Tuesday, April 29, 2014


from: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Tidbits of wisdom from the ancient past.

Since happiness is an activity of soul in harmony with virtue, we must consider virtue to see if she can help us to understand happiness. The student of politics studies virtue above all else since he wishes to make his fellow citizens good and obedient to the laws. Aristotle

Our American politicians obviously did NOT study Aristotle.



  1. I gave up any notion that these clowns had a sense of virtue long ago and, so, no, this doesn't surprise me in the least.

    1. Yeah, sad isn't it? Now we have Kerry making choosing his words loosely and Cruz (and crew to follow) calling for Kerry's resignation.

      Government by distractions?

    2. At the time I thought that John McCain was flirting with virtue back in 2000 (saying that he "wasn't afraid to lose") and unfortunately he's been disappointing me ever since.

  2. " Now we have Kerry making choosing his words loosely and Cruz (and crew to follow) calling for Kerry's resignation."

    Kerry only repeated what two former Israeli prime ministers have said about Israel and apartheid. Also, there was a lot of truth to what he said.

    "To be sure, 'apartheid' is a provocative word in this context, but Kerry’s not dumb. On the contrary, the nation’s chief diplomat took this opportunity to extend a subtle reminder to those who were critical of him yesterday: he’s not the only one using this provocative word in this context.

    For example, former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak – a prominent figure in Netanyahu’s government – has also raised the specter of Israel becoming an “apartheid state.” In 2007, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert didn’t use the “a” word specifically, but he didn’t leave much doubt as to his concerns when he warned of Israel facing “a South African-style struggle.”

    Kerry’s point, in other words, was pretty obvious: Israeli leaders have made comments that were practically identical to those he made privately over the weekend. So unless Ted Cruz, Eric Cantor, and others are prepared to say Israeli prime ministers are anti-Israel, perhaps they should turn down the volume on their latest outrage."

    1. Might point was merely that Kerry chose his words loosely. This is not to say they did not have validity. Rather there were better words to express his concerns.

      My reference to Cruz should be read on the context of the virtues Aristotle with respect to politicians. To be clear, IMO Cruz is not virtuous. Not even close.

  3. .

    "Our American politicians obviously did NOT study Aristotle."

    And then again, maybe one is not able to see the forest for the trees...

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”


    Ema Nymton

    1. Why Ema, are you suggesting republicans in congress are highly educated? By many of your comments they are obstructionist, rejecting much of Obama's agenda after considering it.

    2. .

      "Why Ema, are you suggesting republicans in congress are highly educated?"

      Is it possible one could stay focused on one's original subject?

      Ema Nymton

    3. Why of course one can. Thank you for your sincere concern, and evasion.

      Aristotle was a profoundly intelligent man. A student of Plato's he ultimately went on to outshine his teacher.

    4. Familiar, but unsteeped in Aristotle, my first thought is how he defined the term 'virtue'.
      Perhaps a little differently than current thought (after a couple millennia of philosophy
      and religion), he derives from that favorite Greek concept, the Golden Mean, that virtue
      be a point between deficiency and excess of a trait. Maybe in street terms, 'he is too
      quiet' vs 'he talks way too much' etc. He amplifies:
      "at the right times, about the right things, towards the right people, for the right end, and in the right way, is the intermediate and best condition, and this is proper to virtue", mentioning 'right' five times...leaving us pondering the definition of right. Given that, IMO,
      a proper Aristotlean politician might be one who balances the needs of his constituents, the needs of the country (and yes, the needs of his party, the needs of means of reelection),
      and listens to all views with objectivity....where the key word becomes 'balance'.

  4. Aristotle may have been good on some things, but he didn't have the sense to count his wife's teeth when he made the claim that men have more teeth than women. He's was not a perfect thinker by any means:

    From Scientific American: "The waterfall effect (or motion aftereffect, as it is also known) was first noted by Aristotle. Unfortunately, as pointed out by 20th-century philosopher Bertrand Russell, Aristotle was a good observer but a poor experimenter, allowing his preconceived notions to influence his observations. He believed, erroneously, that the motion aftereffect was a form of visual inertia, a tendency to continue seeing things move in the same direction because of the inertia of some physical movement stimulated in the brain. He assumed, therefore, that the grass would seem to move downward as well—as if to continue to mimic the movement of the waterfall! If only he had spent a few minutes observing and comparing the apparent movements of the waterfall and the grass, he would not have made the mistake—but exper­iments were not his forte. (He also proclaimed that women have fewer teeth than men, never having bothered to count Mrs. Aristotle’s teeth.)"

  5. So, I take it that you're not a fan of Aristotle. Perhaps Plato? if so why?

    Knowledge increases exponentially I think. For Aristotle's age he was a frigging genius.

    Aristotle was right about more thins than he might have been wrong about.

    Just imagine if he were alive today, with the same observing mind and equipped with all the knowledge that was in his day still...


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