Schall on political leadership

If you don't read Fr. James Schall, well, I suppose you should. I know of no greater teacher of politics and human affairs. His latest column at InsideCatholic is worth highlighting. He addresses the important subject of political leadership:
Among the classical authors, the common opinion was that a democracy would eventually choose as a ruler a tyrant who promised them what they wanted. Then he would subject them to what he wanted. The American founders understood this problem, which is why they founded a republic, not a democracy.

Plato said in his Seventh Letter: "The more I reflected upon what was happening, upon what kind of men were active in politics, and upon the state of our laws and customs, and the older I grew, the more I realized how difficult it is to manage a city's affairs rightly." It is, indeed, the most difficult of all the human occupations of this world.

Politics is about who rules and for what purpose. It is not a "science." It is dependent on character and practical wisdom. "Such wisdom is concerned not only with universals but with particulars, which become familiar from experience, but a young man has no experience, for it is length of time that gives experience." These are Aristotle's words.

What is a leader? He is a prudent man who can, in an actual city, make decisions for the temporal common good of citizens who, by their characters, are already choosing their membership in one or other of the two ultimate cities, the City of God or the City of Man.

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