What have we lost when the Leader, perhaps an aspirant Emperor, or his right hand man, has read Milton Freidman, Leo Strauss, Carl Schmidt, and Machiavelli, but not Virgil, Lucretius, Seneca and Cicero? Metrics, hierarchy, efficiency, and results (in short, power) must at some point report to wisdom. Perhaps even Freedom like the horse beneath Marcus Aurelius must be responsive to virtue. Giving Well, Doing Good: Readings for Thoughtful Philanthropists, edited by Amy Kass could be considered ornamental, a book to display on the coffee table at Hudson, under the portraits of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Or, it could be considered the rebuke of an ancient tradition rising up, coming to consciousness. Will the satirists, Juvenal, Martial and Horace, make the cut? They did not make it into the anthology. Maybe Amy's next book will be, Ruling Well: Lessons from the Liberal Arts, the Arts of Freedom. Lessons from Aesop? Citizen! Know your place.
I hope the seeds Amy has cast will fall on fertile ground. If we are to be ruled by the few, let them be wise.
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