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An ‘idiot’ is a man who takes no share in public matters – “The Greek Way” – Edith Hamilton

February 12th, 2012 · No Comments · Democracy, Leadership, Politics

Plato said that men could find their true moral development only in service to the city. The Athenian was saved from looking at his life as a private affair. Our word “idiot” comes from the Greek name for the man who took no share in public matters. Pericles in the funeral oration reported by Thucydides says: We are a free democracy, but we are obedient. We obey the laws, more especially those which protect the oppressed, and the unwritten laws whose transgression brings acknowledged shame. We do not allow absorption in our own affairs to interfere with participation in the city’s. We differ from other states in regarding the man who holds aloof from public life as useless, yet we yield to none in independence of spirit and complete self-reliance.

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