Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gerald Ford, Saddam Hussein, and Plato

Gerald Ford was reviled for pardoning Nixon. Saddam Hussein was reviled for killing and torturing tens of thousands, for oppressing millions. Ford was driven from office by the American voters; Hussein was driven from power by the American army. Ford died in his sleep; Hussein in a hangman's noose. In his last years Ford spoke well of everyone and everyone spoke well of him. Hussein died cursing "traitors, spies (i.e. the Jews), and the Persians". Ford's passing was honored with a dignified state funeral in Washington and a national day of observance. Hussein's execution was marked by his countrymen wildly shooting rifles into the air in celebration.

These results are not fortuitous, not luck. It has become customary to say, in spite of all evidence, that all people and all peoples are morally equal. Plato writes in 'The Republic' that only people with civilized souls are able to live under the rule of law. Barbarians must have kings to rule over them because they cannot rule over their own passions, and none can rule over the passions of barbarian kings.

Thus the public life of a nation is an expression of the inner lives of its people. The difference in the lives and deaths of Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein is a measure of the differences in the inner lives of Americans and Iraqis.

3 comments:

  1. Trashman12:36 PM

    Just a word about the Ford funeral, or rather funerals. Like Reagan before him, they are dragging around this box of rotting meat to various cities around the country. There can be such a thing as too much ceremony. Put the guy in the ground already.

    Not to mention the wear and tear on the widows. I know for a fact that Betty Ford is 124 year old and not looking all that spry. This has got to be hard on her. Enough to make her take up the bottle again.

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  2. I had no idea the funeral was a traveling show. It's not just one shot in Washington?

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  3. Trashman8:51 AM

    The man died Dec. 26. Today is Jan 2 and he is still traveling around. He had a service in California and then in Washington and is slated for another service and finally burial in Michigan, probably sometime in March. The man gets more postumous frequent flyer miles than most living folks.

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