18/CHRONICLESnShowing that pohtics has no place in art, however, isnonly half of our problem. The complementary and muchnmore difficult task is to show that art has no place in politicsneither. People readily grasp that art free from politics isnpossible only in a society in which politics, too, is in somensense free. But what even some great political philosophersndo not seem to understand is that in order to be really free,npolitics must above all be free from art. The separation ofnart and politics, in order to be beneficial to society, cannotnbe one-sided. Free art in a free state is attainable only to thenextent that the politics of that state is not turned into an art.nPolitical savoir (aire in the sense of knowing how to getnahead and make the most of it to further one’s own interestsnhas been widely admired at least since the sophist contemporariesnof Socrates offered this art for sale in ancientnGreece. Thrasymachus summed up the formula: “To benreally precise one must say that the ruler, insofar as he is anruler, makes no mistakes, and so infallibly enacts what isnbest for himself, which his subjects must perform. And so,nas I said to begin with, ‘right’ [justice] means the interest ofnthe stronger party.” We can hear an echo of this “sophisticated”nview in H.D. Lasswell’s famous definition of politicsnas “who gets what, when, how,” a definition which hauntednthe behavioralist movement in the American politicalnscience a generation ago and may be expected to be heardnagain.nFortunately, whether recommended as an ideal or merelynpresented as a “reality,” this view of politics has always metnwith spirited challenge in both popular and philosophicalnopinion. In the American usage, “politician” carries annegative connotation precisely because people know thatntaking advantage of public oifice for persona! gain is wrong.nThus even when they grudgingly admire a particular skillfulnpolitician in action, most people, including behavioralists,nrecognize that what they are watching is a performance by an”con-artist” and wish for a different kind of politics.nThe art—techne—of politics, in the sense of “mightnmakes right,” is invariably associated with the teachings ofnMachiavelli. Yet what Machiavelli and Thrasymachusnexpect from politics are two quite different things, and theirndifference illustrates both the difficulty of ridding politics ofnart and the urgent necessity for it. Thrasymachus holdsnsimply that there is nothing “wrong” with looking afternone’s own interests first and foremost. But Machiavelli seeksn”[Judge Noonan] belongs to that rare tradition ofnscholarship in which specialized studies are enhanced bynmoral vision and a dazzling skill with words. These giftsnmake John T. Noonan an ideal Erasmus lecturer.”nMagna Est VeritasnTruth Is Great:nIt Prevailsnthe second annualnErasmus Lecturenby John T. Noonann-Americanlb order your copy, send $1.95 plus .50 postage and handling to:nThe Rockford Institute, 934 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103.nnnpower for a far loftier end, and that makes his defense ofn”the art of politics” so much more difficult to challenge.nThe old Greek Sophist not only claims to be a realist butnalso admits freely to being a cynic. The wily Italian,nhowever, wraps his equally cynical view of human naturenand power in the colors of a patriot. Thrasymachus says. If Indo not look after No. 1, who will? But Machiavelli claimsnlegitimacy for his treacherous means not just in the name ofn”the art of politics” but also on behalf of its true end,nnamely, the public good. The Prince is urged to do all sortsnof nasty things not for himself but for the greater good andnglory of the State. It is the nobility of the end that justifiesnthe wickedness of the means. As Mazzini was to say muchnlater, “What scoundrels would we have been had we donenthese things for ourselves”—rather than for La Patria.nBut is there really that much of a difference betweennMaehiavelli’s politics and that of Thrasymachus? Can one’snart be said to be higher, or nobler, than the other’s? Or donthey not rather both make us think that perhaps politicsnought not to be cultivated as an art, after all? To see betternwhat these popular views really have in common and whynthey are both equally unacceptable, we need only tonconsider how Socrates himself claims to have provednThrasymachus wrong. The art of politics as such, like thenart of medicine or navigation or even sheepherding, Socratesnholds, must be exercised not in the interest of the rulernbut rather of the people, just as those other arts are exercisednnot in the interest of the practitioner but in the interest ofnthe patient or the ship’s crew and passengers or even thensheep. Convincing as it sounds, this argument is in factnprofoundly misleading. For well-intentioned as it is, itnrepresents but a cleaned-up version of politics as thensupreme art, and were it to be accepted uncritically, itncould cause more harm today than ever before in history.nEven the wisest of geniuses have their blind spots, and inndefense of Socrates one could argue that it was actually lovenof mankind that prevented him from seeing that politics isnno more an art than knowledge is a virtue. But be that as itnmay, the record shows that in constructing his ideal, just,nand happy city, Socrates saw nothing wrong with employingnsome dubious means. True, in contrast to Machiavelli,nhe does not recommend assassination, terror, or even plainnlies. But as is well-known, Socrates does insist not only on an”noble myth” of inequality among human beings but alsonon the need for continuous and most rigorous censorship ofnall the arts for the sake of universal happiness.nEven though the guardians of Socrates’ ideal state—asndescribed by Plato—care nothing about gold, fame, ornanything else for themselves, they take care of the peoplenprecisely in the manner in which a good physician (ornpsychiatrist?) or a shepherd would care for his patients ornsheep. More infallible than Thrasymachus’ ideal ruler andnmore refined than Maehiavelli’s ruthless prince, Socrates’npliilosopher-king remains a political artist, engaged not sonmuch in living as in making politics. His savoir (airenconsists in knowing how, literally, to make others happy.nFrom the modern democratic point of view, the advantagenof government by philosopher-kings totally dedicated tonthe public good is nullified by Plato’s (and Socrates’)nexclusion of the people even from the selection, let alonenthe control of the rulers. Consequentiy, Plato’s politicaln