ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Warning:  some level of liberal arts education may be needed to understand this post.

The following struck me this morning as something I should have thought of when writing my DeVos post:

I turn to the second class, who are headed by Meletus, that good and patriotic man, as he calls himself. And now I will try to defend myself against them: these new accusers must also have their affidavit read. What do they say? Something of this sort: – That Socrates is a doer of evil, and corrupter of the youth, and he does not believe in the gods of the state, and has other new divinities of his own. That is the sort of charge; and now let us examine the particular counts. He says that I am a doer of evil, who corrupt the youth; but I say, O men of Athens, that Meletus is a doer of evil, and the evil is that he makes a joke of a serious matter, and is too ready at bringing other men to trial from a pretended zeal and interest about matters in which he really never had the smallest interest.

-Socrates in Plato’s Apology.

Just call her Betsy “Meletus” DeVos.

And, spoiler alert:  Socrates is found guilty and chooses execution over exile.

(I went ahead and used the French version of the saying as a nod to the general pretentiousness of academe).

A parting quote from the old coot:

I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue come money and every other good of man, public as well as private.

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. JohnMcC says:

    Excellent. Thanx for the reminder.

    My reading lately has been on the self-destruction of the Roman Republic (long series of civil wars that destroyed the sanctity of the Senate) and the rise of Ceasarism (a shockingly familiar hypocritical rediscovery of ‘traditional morality’ that made possible the exile – and subsequent murder – of political opponents combined with militarism ‘to keep us safe’).

    I don’t think I’m a nut or alarmist. And I am alarmed.