Thursday, January 13, 2005


For those interested in the Conservative philosophy, I direct your attention to Adeimantus, which I believe is one of the best blogs to be found on the internet.

The blog’s byline is named for one of the characters who appears in Plato’s Republic. In the link provided he is compared to Glaucon, another of the central characters. He is described as:

“deeper and graver, and the profounder objections are commonly put into his mouth. Glaucon is more demonstrative, and generally opens the game. Adeimantus pursues the argument further. Glaucon has more of the liveliness and quick sympathy of youth; Adeimantus has the maturer judgment of a grown-up man of the world. In the second book, when Glaucon insists that justice and injustice shall be considered without regard to their consequences, Adeimantus remarks that they are regarded by mankind in general only for the sake of their consequences; and in a similar vein of reflection he urges at the beginning of the fourth book that Socrates falls in making his citizens happy, and is answered that happiness is not the first but the second thing, not the direct aim but the indirect consequence of the good government of a State. In the discussion about religion and mythology, Adeimantus is the respondent, but Glaucon breaks in with a slight jest, and carries on the conversation in a lighter tone about music and gymnastic to the end of the book. It is Adeimantus again who volunteers the criticism of common sense on the Socratic method of argument, and who refuses to let Socrates pass lightly over the question of women and children. It is Adeimantus who is the respondent in the more argumentative, as Glaucon in the lighter and more imaginative portions of the Dialogue. For example, throughout the greater part of the sixth book, the causes of the corruption of philosophy and the conception of the idea of good are discussed with Adeimantus. Then Glaucon resumes his place of principal respondent; but he has a difficulty in apprehending the higher education of Socrates, and makes some false hits in the course of the discussion. Once more Adeimantus returns with the allusion to his brother Glaucon whom he compares to the contentious State; in the next book he is again superseded, and Glaucon continues to the end.”

This is, I believe, a fair description of our modern day Adeimantus as well.

The post I refer to is titled “Hands Off My Toothbrush.” It’s his response to a request from a college student for information to complete a term paper on what conservatives and liberals believe.

A sample of his response to the desperate student follows:

“But fortunately for us, fortunately for us conservatives at least, in admitting this failing of human rationality perhaps we have stumbled upon an idea, which--if not exactly a full-blown political principle--supplies the place of one until the happy day when we acquire true wisdom: Human beings are fallible creatures, capable of reason, but driven about mercilessly by their passions. Every decent political system, though aiming always to improve the virtues of its citizens, will take into account the reality of the non-rational, and even the irrational, aspect of human nature. No decent political system will presume to oppose fundamental human nature. No decent political system will presume to transform human beings into angels or gods. By the same token, no decent political system will presume that humans are devils who must be always controlled solely by threat and force.”

Once you’ve read the post I’m certain that you’ll never look at the political/social/religious left, right, or a toothbrush for that matter, in quite the same way you did before you read.

If that piques your interest I recommend you take a couple of additional steps – read Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind.” If you’re still curious about us conservatives reading Whittaker Chambers’ “Witness” would be a very good next step.

One final step is recommended. Make Adeimantus part of your regular reading. You’ll find it’s well worth your time!

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