Philosophers’ views on the candidates

Here’s a question from Doug. Who would the great philosophers vote for in the upcoming election? For the purpose of this question, I wish there were greater differences among the candidates; but for my other purposes, I’m glad they’re all roughly the same.

I’ll get the ball rolling…..

PLATO: McCain. For we all know a guardian must be at least 50 years old, and we all know that while women and men can do the same things, men can do them more excellently.

MARX: Clinton. Because she resonates with “hard-working” Americans (the proletariat).


4 thoughts on “Philosophers’ views on the candidates

  1. Doug

    I think you are right, there are not really enough candidates to properly hinge the current political candidates with the great philosophers. This is obviously a silly exercise, but I thought it would be fun to see peoples thoughts anyway.

    However, I will make my predictions:

    Nietzsche: Bob Barr-the new Libertarian candidate (the reformed Barr as opposed to the Bob Barr of the 90’s Clinton impeachment). Nietzsche seemed to be strictly against any sort of religious rule as well as any unnecessary government intervention. The Libertarian Party is supposed to be for limited governmental role, upholding the strict view of the constitution (which I believe limits womens ability to participate which Nz would love), and allowing for a more Dyonisian type state.

    Pascal: Although he is out of the race, I predict he would have voted for Mike Huckabee! A religious man that seems extraordinarily confused most of the time.

    Kant: Obama-Obama (in my opinion) represents more clearly the moral and ethical man that Kant was striving for.

    Marx: I would definately disagree with Huenemann’s view that Marx would support Clintons (only recent) attempt to resonate with the “hard-working people”. I doubt Marx would vote for anyone but Nader. Nader is a candidate still remember? Nader is a very pro-union, worker rights, and socialist leader.

    Aquinas: According to the news, Catholics are supporting Senator Clinton by considerable margins (especially in PA) so for only that reason I say Clinton.

    Heidegger: NOT OBAMA :)

    Plato: I agree with Huenemann that the only candidate that would slightly match would be Mccain, but my guess is that he wouldnt vote. Mccain is a soldier; therefore only a silver type person. He is definately not a Philosopher King so I doubt Plato goes to the polls here.

    John Locke: Hmmm this one is hard to me as well, but the only person that could really match here is Bob Barr.

    Ok, I am done. I think it would just be interesting to see other people’s view of the candidates and philosophers; I think it will give a least a little psychological glimpse into the ways in which we apply the philosophy we have read and learned to governing.


  2. Doug

    Vince, you are advised to never mention nor read Ayn Rand’s work while around Dr. Huenemann; he will yell at you and tell you to read Nietzsche! I learned this from experience, but I will be damned he was right…


  3. Kleiner

    Good reasons for putting Plato with McCain and Powell have been given, but at least the Plato of the Republic is way over to the left on many issues as compared to modern conservatism. Government is involved in every aspect of life in the Republic, and all property is community-held.

    Vince’s point, though, is a great one – the only good leader is the person who does not want to lead. Recall Plato’s rap on democracy:
    Imagine a ship at sea in need of a new captain. Two people are put on the ballot. One is a charismatic figure who spends the campaign ‘pressing the flesh’. He becomes excellent at speaking, ‘feeling people’s pain’, and at the art of persuasion (in the sophistic sense). The other is a bit of a recluse, spending his time below deck studying star charts.
    On a democratic ship, obviously the first person wins. But he knows nothing about navigating the ship! Only the wise should lead.

    What is remarkable about this (paraphrased) story is how it predicts what all administrations these days do once in office – they keep campaigning. This should make us almost equally hopeless with all the candidates.

    Random thoughts:
    – Marx is interested in marginal change at the beginning, but ultimately thinks you need catastrophically bad conditions for the proletariat to encourage all out revolution. For that reason he worried about business making mild concessions to labor movements, thinking it would placate them and dull the demand for blood. I suspect all of our candidates would be guilty of that in Marx’s eyes. But, though everyone is talking ‘change’ in this election, Obama seems to have the most ‘revolutionary’ change agenda (or at least he talks a good game). But the masses may be too dulled by the opiates of comfort! Fact is, even the struggling working class in this country is unbelievably comfortable by historical and global standards.
    – I don’t think I’ve ever met a trained philosopher who thinks Rand is much worth reading.
    – An interesting article in First Things some time back about why revolution is such an attractive thing. I think it speaks to at least some of the popularity of the ‘change movements’ in this election cycle, particularly the quasi-‘messianic’ feel to the Obama movement.


  4. Kleiner

    Wouldn’t every recent administration get the full approval of Machiavelli? Dick Morris was the modern Niccolo for the Clintons.



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