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Political Science
Ryan Balot

POL200Y1Y L5101 1 R. Balot L4: Republic I May 21, 2009 5:56 PM Lecture Finishing Thucydides Republic: 2 Passageson Ethics + Politics Opening Moves Conversation with Cephalus Conversation with Polemarchus Thrasymachus Foreshadowing later themes Finishing Thucydides From: Nicias speech Alcibiades o He brings out the quandaries of democratic leadership. How can leadership exist when those democratic leaders emphasize such inequality? This character trumpets his importance. Hence, he is the perfect child of empire. If Athens had displayed its wealth, then culturally, domestic Athens would value that which values self-interest. The human good would become valuing superiority over others. o The human passions discussed with regards to Corcyra, which the Athenians had channeled outwards now appear to be returning to Athens and Alcibiades represents this. Democracy (and by extension human nature) succumbed. o Alcibiades caseshows that imperialism erodes democratic equality at home. The ideals of manly courage have also eroded free speech. If democrats are the imperialists, imperialism in effect manages to tear down democratic equality. Constraints of Empire o Page 119. o Alcibiades argues that they cannot stop the rollercoaster of empire. Household stewards. They are simply forced to consider their expansion. Hence the democrats moved forward with the idea that they were conquering so as to increase freedom. They are forced to fight so as not to be enslaved. Bottom line o According to Thucydides, democracy at war (esp. imperialistic democracy) is very unstable regime. o In his second speech, Nicias tried to liedeceive the Athenians in order to get them to go back on their decision; yet in this case, there is no democratic advisable decision. Speech has become highly distorted and no longer erects healthy form of political action or binding people to patriotic ties to the city. This is a breakdown of all the elements of democracy which Thucydides espoused. o This is a critique of democracy of war
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