrote in Freedom and Domination:
According to Plato's advice, the humane legislator will best begin his work with the execution or expulsion of all undesirables. Aliens who have earned too much will also be expelled later. All physical work and artisan trades are to be disparaged and contemptuously relegated to the slaves and foreigners who have been allowed to stay in the state for a limited period. Autarchy is the ideal, and hence the greatest possible limitation and control of foreign trade. The import of luxury goods is prohibited, an exception being made for imports required for military purposes.
But this isn't all, Plato disallowed foreign travel to anyone over forty, and then under the condition the travellers would come back and spread propaganda regarding their state's superiority. Basically, Plato wanted to control information, and, thus, the minds of the citizens. He proposed censorship and encouraged deceit to support the image of the State.
Rustow shows how, much, much later, to those who've dismissed Plato's ideas as curiosities of his time and peculiar mind, George Sorel urged the same prescription for national socialism, and how Socrate's words through Plato state: "How then may we devise one of those needful falsehoods of which we lately spoke--just one royal lie which may deceive the rulers, if that be possible, and at any rate the rest of the city?" Socrates goes on to address the problem of strengthening "folk community" and propagating the idea that class differences are divinely inspired.
It doesn't matter what form the "royal lie" takes -- as we've seen lately it takes the form of convincing government representatives and the people that an enlightened class of rulers are necessary to instill social justice, because the lower and middle classes are incapable of helping themselves -- perhaps not divinely inspired, but inspired from the great heights of the powerful State.
Ideas are powerful and even if one generation of people can not be convinced of the "royal lie", over several generations then can be convinced. However, results matter, and this morning on ABC's This Week, Paul Krugman appeared particularly out of touch repeating his "royal lie" once again -- that more stimulus is needed to get the economy going. What exists beneath this lie is not simply a harmless disagreement among economists, with Krugman taking the Keynesian route. The lie rests on the idea that the perception of wealth and growth is as good as real wealth and growth. There are statists such as Krugman who've adopted political means, rather than economic means, for the economy under the mistaken perception that image is everything. If the government pumps money in the economy and the public is supported by benefits, this will keep the most statist party in power and ensure the advancement of the State's agenda -- also making these statists secure in their privileged State connections.
This is a destructive "royal lie" that has failed to produce results, as a result of years of benefits and government spending not creating enough real wealth, good jobs and sustainable growth. Instead, the State has created too many dependents who've become a drag on the economy. If we continue in this direction, believing this "royal lie", America will collapse, and this is the realization which Krugman stubbornly avoids. Plato would have had a special position for Krugman.