Policy & Reality

by Rick Lewis

More than two thousand years ago, the philosophers of ancient Greece and ancient China occasionally became embroiled in the process of making the practical decisions which affected the lives of their fellow citizens. It didn’t always go well. The incorruptible Confucius was made police commissioner in the kingdom of Lu, but was fired, according to one version, for criticising the king’s work ethic. Plato sailed twice to Syracuse to advise its Tyrant on how to become a philosopher king. The first time, he was captured by pirates and sold in the slave market; on his second visit, he was thrown into jail by his employer.

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