Re:The Stoic Origins of (Economic) Liberalism
- Guillaume wrote:
I don't exactly see what argument you are bringing here regarding our issue. Do you mean that you refuse the discussion because I don't seem to be agreeing to what you say? You would have the right to assert that stoicism has no political goals, and I wouldn't have the right to defend the opposite?
I think a pause in our discussion would be for the best. I have explained my views on the subject as best I can and, since you are disinclined to agree, why should I try to force the point?
But to restate: Stoicism has no political goals even though all Stoics probably did, and do, have political goals, or at least political preferences. It seems likely, therefore, that Stoics could be found on opposing sides of many political issues.
- I think what we know of the history of Stoicism (and Roman philosophy in particular) strongly supports Guillaume. Epictetus taught in Nicopolis because he, and every other philosopher Domitian could think of, was banished from Italy because Domitian suspected them of Republican sympathies. In Epictetus First Discourse, he is said to have memorialized two Senators who died at the hands of Emperors for their views. And the only Stoic ever referred to as a Sage was Cato the Younger, who committed suicide rather than submit to Julius Caesar. Stoics were involved at every level of the Imperial court in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
How can Stoicism not be political, especially if it is, as is claimed, a philosophy for living?
mcopple@...On Sat, Oct 30, 2010 at 4:21 PM, Ghi O <subtenante@...> wrote:
Malcolm,I understand what you say, but I don't agree to it.
> I am not pretending anything. Stoicism has no political goals. Why is that so difficult for you to understand? It is entirely a system for self improvement. If you, or I, have political goals, that's ok; but the only part Stoicism could play in that is in dealing with the success or failure of those goals with equanimity.
I believe that the core beliefs at the root of stoicism provide, also, a political side. The whole idea of the Stoic City as a model of egalitarian society among Sages, for example, clearly indicates that universalism is a political target, that people should be treated equally, that slavery is not acceptable and should be fought against, that discriminations of any sorts regarding gender, origin, etc., should be fought against, and many other things.
Being a stoic does not mean staying passively watching the system around and being pleased at oneself because we are able to suffer any loss. It's also being brave in trying to make life better for every one, at the best of our abilities, even if we accept that we may lose in this battle. And it is very, very political.