Skip to content

Revolutionary old ideas

“Those who propose to take charge of the affairs of government should not fail to remember two of Plato’s rules: first, to keep the good of the people so clearly in view that regardless of their own interests they will make their every action conform to that; second, to care for the welfare of the whole body politic and not in serving the interests of some one party to betray the rest. For the administration of the government, like the office of a trustee, must be conducted for the benefit of those entrusted to one’s care, not of those to whom it is entrusted. Now, those who care for the interests of a part of the citizens and neglect another part, introduce into the civil service a dangerous element — dissension and party strife. The result is that some are found to be loyal supporters of the democratic, others of the aristocratic party, and few of the nation as a whole. As a result of this party spirit bitter strife arose at Athens, and in our own country not only dissensions but also disastrous civil wars broke out.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Officiis (trans. Miller)

Published inCiceroEconomicsPolitics & LawThe Ancients

2 Comments

  1. Would it be possible to send a copy of De Officiis to every member of Congress? With highlighted bits and a study guide?

    • many of them do already understand these principles; however, those upon whom the media spotlight shines most brightly are not they; and the great majority of them, no matter the attentions they receive and no matter their other qualities, live and serve in fear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.