Nancy Gish wrote:
> See Carrol's. And I offered Pound. Not much of a query, really.
Let's go to Bloom's 'master,' Plato. I could look this up & check my
(often fuzzy) memory for proper names, but it's not quite worth that
much effort. Critias, one of the pals of Socrates in the _Republic_,
was a member of the 30 Tyrants (many of them friends of Socrates) who
carried out the reign of terror launched by conservatives during their
brief return to power (thanks to Sparta) at the endo of the
Peloponnesiad War -- and Critias had a reputation of being the bloodiest
of them all. (Socrates' friendship with many of these aristocratic
thugs, incidentlly, goes far to explain the verdict at his later trial;
members of the jury were remembering friends and relatives murdered in
And incidentally (or not so incidentally) the education which Bloom
trumpeted in his silly book was meant only for the elite -- that is,
Bloom, like Plato, did not think the bulk of the population should
receive advanced education. The poor man suffered PTSD from the
occupation of the Cornell library by black students. Late in the
Republic Socrates remarks that it wouldn't be _too_ bad if a farmer did
some carpentry on the side, but it was intolerable if a merchant wanted
to be a soldier or an artisan wanted to take part in public affairs.
Russell, in his delightful but shoddy potboiler, History of WEstern
Philosophy, called Plato a fascist, which was a bit anachronistice but
does reveal one aspect of the Republic when read through modern eyes.
And someday some critic will write a long book on "The Cantos as an
Imitation of The Republic" ("Imitation" here used as in Pope's
"Imitations of Horace")
Amongst admirers of Bloom's book are some of those who have now
discovered that waterboarding prisoners is a reasonable activity for a
civilized state to engage in.