December 3, 2007

This Post is Old!

The post you are reading is years old and may not represent my current views. I started blogging around the time I first began to study philosophy, age 17. In my view, the point of philosophy is to expose our beliefs to rational scrutiny so we can revise them and get better beliefs that are more likely to be true. That's what I've been up to all these years, and this blog has been part of that process. For my latest thoughts, please see the front page.

Cincinnatus for President!

An op-ed in today's New York Times bemoans the fact that none of the leading presidential candidates read Latin. (Well, Giuliani apparently studied it briefly in his Catholic high school.) In all of US history, there have only been 9 presidents who have not studied Latin. Apparently James Garfield even taught both Greek and Latin at the college level before becoming president. Even George W. Bush has a moderately extensive background in Latin. This marks a shift not only in our education system, but in our political system: whereas it was once the case that many (at the beginning of US history, all) of our politicians had broad educational backgrounds and professional experiences, today most are career politicians with narrow training. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Rudy Giuliani (who the author of the article considers to be the front-runners) all majored in political science in college, and are effectively career politicians.

On the other hand, I think it is now safe to say that Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee are at least second tier candidates, since they placed first and third, respectively, in the Virginia GOP retreat straw poll (Fred Thompson came in second; the rest of the list, in order, was Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Hunter, Tancredo), and neither of them is a career politician: Paul was a physician, and Huckabee a pastor. Both of these fields involve a lot of knowledge outside the scope of political science, which I regard as a good thing, as long as its combined with political knowledge. I don't know, however, if either of them speaks Latin. (Huckabee, as a Protestant pastor, probably had a year each of Greek and Hebrew, but no Latin, in seminary.)

A Latin translation of the Op-Ed is also available.

Posted by Kenny at December 3, 2007 6:02 PM
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