The University of Twitter: a short course in Political Philosophy in 7 parts
March 22, 2011
Philosopher Alain de Botton recently published a 7 part course in philosophy. On Twitter. The original posts were entitled The University of Twitter: a short course in Political Philosophy in 7 parts. There’s much here that’s relevant to the world of organisations (secular and political) particularly Plato’s observation about leadership (number 1) and JS Mill’s thoughts about freedom of choice.
1: Plato: We should be ruled not by leaders chosen by a majority, but by those who are most intelligent.
2. St Augustine: We should not try to build paradise on earth. Aim for tolerable government, true government only possible in the next life.
3. Machiavelli: Politician must choose between serving the interests of country and the interests of Christian morality. Can’t have both.
4. Hobbes: Rulers not appointed by God, but by people and if they can’t guarantee their security, they can be legitimately kicked out.
5. Smith: The market cannot alone create a moral community. Civil society must nudge capitalists to be good through emulation and honours.
6. Karl Marx: The ‘profit’ of a capitalist is in essence theft, the stolen life and labour of the proletariat.
7. J.S. Mill: Governments should not tell people how to live, they should give them the preconditions to make their own choices.