Tag: Cicero

In an era of broad disappointment in the integrity of political figures, Dr. Daniel J. Mahoney, author of The Statesman as Thinker: Portraits of Greatness, Courage, and Moderation (Encounter Books, 2022) revives the idea of statesmanship, dwelling on figures ranging from Alexis de Tocqueville to Vaclav Havel, all of whom sought to preserve freedom in times of crisis.

Professor Mahoney, a 2020-21 Garwood Visiting Fellow here at the Madison Program, is a professor emeritus at Assumption University and fellow at the Claremont Institute. His most recent book has been awarded the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s 2023 Conservative Book of the Year award, which honors thoughtful books that contribute to debate about important conservative ideas.

“The narrative that old books are worthless is designed to keep you from discovering that they are not.” Spencer Klavan, author of How to Save the West: Ancient Wisdom for Five Modern Crises discusses the West: why it’s so important to preserve it, how its greatest ideas can still help us today, and the limits of science in addressing modern problems.
Spencer Klavan received his PhD in Classics from Oxford and is Associate Editor of the Claremont Review of Books and Features Editor at the American Mind.
His book, How to Save the West: Ancient Wisdom for Five Modern Crises, https://www.regnery.com/9781684513451/how-to-save-the-west/
Dr. Klavan’s podcast, “Young Heretics,” https://youngheretics.com/
“Hey hey ho ho Western Civ has got to go,” https://intellectualtakeout.org/2019/06/hey-hey-ho-ho-western-civ-has-got-to-go/
Spencer on C.S. Lewis’s science fiction novel That Hideous Strength,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdutZEHonLc
More on Plato’s Timaeus, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-timaeus/#:~:text=In%20the%20Timaeus%20Plato%20presents,%2C%20purposive%2C%20and%20beneficent%20agency.
More on Lucretius, a prominent Epicurean philosopher: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/lucretius/
More on Stoicism, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/
C.S. Lewis’s The Discarded Image, https://portalconservador.com/livros/C-S-Lewis-The-Discarded-Image.pdf
Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45536/ode-intimations-of-immortality-from-recollections-of-early-childhood

Quote of the Day: Who Benefits?


“Cui bono?” – Cicero

“Who benefits?” That is part of a longer quote by the Roman politician and lawyer Cicero. In full it runs: “L. Cassius ille, quem populus Romanus verissimum et sapientissimum iudicem putabat, identidem in causis quaerere solebat, ‘cui bono fuisset?’ (Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a most honest and most wise judge, was in the habit of asking time and again in lawsuits: ‘to whom might it be for a benefit?'”)

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Kathryn Tempest, a Reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Roehampton in London, UK, and author of Cicero: Politics and Persuasion in Ancient Rome and Brutus: The Noble Conspirator. They discuss the historical, civic, and moral lessons political leaders, educators, and schoolchildren today can learn by studying the Roman Republic and the lives of key figures from that era such as Cicero and Brutus.

Dr. Tempest reviews the legacy of Cicero, the distinguished statesman and orator, whose timeless works, influenced by Greek philosophy, have endeared him to extraordinary leaders through the ages, from St. Augustine to Churchill. She contrasts Cicero’s adherence to limited constitutionalism with the worldview of his nemesis, the colossal dictator Julius Caesar. She also delves into the complex relationship between Caesar and the enigmatic Brutus, whom Shakespeare called “the noblest Roman of them all” for his role in Caesar’s assassination on the “Ides of March.” Dr. Tempest traces the influence of these events on Enlightenment thinkers such as Locke and Montesquieu, and concepts such as the mixed constitution and separation of powers that are so fundamental to the American founding. She concludes with a reading from her biography of Brutus.

Marriage, Schmarriage, and Blarriage


Earlier this year, I signed on to one of the amicus briefs arguing against judicial imposition of nationally recognized same-sex marriage and I am not changing my position here. However, I have gradually come to understand — largely thanks to the tireless efforts of SSM-supporting Ricochetti over on the SSM PIT — a pretty good argument for it. This argument deserves a fair hearing, and traditionalists like myself deserve the chance to confront it directly. Hopefully the result will be that some of us understand each other a little better, even if no one is actually convinced of anything.[1]

I say the argument is good because its premises support its conclusion and all of the premises — if not unquestionably true — at least have something going for them. Now, arguments have forms (as I explained here) and it’s probably best to not jump right into the argument itself, but its form, which is as follows:

Ted Cruz Updates Cicero for President Obama


In the great sweep of history, President Obama’s executive overreach is nothing new. While it’s a unique threat to the American Constitution, throughout human history vain executives have tried to grab undue power while bold leaders have tried to push them back.

Always one to seize a moment, Sen. Ted Cruz updated a two-millennia old speech by Marcus Tullius Cicero. Considered one of Rome’s greatest orators, Cicero served as Consul when a senator named Catiline attempted to kill him and overthrow the Republic. Cicero exposed the plot with a powerful speech — one that Senator Cruz repackages here, updated with a few modern touches: