would be demoted to “feelings aboutrnvalues” which are neither true or falsernbut relative to time, place, and culture.rnThe conclusion of all this is that justice isrnthe advantage of the stronger.rnThe formulation of this is found inrnthe objections to justice of Glaucon andrnAdeimantus in Book II of Plato’s Republic.rnBriefly stated, their argument is thatrnjustice is merely a convention; that werndo just things against our will; that thernjust man suffers while the seemingly justrnman prospers; and that since there are norngods, we should be as “unjust” as we can.rnIn Pericles’ speech, this formulation banishesrnthe poets and celebrates what thernstronger have done (“imperishable monuments”)rn. In the field of pragmatic action,rnthe ultimate logic of the funeralrnoration is reached in the Melian Dialoguernsome 15 years later. In response tornthe Melians’ accusation that the Athenians’rnthreat to destroy them is unjust, thernAthenian representatives answer:rnRight as the world goes, is in questionrnonly between equals in power,rnwhile the strong do what they canrnand the weak suffer what theyrnmust…. Of the gods we believe,rnand of men we know, that by arnnecessary law of their nature theyrnrule wherever they can.rnThe Periclean pathos finally becomes incarnaternin the slaughter of the Melians,rnan island people who only wanted to remainrnneutral. Xenophon tells us that thernAthenians became so hated by the rest ofrnHellas that, after the naval defeat ofrnAthens at Aegospotami in 404 B.C., onlyrna Spartan veto prevented the victoriousrncoalition from butchering the Atheniansrnin retaliation for what Athens had donernat Melos.rnMr. Bennett tells us that during thernAge of Pericles, “Athenian democracyrnflourished.” According to a politicalrntract included in the works of Xenophon,rnthis meant that Pericles allowed Athensrnto “let the worst people be better thanrnthe good.” The “Old Oligarch” whornwrote The Constitution of the Atheniansrndid not like the Athenian democracy butrnpraised its leaders for preserving it sornwell. Under Pericles, considerations ofrnpower became more important thanrnconsiderations of piety and justice, so itrnwas only natural to let the poor and thernmasses have more than the high-bornrnand wealthy “for the reason that it is thernpeople who man the ships and impartrnstrength to the city; the steersman, thernboatswains, the sub-boatswains, thernlook-out officers, and the shipwrights—rnthese are the ones who impart strengthrnto the city far more than the hoplites, thernhigh-born, and the good men.” We canrnimagine that Pericles’ audience was notrnunaware that he made their wealth, theater-rngoing, and public gaming possible.rnPericles, in turn, knew that his power wasrnunassailable as long as he controlledrnthe Piraeus, the seaport suburb and hubrnof Athenian democracy where thernmasses on which he based his powerrndwelled.rnPlato’s Republic begins on a prescientrnnote, as Socrates and Glaucon go downrnto the Piraeus to see a festival. Down inrnthe Piraeus, they will find freedom—thernkind of freedom without virtue nurturedrnby Pericles. There Socrates will form arnlittle society of friends at a dinner party.rnThe friends will learn the message thatrncould save Athens: God is without fault;rnour problems are of our own making.rnThat message of genuine citizen responsibilityrnand civic virtue will be unheeded.rnWhat, then, are we to make of Mr.rnBennett’s portrait of Pericles? One possibilityrnis that he is merely reiteratingrnThucydides’ view of the man. Thucydidesrnthought that Athens’ troublesrncame when leaders less skillful than Periclesrntook the helm. Under Gleon and Alcibiadesrnthe Periclean rapier-like strategyrnof indirection and limit became a bludgeonrnthat brought down the Athenianrnhouse. Our discussion of Socrates revealedrnthat it took a person with “deepseeing,”rnwith genuine insight into thernetiology and cure of the sickness that thernPericlean confusion of power with virtuernand of pride with the will of the Godsrncaused, to put the blame where it reallyrnlay—in the architects of Athenian impietyrnand imperialism. Thucydides, likernBennett, simply lacked the conceptualrntools of a Plato to diagnose what was occurring.rnThucydides used the medicalrnnotion of a disease to analyze the war,rnbut, in his hands, it was not much morernthan a metaphor to record the upheavalrnthat was convulsing Hellas. A Socrates orrnPlato could be more like a real doctor—arnpractitioner who could recognize andrntreat illnesses of the spirit.rnAlmost simultaneously with the publicationrnof The Book of Virtues, GarryrnWills came out with his own interpretationrnof Pericles in Certain Trumpets: ThernCall of Leaders. In this very entertainingrnbook. Wills raises the “Periclean type ofrnleadership” to something like an idealrntype. Franklin Roosevelt is Periclean—rn”here, at last, is a ruler who can, by sheerrnmastery, impose his views on the multitude.”rnAdlai Stevenson was a man whorn”believed in the Tericlean’ ideal of leadershiprn—that a man should be above thernpressures of the multitude, telling peoplernuncomfortable truths.” Unfortunately,rnfrom Wills’ perspective, Stevenson didrnnot have the “right stuff” to find a commonrnbond with the American people.rnPerhaps the publication of these twornbooks with remarkably similar views ofrnPericles is sheer coincidence. Bennett’srnportrayal of the Athenian statesman willrnappeal to neoconservatives, who equaternAmerican power and worldwide commitmentsrnwith virtue or “values.” Asrnsuch, they are admiring the real valuernthat Pericles is promoting. Rather thanrnthe virtue of responsibility, Pericles is celebratingrnthe Spartan virtue of “savagernvalor”: the ability to stand the sight ofrnbloody slaughter and thus achieve a kindrnof immortality through one’s reputationrn(“imperishable monuments”). If this isrnthe national character neoconservativesrnare promoting, the republic is indeedrndead.rnA more disturbing query concerns therncapability for “deep-seeing” that seemsrncommon to both Bennett’s and Wills’rnbooks. As we have seen, even Thucydidesrnwas unable to perform the type ofrnoperation that would have resulted inrnSocrates’ verdict on Pericles. The “scientific”rnmethod of Thucydides did notrnreach into the deepest recesses of thernsoul, where the womb of politics isrnfound.rnIs the appearance of The Book ofrnVirtues and Certain Trumpets a symptomrnof a similar powerful disturbance in ourrnown culture, which our elites feel butrncannot ultimately understand? As EricrnVoegelin writes, the process of moral corruptionrnspreads from the public to thernprivate sphere. It “begins with habituationrnto unjust action in affairs of staternand ends with the dissolution of honesty,rnloyalty, and shame in personal relations.”rnIn Homer’s Iliad, the heads of Mycenaeanrncivilization are rotten; in thernOdyssey, the fish has rotted from thernhead down. Is the United States somewherernin that process—with no one withrnthe deep-seeing to tell us?rnNicholas /. Pappas is an associaternprofessor of political science at RadfordrnUniversity in Virginia.rn48/CHRONICLESrnrnrn