Magazine February 20, 2017, Issue

Excellently Foolish

Statue of Socrates at the Academy of Athens (Photo: Brigida Soriano/Dreamstime)
When Reason Goes on Holiday: Philosophers in Politics by Neven Sesardic (Encounter, 256 pp., $25.99)

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates famously proposes to create an ideal regime ruled by philosopher-kings. One of his companions, Adeimantus, replies that most philosophers, “when they carry on the study, . . . become strange monsters, not to say utter rogues,” and that “those who may be considered the best of them are made useless to the world by the very study that you extol.” He argues that, whatever the merits of philosophy, when we look around us and observe actual philosophers, the best of them are made useless or even dangerous to politics.

Even Socrates, the defender of the philosopher-king, admits

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Cyberia Luke Thompson’s piece on cybersecurity was quite illuminating (“Our Failed Cybersecurity Policy,” January 23). His view that cybersecurity is not politically savvy and thus becomes an issue only after a ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ We do not expect to miss Barack Obama, but we wish he’d give us a chance. ‐ Ronald Reagan first imposed the “Mexico City policy,” which blocks foreign-aid money from ...
Politics & Policy


TWILIGHT A blazing sun caught in the trees Attempts to set, but branches mesh And hold the globe. Those rays they seize Should now have been in Marrakesh. We are just little figures there, Absorbing errant ...


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