26 December 2010

The rule of wisdom; the rule of cleverness

"If rule by good laws has sometimes been called the rule of wisdom, rule by appropriate decrees may rightly be called the rule of cleverness. For it is clever to reckon with ulterior motives and aims, and it is wise to understand and create by deduction from generally accepted principles." (The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, 1994; page 244). 
Rule by decree is the preferred mode of the strongman rulers because it plays to their strong suit – cunning and an instinct for survival. 
The rule of wisdom is what is aspired to by mature societies that have the benefit of abundance and security and that have a sense of what it means to take responsibility, which is to say, to do one's duty. 

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