Accepting the Gift of Happiness

The lawgiver shall give a blessing, They shall go from virtue to virtue: The God of gods shall be seen in Sion. Psalm 83:8 In Plato’s Gorgias, the ambitious Callicles accuses Socrates of turning human life upside down with his teaching that happiness consists in a life of virtue. To our fallen, grasping souls, itContinue reading “Accepting the Gift of Happiness”

The Problem with Politics, and How to Solve It

Plato says that all would be well if only wise men reigned—or if all those who reigned were philosophers. But in the same way that wise men wisely avoid ruling fools, so do fools foolishly refuse to submit to the rule of the wise. And so confusion reigns. William of St. Thierry Beginning from theContinue reading “The Problem with Politics, and How to Solve It”

Wise and Unwise Utopias

In this 1973 essay, Irving Kristol explains how modern progressive ideologies exhibit a “kind of madness, which we familiarly call ‘utopianism.’” At the heart of any madness is a decisive disconnection from reality. In this case, the divorce occurs through a misunderstanding of the proper role of imagination. In classical thought, utopias are the resultContinue reading “Wise and Unwise Utopias”

Telling the Whole Truth about our Deepest Desires

In Plato’s Gorgias, Socrates wins a debate against the budding rhetorician Polus by calling the latter as witness against himself. Rejecting Socrates’s contention that justice is good and beautiful, Polus attempts to defend the sophisticated view that, despite its ugliness, injustice is useful in helping us to acquire whatever we desire. When pressed, Polus cannotContinue reading “Telling the Whole Truth about our Deepest Desires”