Character and Republican Government: Some Polemical Suggestions

Remarks by George Anastaplo, made at a Conference on Niccolo Machiavelli, Basic Program Weekend, The University of Chicago, May 1, 2010:

A concern for republican principles, I presume to suggest, can be associated with Niccolo Machiavelli.  What, we can usefully ask, are the modes and orders that Machiavelli would have us notice as essential to our regime?  That is, what would he have us not only notice but also think about?

Consider my unpublished letter to the Editor of the New York Times in response to its front page article of April 16, 2010 (“At MoMA Show, Some Forget You Should Not Touch the Art”):

Why has there not been any serious public criticism of the determined impropriety of having completely nude women and men (standing a yard apart), shamelessly facing each other in a doorway, between whom visitors must squeeze in order to enter a popular exhibition these days in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City?  Is not gross impropriety evident both on the part of those who mount such a display and on the part of those who attend this two-month-long exhibit in large numbers?  Do not such ugly indulgences testify to an ominous decadence among our most privileged fellow-citizens, a deterioration that corrupts everyone involved, recklessly undermining thereby the moral foundations of our republican institutions? Complete Article

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