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Monday, 18 May 2015

Horses, wine and shoes



Some believe the Good to be that which is useful; they accordingly bestow this title upon riches, horses, wine, and shoes; so cheaply do they view the Good, and to such base uses do they let it descend. They regard as honourable that which agrees with the principle of right conduct – such as taking dutiful care of an old father, relieving a friend's poverty, showing bravery on a campaign, and uttering prudent and well-balanced opinions. We, however, do make the Good and the honourable two things, but we make them out of one: only the honourable can be good; also, the honourable is necessarily good.
Seneca - Epistulae morales ad Lucilium c. 65 AD

So with 650 newly-minted honourable members, the House of Commons should be awash with prudent and well-balanced opinions.

Maybe we should wait and see though. I think Cameron's lot may still be swayed by riches, horses, wine, and shoes.

4 comments:

Demetrius said...

Awash it may be, but not with either prudence or balance.

Sam Vega said...

I think it is fairly obvious that all MPs are well-schooled in the conventional type of honour. If they didn't utter those opinions, and thereby display right conduct, they wouldn't stand a chance of being elected.

I wonder, though, whether any are actually good as well? How could we tell? One would have to know them far better than is currently possible, and to see what lies behind the public display of prudence and balance.

Roger said...

Old Seneca was nearly dead when he wrote those words, all very well for him to be pious. But our dear politicos must consider worldly matters such as taxes, hasty promises, improbable funding and the whining electorate and meeja. No such problems for them old Romans - ignore/bribe the electorate and send the Praetorian guard to sort the scribblers. Oh dear, not so much has changed...

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - something stronger?

Sam - I agree, one would have to know them far better than is currently possible. Although there are often hints, the hints may be misleading.

Roger - yes, he was obsessed with death yet tried so hard to be a good Stoic. Life was much rougher but as you say, there were many similarities.