The Conduct of Life

By Benedetto Croce; Arthur Livingston | Go to book overview
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XXXIII
Political Honesty.

ANOTHER manifestation of the general failure to comprehend the true nature of politics is the persistent and ill-humoured demand that is made for "honesty" in public life.

An ideal sings in the souls of all the poor in spirit, and finds expression in the unmusical prose of their diatribes, their oratory, and their utopias. They dream of a sort of areopagus, made up of honest men, to whom alone should be entrusted the affairs of State or nation. In this congress we should find chemists, and physicians, and poets, and mathematicians, and doctors, and just plain ordinary citizens, all, however, endowed with two qualities: nobility of intentions along with personal unselfishness; and training or ability in some branch of human activity not directly connected with politics proper. Politics, in the good sense of the term, should result rather

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