Tag Archives: David Bolotin

NL XXVIII: The Forms of Political Action

Index to this series

Executive summary (added September 12, 2018): Continuing a thought from the previous chapter, we observe that to condemn political discussion is also to wish for tyranny. Though the ruling class need not share their deliberations with the ruled class, it is better if they do. As our understanding of the reason for an action evolves from utility to conformity with a rule, so ruling, originally by decree, has evolved to include legislation. However, law does not require a formal structure to be enforced, and international law is an example. The best reason for an action is duty. Though the German Treitschke says our highest duty is to the state, he gives the state no duty, and so his politics are entirely utilitarian.


In Plato’s Republic, Socrates seeks understanding of the just human being through examination of the just state. In the New Leviathan, the order is reversed. What we first considered in somebody, we now look at in the “body politic.”

Narthex of the former Taksiyarhis Church (now museum), Ayvalık, Balıkesir, Turkey, August 30, 2018

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On Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad, Book XII

Index to this series | Text of Chapman’s Homer’s Iliad

Both first and last place may be prominent in a narrative. Occurring three-quarters of the way into Book XII of the Iliad, but presented last below, Sarpedon’s great speech on leadership ought to be known by everybody with authority and power.

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NL XXVI: Democracy and Aristocracy

Index to this series

Executive summary (added September 12, 2018): Aristocracy and democracy are abstractions, inseparable from one another and properly understood as correlative rules for the ruling class: don’t let in anybody who is unqualified, but don’t keep out anybody who is. By what in Chapter XXXI will be called the Principle of the Limited Objective (recognized by the Early Church Fathers), the ruling class should be prepared to solve not every problem (as Plato wanted), but those problems that are expected to come up. The concept of revolution is borrowed from the literary concept of peripety and has no place in history, where there are no heroes or villains, just human beings, partly good and partly bad.


There can be no pure democracy, not for any length of time, not if we understand a democracy to be a society whose ruling class is the whole of it. Even the most extreme democrat of ancient Greece never contemplated citizenship for women, slaves, or resident foreigners. We may be more liberal today, at least regarding women and slavery. Still we do not open the ruling class to foreigners, such as myself where I am; nor do we open it to children. We could do so, in the sense of extending the franchise to all human residents. Both possibilities were discussed favorably in The Nation in the early 1990s, as I recall. However, perhaps most children could not be given such adminstrative duties as were assigned by lot to Athenian citizens. Even if they could, what of the animals that live among us?

Edward Hicks (American, 1780-1849 ), The Cornell Farm, 1848, oil on canvas, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch

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Happiness

If only tangentially sometimes, this is about living in Turkey, especially under the ongoing official state of emergency.

Aristotle, Marx & Engels, and Collingwood

Aristotle, Marx & Engels, and Collingwood

A blog article on Medium recently struck me for its treatment of science. Dated October 3, the article is called The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness, and its opening section is as follows.

For the longest time, I believed that there’s only purpose of life: And that is to be happy. Continue reading