Cicero at the Tea Party: Conflict in Republican Politics, Then and Now

Cicero at the Tea Party: Conflict in Republican Politics, Then and Now


[MUSIC] Stanford University.>>Okay, welcome. For those of you who don’t know me,
I’m Walter Scheidel, the chair of the Classics department. And it’s a great pleasure for me to
welcome you to the fifth Lorenz Eitner lecture on Classical Art and Culture. Lecture series designed
to publicize classics and classical scholarships to a wide audience. And very generously sponsored by Pete and
Lindsey Joost they’re great friends and benefactors of
the East Stanford Classics Program. We’re very happy to have them here again. The lecture series has been
endowed in honor, in memory, of Professor Lawrence Eitner who
died last year at the age of 89. Professor Lawrence Eitner was for
many years, for decades Director of the Stanford Art
Museum, what is now the Cantor Art Center. From the 60s to the end of the 80s, also
chaired the Art History Department and was a very prolific author and
respected teacher. This evening’s speaker is my once and
future colleague, Joy Connelly, who is currently Associate Professor
of Classics at NYU in Manhattan. Joy studied Classics at Princeton and
at Penn, and then taught it first at the University
of Washington in Seattle. And then here on the farm for a number of
years, until she left us, regrettably, in 2004 to move on up to greener pastures,
grayer pastures I guess at NYU. And it’s not an exaggeration to say
that we still haven’t been able to properly replace her. So we’re very happy to have her back
here again, if only for a few days. Now Joy works in a variety
of interrelated topics, Roman ideas about communication,
education and governance. And though that’s important for
this event, the ongoing relevance for today, for
the present, for the modern world. In 2007 Princeton published her book,
The State of Speech, Rhetoric and Political Thought in Ancient Rome. She just finished,
as she told me yesterday, a second book on Republicanism
called Talk About Virtue. She is also published widely
on Roman political theory, Latin poetry, rhetorical education and early modern reception of classical
literature and political thought. And on top of all that,
she just got a teaching award and runs the general education program at NYU. So that’s pretty impressive. What’s even more impressive and is what
makes Joy really stand out in our field is the unusual breadth of her interest and her engagement in showing
the relevance of classics today. A few years ago, she published a new
edition of a 19th century detective novel, Collins Wilkie’s The Moonstone. She reaches out to large
audiences by writing reviews in the New York Times Book Review and
the Times Literary Supplement And during the last presidential campaign in
2008, The Economist interviewed her and had her put together a podcast
looking at the political rhetoric of the presidential campaign from
the point of view of ancient oratory. She also does many,
many other things which I won’t go into. One thing I want to note or mention is that many reviewers of her book
on the State of Speech pointed out how much what Joy had to say reminded them
of the political rhetoric of today. And of course, that’s exactly the point
as Joy argues for the continuing relevance of say, Ceasaronion
notions of how oratory models and ethics of citizenship,
it ties together leaders and citizens. So in short, Joy is well on her way
to becoming a very rare creature, a public intellectual with a solid
professional ground in classics. And that’s very important to us, because
if classics doesn’t just want to survive, it wants to thrive In the 21st century,
well, we need more people like her. And I’m sure the talk we are going to
hear is going to show why that is, and how that can be accomplished. So please join me in welcoming tonight’s
speaker, Professor Joy Connolly. [APPLAUSE] Thank you so much for having me. Thank you Walter for
that wonderful introduction. Thank you all for being here on
this absolutely beautiful evening. One of my ongoing themes in the last 24 hours has
been just how lovely this place is. [LAUGH] Just making me
feel a little bitter. [LAUGH] As well. But no, its wonderful to be back. And I have to say I, looking out at all of
you, I am suddenly reminded of a moment in 2004 when I had just left Stanford and
I had just arrived at NYU and I was teaching my first lecture at NYU, so the
very first lecture that I taught there. And the course, which was in the general
education program, that I now direct, had a very high proportion of freshman in it
and I knew that this was the case, and I wanted to mark what might have been their
first, among their first lectures at NYU. And so here are all these young,
expectant faces looking out at me and I gave them my biggest smile and I put out
my arms and I said, welcome to Stanford.>>[LAUGH]
>>Anyway, well on a more serious
note just as my mind then in New York was
cast back to Stanford. And so I now I find that my mind is
cast back to New York for a moment. And if I may, I’d like to dedicate this lecture to
a colleague of mine at NYU, Tony Judd. He’s not a close, personal friend,
but he’s someone with whom I’ve had the privilege of working
on a big university committee. I spent a lot of time with him,
he’s a wonderful historian. His magnum opus is post-war, a huge study of World War II,
of the aftermath of the war rather. And his passion for
understanding the past is equalled only by his intense commitment to understanding
and improving our political discourse. About two years ago, Tony was diagnosed
with ALS and he’s now unable to walk or even breathe without assistance but
he continues to write. For those of you who might have read
his New York Review Books Pieces that continue to come out. He still teaches, he continues to be
driven by his believe that our politics has decayed, not primarily because of
the sociological problems we have, the economic problems we have, but because as I’ve heard him say several
times, we have discursive problems. We’ve forgotten how to talk about
public affairs in a useful way. And when Tony says this, he says, we have
forgotten to talk about public affairs in a useful way, not we, academics only
but we academics as well as we citizens. So I realize now in mentioning
this person, a real, a true public intellectual, that I’ve
now set the bar unattainably high for myself, but if I can contribute even
in a small way to the kind of discourse improvement that Tony has committed to,
then I’ll be satisfied.>>Can you tell me what
the significance of today is?>>I just like to be part of
a group that doesn’t like what’s going on in Washington. I particularly am really disenchanted,
because of the stimulus bill and how it was jammed through Congress and
signed, and no one had read it. It was loaded with pork. And, it takes evil people to
do Do that sort of thing.>>Can you tell me what you think we
should take away from today’s [INAUDIBLE].>>A realization that we really do
have to get back to our roots and support the Constitution. There are people here,
I’m sure, have not read it. It’s a very simple document,
it’s not very long. Everyone should go home and
read the Constitution, and realize that our government is taking
us further away from the Constitution.>>Thank you so much.>>So, that clip that we just saw, if you
can throw your mind back to it, is a clip of what seems to me to be a reasonable
person explaining to an interviewer why he’s at a meeting, the group he hopes
to connect with, what his values are. And there’s only one moment in
his answers to the interviewer where something slips for me. Something shifts, the ground shifts,
and that’s when that man says evil, that the people are evil,
who are doing what they are doing. So, the big question in my talk tonight is
how to understand and how to confront, or how to engage with, this kind of political
discourse that slips so easily into moments that I won’t even try to describe,
but moments like that in the clip. I wanna get at these issues,
this big question rather, through the traditional political
font known as Republicanism, and I wanna get at it via
a specific tradition. I wanna talk about what
the Roman thinkers and their tradition have to say to us today. So I’ll talk about civility in a time
of heated public anger, about our ideal image of the political community, about
the desirable civic habit of advocacy. And finally, how to cultivate what
I’ll call the Republican sensorium, what it is to think and feel as a citizen
living in a republic of conflict. And here is Cicero surrounded by
these images I wanted to show you. Not just tea party images that
talk about difference and split, but also the vast literature and documentary films,
the heap of films that are coming out addressing the issue
of America as two nations. So let me be clear that I put before you
the image of Cicero at the tea party not because I wanna examine in
detail the Tea Party movement, if it is a movement, there’s some debate
over that, or its motivations or aims. I want this image, rather, to focus us on
issues that have been for the most part overlooked by political theorists engaged
in the project of recovering Republican political thought for
citizenship in liberal democracies today. This neo-Roman or neo-Republican
movement is now about 25 years old. Neo-Republicans are driven
by a range of concerns. But most of them worry that
liberal political thought, concentrated as it is on the individual
and on individual rights, offers an excessively slender conception
of community and civic duties, not too low calorie a diet for the vigorous lifestyle
of the engaged participatory citizen. To them, Republican ideals offer
a promising corrective to our impoverished civic life. And because this tradition comes vividly
alive in the American founders with our own anxieties about the emerging
individualist, commercialist ethos in the early United States, Republicanism
offers attractive historical grounds from which to launch a new style of
politics, at least this is the idea. And Republican thought doesn’t
shy away from the big issues. It takes the fundamental human question,
how shall I live, and it offers a powerful, demanding answer. Live well, which is to say,
politically as a citizen, acting always with a view to the effect
our acts will have on our fellows, all part owners of public affairs. And we remember here, res publica,
the original meaning, public thing, public matter, public affair. This is what the res publica is,
the res populi, the thing, the affair, the matter of the people. Thanks for your patience,
as I cope with the technology. This is ironic that it’s a picture
of Cass Sunstein’s republic.com, because in that book he has a lot to say
about the internet and technology and its role and citizen participation. And it’s exactly that moment that
the PowerPoint decides to stop working. [LAUGH] So thinkers like these,
Cass Sunstein, Maurizio Viroli whose book there For Love
of Country is in the middle of the slide, and Michael Sandel and his book,
Democracy’s Discontent. But for them the essence of the Republican
legacy that begins with Rome is an ideal of virtuous community, bound together
by zeal for self-government and a deliberative consensus
regarding the common good. And perhaps, Cullen Murphy, here visible
in the two editions of his book, the one that came out in the US on the left, the
one that came out in the UK, on the right. Perhaps he developed this argument
the furthest in this book, which came out in 2007, which suggests
that the United States should fortify institutions that promote assimilation,
this is a quote from him, by establishing a compulsory national
service program for American youth. A modern version, as he himself said,
of the Roman legions. So, many neo-republican arguments find a
common ground with deliberative democracy theory, which seeks to improve our
politics by fostering citizens’ capacity to engage in deliberation over values and
policies. A theme, deliberation,
that finds vigorous proponents in the historical example
of the American founders. Now keep in mind, just as a factoid to
root your thinking about how important deliberation was to the founders in
the late 18th and early 19th century, one statistic, that in some parts of
the American colonies in the 1790s, literacy rates went up to,
in some parts, 95%. An astonishing statistic for
the 18th century, and one that I say gives some ground,
gives some meat to that dry sentence that the founders
were interested in deliberation. And this was a literate, engaged
newspaper reading, debating culture. But the primacy of virtue in
the Republican tradition means that even the arguments of the coolest New York
republican heads tend ultimately to return to it, to virtue, as a question,
and to its role in civic society. In 1997, the philosopher Philip Pettit
published an influential book entitled Republicanism,
which is probably the most influential, most cited book in
the tradition over the last 20, tI have to add now,
over the last 13 years since it came out. And this book argue that the Roman
definition of freedom was more robust than the classical liberal one, the classical
liberal definitions of freedom as negative freedom, freedom from,
freedom as non-interference. Pettit claimed that because of the
importance of slavery in Roman culture, and the need to distinguish
slaves from free, the Romans understood freedom not of
non-interference but as non-domination. That is, the condition of being free
from any threat of domination, real or possible, that might limit the scope
of free choice and action. Now Pettit sought admirably, I think,
to ground his theory in the real world. And he insisted that the threat
of domination by the powerful, including those in office,
meant that a strong democratic republic must incorporate mechanisms of Democratic,
excuse me, public accountability. But these mechanisms can’t run on air,
their fuel is a common culture of virtue, Petit is compelled to admit in the last
couple of chapters of his book, of civility, of generosity, of trust. Now here, addressing the challenge of
instilling these virtues, civility, generosity, and trust,
in our schools, in our prisons, in our In our welfare programs
an important civic site for him. Pettit drew on a rich
tradition of ancient thought, especially the four canonical
virtues of Plato and Cicero. Wisdom, courage, justice,
especially I should say courage, the kind of courage that is related to the willingness of citizens to
sacrifice themselves for the common good. And finally, the fourth virtue after
wisdom, justice, and courage, moderation. What Plato called sophrosyne, or
what Plato called by a variety of names, but propriety, or decorum. Now courage is the favorite virtue of
the most important modern philosopher for the Neo-Republicans, and
that is Hannah Arendt. But for deliberative Republicans like
Pettit, acutely aware that politics in a diverse society entails difference and
disagreement, the last of those four canonical virtues, moderation or
propriety, deserves special attention. For political discourse to
entertain a plurality of views, but where action at some
point has gotta be taken. Decisions must be justifiable,
even to those who disagree, right? Or even to those who think
that they’re losing out. So deliberation can’t rest on whim,
it can’t rest on sentiment, but on reasonable arguments
undertaken in a civil mood. At this point, neo-Republicans find
themselves in something of a bind, because part of the appeal of
the tradition is the Republican attention to the affective, not affective, but
the effective dimension of political life. The sense of belonging, the patriotic
passion that citizens feel for their patria, their father land, exemplified in
Aeneas’s love for his father Anchises. And here’s the famous Roman wall painting,
depicting the scene of Aeneas’s rescue of his father Anchises
from the falling walls of Troy. To liberals, especially after
the nationalist catastrophes of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, patriotism, this kind of love of the fatherland,
is a dangerous romance indeed. And some of the pictures you are going
to see in a second crystallize the reason why. The sentiments here reflect some core
ideas in the Republican tradition. A call for shared values,
some of them common ground. Love of country, even. And freedom, not this one. But the desire for commonality has
obviously slid into fear of difference. Here, passions, and I think these are sincere passions,
have utterly displaced civility. And historically speaking, this image
of the Republic is misconceived. And we have arguments we can
bring to bear against this. But so it turns out, in rather a different
way and for different reasons, is the near Republicans
image of the ideal republic. John Duigan, eloquent warrior about
American collective identity, argued that the image of the polity
that we citizens hold in our mind exerts a profound effect
on our political views. It’s important to get the imagery right,
he believed, because it’s a lodestar for our political imaginations, it fuels our
sense of the horizons of the possible. It’s worth stopping and thinking actually,
if you want to, for a moment, what image comes to your mind when
you think about the United States. Is it a flag, is it a passport,
is it a crowd? What is it, and
what does it mean for you now, and how quickly does that image change? Well the ideal of a unified cohesive
collective is one side, one facet, of the history of
the Republic’s image of itself. But perhaps the single most interesting
thing about the history of the idea of the Republic in the west
is that at any given moment, the republic is always a double signifier. Like Romulus and Remus nursed by
the she-wolf it’s eternally twinned, a pair, a two faced sign,
a combination of binary oppositions. Just as Rome has always symbolized
both heroic self sacrifice, and here is George Washington as Cincinnatus,
in a statue by the way much maligned by his contemporaries who didn’t like
the immortality it appeared to give him. Rome has also stood for self-indulgent tyranny, and
here’s a cover of The New Yorker. Doesn’t need explanation. Well just as Rome has embodied these
binaries, so its ideal best condition has been eternally understood on
the one hand as unity, consensus, and homogeneity, and on the other as intense
and relentless internal conflict. Each of these images of the Republic
owns an overlapping but distinctive repertoire of citizen habits. So before addressing these,
let me pause for a moment on this double nature of the
Republic, which is a fascinating thing. It finds its roots in antiquity and
the histories of Sallust and Tacitus, the virtuous Rome is a traditional Rome. And tradition means unity, a single
language, a shared history, committal worship, an empire gained under the united
leadership of a strong senatorial order that assimilated or eradicated at its
choice the foreign and the alien. Contrast the autocrat ruled empire,
a motley place where, again, Tacitus and satirists like Juvenal, rivers of foreign
speech flow like sewers into Roman streets and arbitrary emperors toss power
to immigrant freedman with no Latin. In this narrative, American thinkers
like Adams and Jefferson and early defenders of public education,
found an exemplary fiction of cultural homogeneity and
the terrors of its loss. Faced with a large, diverse,
infant citizen rate, they hope to stabilize American identity
by instilling a common culture. This was America as Rome,
as assimilation success story. All the citizens speak English
as the Romans spoke Latin, again according to this fantasy,
and whose elites, of course, spoke French, just as Roman elites
could also speak some Greek. It’s a nice match. This elite inflected ideal also
draws on earlier writers like the Florentine Francesca Guicciardini,
the friend and rival of Machiavelli, who argued for a stable republic led by
the educated wealthy, who themselves, in turn, would be saved from corruption
by the scrutiny of the commoners. This is an idea that you find a lot in
the writings of the American founders. But while John Quincy Adams was at Harvard
teaching the story, The Young Elites, to take one example of the most extreme,
but it’s a true historical example. John Quincy Adams taught Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard in
the early 19th century. While he was doing that, different
Americans were latching on to another Roman Republic preserved
in ancient sources. A nation spellbound by a new English
version of Plutarch’s Lives, avidly consumed images of Gaius Marius,
there on the left. And this is actually Sam Houston
dressed up as Gaius Marius on the left, [LAUGH]
and also Spartacus. Spartacus needs no introduction, right? The gladiator defender of freedom. These images heroize the American farmer,
but also, in a new development, the factory worker. And let me just say one thing
about Gaius Marius, for those of you who haven’t been
reading Roman history lately. He is an interesting figure,
well off but not noble. A general who becomes consul seven times,
and in the process really breaks
Roman Republican politics. So he’s an interesting image for
populist Americans to seize on to. References start to proliferate
to the brothers Gracchi, the heroes of Roman popular politics,
whose reform efforts, also preserved in Plutarch,
ended in their violent deaths. In the 1830s,
labor activists start signing the name Gracchus to columns
in working mens’ newspapers. At the same time, New York City radical
Levi Slamm names his paper The Plebeian and he’s not the only
one to do such a thing. And then perhaps my favorite example and
one I really brought from Richard Martin because of his, like mine,
Irish-American background. Mike Walsh,
a tough Irish-American who ran a gang of Bowery radicals as well as a paper
known as The Subterranean. Before he was elected to
the New York State Assembly in the 1840s, he praised Salas for recording. As he saw it, a speech in which
Gaius Marius abused the effeminate Roman nobility and proudly embraced his
plain upbringing and rough character. Walsh said, if Gaius Marius were alive today, he would
be a sub, a reader, of this newspaper. So this it the virtuous
Rome of Salisbury’s and Machiavelli’s discourses on Livy. Internally conflicted and
consequently, free and powerful, as one chapter title
in Machiavelli actually says. This republicanism is defined
by the collective advocacy of interests by the haves and the have nots. For Machiavelli,
secure republican equilibrium is intense antagonism between the classes that
stops just short of violence and that’s an important stopping point. So this is the republican
tradition that’s gone largely unnoticed in the republican thought. And that sits uneasily with republican
talk of a cohesive community. But my purpose here tonight is not to
troll through history finding more examples, as fun as that might be. Instead I want to explore
the more interesting question of the habits we should
adopt to enjust our civic practice to an image of
the Republic that have conflict. De-consensus as opposed to consensus,
at it’s heart, and so we come to Cicero. Conventional wisdom interprets Cicero
as a champion of the senatorial elite. But I’m gonna argue now that we’ll find
inspiration in Cicero precisely because he was so keenly attuned to
the corrupting role of money. The self-interest of entrenched
self-righteous elites, and then sometimes,
fearsome dynamic of crowd politics. Cicero himself is a doubled figure. He didn’t fit the typical mold of the
traditional Roman politician in the early first century BC. He was a novus homo, a new man. The first to win the consulship
in his family and thus lacking the pantheon of ancestors in
which his senatorial colleagues rejoiced. And I have wondered, and
I think this may well be true, not that we can excavate the psychology
of Cicero from our distance today. But whether it was this movement
from a marginalized, well off but marginalized suburban identity to
a central urban one that made Cicero such a creative generator of alternative
ethical and political possibilities. Cicero’s surviving corpus also
embodies the double tradition that I just described, for it articulates
both conceptions of the republic. In his De Legibus or On the Laws,
a dialogue that purports to rewrite Plato’s laws for the Roman
context, Cicero represents the republic as an instantiation of natural law
in a divinely ordain cosmic order. And a few passages in
Cicero’s De Republica, or Republic, the partner
dialogued the laws and obviously a response to Plato’s to great
dialogue, appear to echo that theme. Perhaps the most famous
passage in De Re Publica, and it didn’t come out quite
as big as I hoped [LAUGH]. I’ll just read one sentence of it, plays
on the synonymy of the Latin words for musical harmony and
deliberative agreement to make a case for the domination of the senatorial order. Cicero says, just as in the case of
string instruments or pipes or singing, a certain harmony or concentus must
be maintained out of distinct sounds. And this harmony, though arising out
of a blending of very dissimilar notes, is nonetheless made concordant and
pleasingly agreeing and so a state is made harmonious. By the common agreement of the most
dissimilar elements through a blending of the highest, lowest and intermediate
orders, as if they were musical notes. Now the rest of the dialogue,
however, and this passage gets cherry picked all the time by political
theorists, but the rest of the dialogue. Treats the republic as a polity, founded,
renewed and strengthened by conflict. Nowhere is this clearer than in the
archaeology of early Roman history that fills that second book of
the five book dialogue. Here, Cicero paints the city as an arena
of struggle between senate and people. He draws on the same ancient sources
as his contemporary Sallust and the later Augustan era historian, Levi. This is the well known story of
foundation and constitution, known as the Conflict of the Orders. According to this story,
from the very beginning, the Roman constitution evolves through
a series of conflicts where the powerful minority seeks to maximize its power and
the people staunchly resist. And so just one example at the beginning
with Romulus the founder of Rome dies, his royal council tries to establish power for
itself, tries to keep power for itself. And the rebellious people immediately
choose a king from another town to ensure that the nobility
will not dominate them. And each subsequent king in Cicero’s
narrative and he marks this point and underscores it. Each king carefully arranges for
popular ratification of his rule separately from
the approval of the nobles. So even the recognition of a king
where the opinion of the nobles and the people work in harmony,
they’re distinguished in the text. By the separate marking of the King of
the Senate and people as different groups. And finally, when Brutus expels
the last king, the tyrant Tarquin, the cycle of antagonism begins afresh. With the rich senators aggressively
seizing every chance they get to exploit the people and
the people agitating for the laws and the institutions that will protect them. But if the antagonism between senate and
people is permanent, which is precisely what the cyclical
nature of Cicero’s account suggests, then citizens also have got to
seek the means to channel it. Well how can this be done? When conflict runs deep, it’s not clear
that cultivating dispositions like civility, self-sacrifice or
civic friendship goes far enough. But the tail of the conflict of the orders
I think points the way of other habits of citizenship that we can foster. In all accounts of the conflict
of the orders, Ciciero, Sallust, Levi, an important turning point is
reached at the moment when the Office of the Tribunate is established by
the traditional dating of 494 BCE. In Cicero, this occurs as
a crisis caused by aristocratic overreach which leads to
a secession of the people. Which leads to the election of
spokesmen who swear an oath to protect the people from senatorial violence. And these are the men who become tribunes,
the protectors of popular liberty. And it’s interesting
that even in the laws, a pretty comparatively
philosophically conservative work, Cicero defends the virtuous role of the
Tribunet in protecting popular interests. He tells his brother, his partner in the dialogue, they’re
crucial to the functioning of the state. You have to take the bad with the good, actually is exactly what Cicero says,
literally. Cicero’s qualified defense
of the tribument and the laws as an institutionalization of the
channeling of civic conflict takes a much stronger form in his own speeches in
public and the forum to the people. There he talks admiringly of the tribune
as the public advocate, not surprisingly. A little more surprisingly,
he sets himself up, even when he’s serving as Consul, the highest office in the land,
as of kind of proto Tribune avatar. And he, in one speech to the people, couples this language with
references to liberty. Just again, a factoid that helps
put the meat on the bones of this. In one speech alone,
he uses the word libertas 22 times. So this is really an aggressive attempt
on Cisneros’ part to claim himself as, put himself forward as the advocate
figure for the people. But I’m frankly a lot less interested in
Cicero’s own political machinations than I am with the conceptual implications
of this figure of the advocate, who’s adversarial, who’s interrupting, who’s disruptive,
that’s what their job is in the state. And now at this point another lesser
known thread of the Republican tradition reveals itself. In northern Italy, starting in the middle
of the 13th century, interest starts to grow in Cicero’s rhetorical writing,
so it never gone away but we see an uptake in interest in copies and
circulation of manuscripts and so on. Especially Cicero’s youthful treaties Most
people think it’s his most boring one or the most boring two. De Inventione on Invention and
the Rhetorica ad Herennium which at the time, though not now was
believed to be the work of Cicero. These are handbooks, they’re easy to read,
they’re accessible and they’re all about argument. Now this interest in this period in North Italy should be distinguished
from the well known Italian interest in a different genre called
the Areus Dentaminus, a handbook genre that shaped Scironian theory to the needs
of notaries and letter writers. This had been flourishing
since the early 1100s. But this other Cisneronism that I’m
talking about focused almost exclusively on the spoken word in adversarial,
antagonistic situations. The paradigm here is not the ditter
speech, but the courtroom debate. As Virginia Cox has shown, the R’s are in Gandhi,
the art of Harang is in this title. Replace the three way relationship Of
classical rhetoric, that is the orator, his adversary, and the judge or jury with a two way relation,
speaker versus speaker. Writing in France, in exile from
Italy in the 1260s, characterized this kind of speech as structured by
the presence of tensione, conflict. Not all of us are training to be lawyers,
Latiney admits, but everybody benefits from developing
the habit of masterful speaking in conditions of tensione in the swift
back and forth of hostile arguments. Under receptive conditions,
the speaker, sure, will cultivate the goodwill
of his audience. But otherwise Dan at Heronium offered, for
these readers, a battery of techniques from insinuation to agile
manipulation to assertive challenge. One of the most popular speeches
in Italy in this period, while people are beginning to
read in Dan and the Heronium, and this is a text that Keeps being copied and
read through the 16th century, are the. These speeches not all of which were
delivered historically speaking were composed for Cicero’s prosecution
of the rapacious governor for his maladministration of
his providence Sicily. Reading them, we glimpse the rich
resources Ciceronian rhetoric offered educated North Italians at a time of
intense political experimentation. The Verrines, and I’ve just given you
a picture [LAUGH] of the Sicilian coast because I’m about to bring
this image to your mind. The Verrines feature memorable set pieces. Word pictures that illustrate in painful
detail the outrageous committed by various during his tenure on the island
and the most famous of them and this is why I’m giving you the picture of
the coast an Italian named Julius Gaius hangs on a cross that furies
has put up on the shore lines. So that Gaius must gaze over the streets
of Misina towards his home in Italy he’s been convicted of a crime. Did you stop to ask who he was,
Cicero asks, did you hear his cries, no, Varies has, it turns out,
illegally crucified a citizen of Rome. Despite the man’s desperate wails
which Cicero imitates in the speech, Civis romanus sum, I am a Roman citizen. What Cicero models in his attack on
Verres is the reason I think the Flemish monk Jacque to take one example,
a popular teacher and writer active in Bologna in the 1280s. This is why chose the word advocatus,
advocate to translate Cicero’s Orater. So where Cicero uses the word oratus,
speaker uses advocatus. Because Cicero speaks here
as the citizen advocate. The speaker who takes the part
of the person who has no part, as the French theorist
Jacques Ranciere would say. Who speaks for
the voice of those who have no voice. In fact, the speeches go a little farther. They give a literal voice
to those who lack one. The famous innovation of Cicero’s strategy
in the Verres was the amassing of evidence from various Sicilian victims, which
they came to Rome to deliver in person. The first time, according to rhetorical
lore, an advocate laid such weight on the word of provincials allowing them to
defend their own cause, at such great length, and so early in the rhetorical
proceedings, in the legal proceedings. Instead of following the norm,
delivering a long set speech then, Cicero is underscoring the agnonistic
element of this legal procedure. He contests evidence, he demands that various advocate
cross-examine his witnesses and so on. So the politics modeled
here is aggressive. There are no calls for
common ground or dialogue. And the Varian’s forensic argument, has another important power
to unsettle institutions. The thrust of Cicero’s opening
argument in the first speech, is that the institutionalization of senatorial
domination over certain legal proceedings. Because at this point, only Senators were able to judge
this kind of corruption case. Brought against members
of their own order. Cicero says this has done irreparable harm
to the legitimacy of this institution. If the senators are going to deliver
themselves from popular hatred, resentment, dishonor and disgrace. I’m quoting, Cicero says they must
be subjected to litigious violence. The people demand advocates and
their demand, Cicero said, is justified. So this means that Cicero as advocate
must disrupt the settling of authority into the comfortable, self interested
lap that state institutions can provide. Republican justice, it turns out, requires the occasional
disruption of authority by advocacy. In Cicero’s rhetorical treatises
the advocate becomes his model for a Republican citizenship. In general and this is the reason,
I think, the ideal man, the weird bonus akindeparatos,
receives his education, in the law courts, specifically, not in the deliberative
context of the Senate, not getting display speeches,
epiditic speeches. Well, so far, so good, but still we haven’t reached the innovative
core of advocacy thinking. What are we to do? When good will seems
thoroughly displaced by anger. When there seems to be no room for reason. When politics have been defined in terms
of the absolute division of violence. Doesn’t aggressively pursuing one’s
own side just exacerbate the problem? Surely it’s just better to stay silent. Well, etymologically, advocacy,
from ad voco, means speaking to, right. But in practice, of course,
it means speaking for, speaking on behalf of another. And usually more than just one other. For example, in the Verrine,
Cicero carefully prevents the case from turning into a matter
of Sicilians versus Romans. He refuses to argue for
various conviction, simply on the grounds that the Roman jury
owes sympathy and pity to the Sicilians. At every point, rather,
in the main speeches, he connects the idea of justice for
the Sicilians, that’s one other. With the larger issue of
the interests of the Roman state, and other, that’s also kind of, we. The habit of speaking to, toward,
or against another person, while at the same time speaking for,
is in Ciceronian rhetorical theory and in his speeches,
renders the speaking self oddly dissonant. And it’s this dissonance, uncomfortable
as it is, that occupies the heart of what I’ll call, in the last section,
the Republican sensorium. When I teach Cicero’s speeches, students
often tell me that the thing they find most alien and difficult about
them is the speaker’s own persona. They grow accustomed over
the course of a week or two to one rhetorical Cicero,
maybe the comic one, or the aggressive, the self-glorifying one,
when another suddenly appears. Maybe self-abnegating or self-dismissive,
that’s a typical pattern. In his Exordia, the introductions to
his speeches, Cicero often dwells on himself and his sense of incapacity,
his bewilderment perhaps of being torn between two sides, even sometimes
his unwillingness to speak at all. He models himself as split in two,
caught between two desires and wills. He’s a literally partial voice. He pauses to note subtle nuances
in the degree of his emotions, and he comments on the audience’s state of
mind and why they might feel differently. Since the 14th century,
commentators have accounted for the split voices in Cicero,
as part of his battery of techniques for the captatio benevolentiae, the seizing of
benevolence or good will for his audience. But re-reading his speeches in the light
of his philosophical thinking, and in the light of a later
tradition steeped in Cicero and in Republican political theory,
suggests to me a different explanation. In his essay Idea for a Universal History
with a Cosmopolitan Purpose, Kant figures the citizen in the civil
state as a self in eternal conflict. He wants to live with others, Kant says,
but he also wants to be alone. Wants to live well with others,
he also wants to live selfishly. But Adam Smith most thoroughly
elaborates Cicero’s notion and strategy in his speeches in
Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments when Smith speaks of dividing
the self into two persons. One, the agent, the other, the judge. The judge which Smith famously
calls the impartial spectator, the great inmate of the breast,
calls us to account for our errors, focusing particularly, Smith says, on how
we daily affect the sentiments of others. Do we make them happy,
do we make them angry, sad and so on. Smith rests his account of moral sense
on his belief that we are all split selves whose internal conversation is
simply how we all make moral judgments. But he acknowledges that the split self is
a fragile entity that tends to react to corrupting forces like a bad public
opinion or by the presence of wealth or people with noble blood who
are telling him how to think. He reacts to corrupting forces by
reducing his own internal division. It’s as though the self
hunches into itself, and the impartial spectator loses
its critical distance and thus, to Smith, its capacity to regard
other people, to see other people. So in order to be virtuous,
Smith concludes, we have to carefully cultivate in
ourselves a sense of doubleness. And often those doubles are at odds. So what’s distinctive to
me in Cicero’s speeches, where he frequently refers to
himself as split or double or divided, isn’t the rhetorical strategy
itself, but the sensorium behind it. The sense of the self,
that a self is being fashioned here, that devoted as it is to speaking for
others, is never, even when it’s at its nearly angriest,
never fully or clearly a whole single self, but a divided
and often internally conflicted one. The advocate then takes a strong stand,
but it acknowledges ways in which its
allegiance is drawed elsewhere. It does not expect trust or friendship but aggressively turns the opponents’ tactics
on themselves, only preserving just enough awareness of its own internal division
to ask, wait, who am I speaking for? How am I being viewed by
others who are not like me? And the advocate’s answer to the question
is, I speak not only to and for myself, but for and to another,
or others, not like me. We can contrast in Cicero’s own work
the speeches of outright abuse. Something like the in Pisonem although
not, I think, the Philippics, where Cicero speaks with a venomous poison that
leaves no room for double-mindedness. That is not advocacy. If we see the internally divided citizen
as a living embodiment of the divided Republic, we might thus re-imagine and
maybe reclaim the pervasive image in the Western tradition of the heroic Roman
showing off his split and suffering body. We might see this in new ways. Like the popular image of
Mucius Scaevola if you can see that, holding up his burnt left
hand in proof of his heroism. And this is a painting by Rubens, or in this wonderful 1531
painting by Hans Baldung. I like this particularly because it has,
probably by accident, red, white, and blue background. [LAUGH] In the back, and there is Scaevola on the left putting his
hand in the fire, going through torture. Holding up then his
permanently mutilated body. Just as these figures display the wounds,
the cuts that they take for the good of the Republic,
so Cicero, in turn, highlights his own internal divisions when
he takes up the challenge of advocacy. Cicero’s speaking self
is not conceived as, and in fact I think it’s not,
wholly autonomous. In the course of fashioning himself as a
self committed to the instruction, moving, and charming of the populace,
he must constitute himself as an oxymoron, a plural one, the possessor of
one tongue but not univocal. While the Republican sensorium
comes at a certain cost, one of the things that has to go is,
if my picture is right, is the aggressively complacent celebration of
oneness that some people call patriotism. It’s true that being part of
a citizenry involves a feeling of collective belonging. I think nobody would deny that. But the Roman Republic, and
the American one as well, is also familiar with what one political
theorist, Patchen Markell, calls negative affiliations, where a collective
identity is formed out of uncertainties, out of tensions, out of difference. Cicero speaks of his own double
citizenship, of his hometown of Arpino, and Rome. And this resonates, perhaps, with
the tensions between citizens today and their identifications with states and
federal government, or the tension immigrants feel
regarding their country of birth. So let me, on my way to a close, contrast
this T-shirt with a different picture. I hope you can see this. This image is not, legally speaking,
citizen identity, but I think I take it as an evocative representation
of Republican citizenship today. This is a picture of a roof tile. It’s decorated with sandal prints by slave women from a South Central
Italian farmhouse in Samnite territory. These women together, sufficiently
literate to write their names, one in Oscan, at the top,
and one in Latin, below. And they write the names
of their owners as well, signifying the fact that
they’re certainly slaves. These women to me embody a play
of identities with which many Americans are deeply familiar. Two different languages,
suggesting bilingualism, recording a life of hard work, but
the desire for memory in a future time. This picture, to me,
symbolizes the multiplex awareness. The acknowledgement of split or double self that’s required of
the true republican citizen. A status these women, of course,
were not allowed to hold. Tonight, then,
we’ve examined the importance of conflict, in the history of
the idea of the republic. I’ve talked about
the significance of advocacy and the finally the split
republicans in sorium. In closing, let me suggest that the Roman
writings I’ve discussed point the way towards advocating for
liberal education, which, as many of you probably know,
is entering tenuous conditions indeed. Liberal education, with its focus on,
and its attention to careful habits of reading and reflection, to the knowledge
and analytical skills of history and politics and economics to the aesthetic
experiences offered by mathematics as well as the fine arts,
cultivates a multivalent awareness. It creates young people attuned to the
positions of others, divided, attentive, alive, rather, to the divided allegiances
in themselves as they leave the family, and they grow into young adulthood. We need I think, to configure that
attunement as the goal of education for citizenship. We need to rethink the American quest for
the reintegrated whole self, language, that I’m sure is
familiar to all of you, and look again at other American
habits of self questioning. Of memory, of the acknowledgement
of our past traditions, and the different ways in which they pull us. We need to remind ourselves
that the conflicted self and the conflicted state lie at the core
of the Roman republican tradition. And if we do that, we might redefine
the republic in the public sphere and make a space for
liberally educated students in it. Thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>That’s a good question, and Cicero doesn’t use of course the word
sophrosyne or really anything close to it. He could have used a word
like moderatio consistently. So we’re referring to a particular passage
at the end of De Officiis book one, another factoid that helps root
De Officiis on moral duties in your minds. De Officiis was not just the second book
to be printed after the Gutenberg Bible. It was the third, because it went into
a second edition before anything else. So we’re talking about arguably
one of the most important books in the history of human kind. So this is an important question. So Cicero, in his translation of the four
canonical virtues, this last one, platonic sophrosyne, self control,
self moderation, self restraint. Cicero translates famously with a variety
of terms, and this is not unusual for Cicero in his translations or adaptations
of Plato to use more than one term. But what does he use? Sometimes propriety, sometimes,
and most often, decorum. But he’s gotten there through a couple
of steps that I think are worth looking back on before I
get to the actual answer. Cicero was reading Plato
through the stoic Prometheus, who has already made the transition in his
version of the four canonical virtues. Sophrosyne in Prometheus
becomes that which is fitting. That’s what seems to lead Cicero,
right, so thinking of propriety as the essence of c. And propriety, of course, if you know
Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments, that’s the beginning and
the end of that book. It shows how rooted he
is in De Officiis one. So by the time one gets to Cicero and decorum as the reenvisioning
of platonic sophrosyne, the tension has been resolved,
I think, from Cicero’s point of view. Because the essence of decorum is,
and really, Smith adapts this the most insightfully, and it’s really much of
this part of the end of the Theory of Moral Sentiments is just a running
adaptation of Cicero, De Officiis. In the De Officiis one is, well,
first of all there are two things, there’s the four personae theory, where
Cicero sees the self as coming into being. And he expresses the theory using
this word, persona, masks, but more interestingly, and I think really
getting to the heart of Cicero’s concern, he talks about propriety as something
always as a matter of spectacle. You know you’re always being watched,
and you’re watching others watch you. So that’s the backdrop to the sense
that the self in action in Cicero is always a spectating and
spectated self, and it makes room for what I’m seeing in the exordia
in other points in the speeches. This sense that, one,
when he thinks about himself speaking, he maintains or
deploys this doubled split persona. But it’s still decorum because we’re
not talking about sophrosyne anymore. The [LAUGH] and I immediately have to
censor myself because I could go on for an hour, which you don’t want to hear. I’ll give you a practical and
a theoretical answer. The practical answer is that,
starting in the fall, every instructor who teaches in the MAP,
as we call it, the Morris Academic Plan, whether they’re teaching quantitative
reasoning or lab science or philosophy. Will have to include on their syllabuses
or behind their syllabuses, and they can disagree with it and argue
with it with the students if they want. But they have to include on their
syllabuses that the students receive on their first day an account of
general education that I wrote, which is largely much of
what you heard today. About the need to think through
one’s liberal education, aside from all the distractions
of life when you’re 18 and 19 years old, as preparation for
life of democratic citizenship. And I can tell you more in another context
about how complicated it was to get my faculty committee to agree to this. It was not an easy thing. But once I presented it as something one
could use as the stuff of argument with students, if you didn’t
want to take this line, then that got through
most of the disagreement. But, so practically, I thought it
was crucially important at a big, sprawling urban university, very diverse. People coming to the university with,
in some cases, absolutely no expectations of what a liberal arts education is,
no habit of thinking about it. It seemed, to me, crucially important to
get them thinking about it, or to try to. We all know that when you do something in
the classroom, you’re always only trying. [LAUGH] You’re never actually doing. More abstractly and more briefly,
We’re putting in a series of, this is partly practical, a series of
discussion opportunities for students that we’re gonna give some academic credit for
that will be much more open-ended. That will be student driven debate
about how to own their own education. How to think about it and configure it for themselves as they imagine the role that
they’re gonna take on in the future. And I don’t know exactly
what that’s gonna look like. So there are a couple of fronts. Yeah?>>So it’s kind of a challenge for
Cicero or for republican theorists to embrace conflict,
right? There’s a lot of Plato, Aristotle,
conflict is bad, right?>>Yep.
>>The tradition they’re moving up from. And so you’ve got to come up with some
argument about why conflict is good. One of the arguments that has been
made about why conflict may me be good within a constitutional structure
is because it encourages competition. We’ve been, competition between
different institutional groups within a constitutional order into competing with other institutionalized
groups to provide public books. You’ve got executive competing with someone who [INAUDIBLE] and so on. Is there anything of that,
you know, sits well.>>No because it’s not
a contest between equal. And that’s actually why
I find the Romans so interesting to think with because
the presumption of I think many political theorist working
the Republican tradition is that they are talking about equal playing
field on that and here I think. The sociology of academia
is playing a role. This is the place where we are for
the most part. As people, as citizens, as private
individuals and our families and so on. What Roman thinking and
what the Roman experience, to use a slightly grandiose term, does for
me is to put me in the place of people who are thinking through politics where a lot
of people are totally dis-empowered and struggling just barely to have
a place in the citizenry. Any thought of engagement,
of control, of shifting the political discourse one way or the other,
is completely off the table, right? For the vast majority of Roman citizens. But as I say that’s precisely what makes
me interested in them because it’s not clear to me that United States,
in practice, is working much differently. There are many, many more opportunities,
don’t get me wrong, I mean the opportunities are rife for
citizen engagement. But the realities of, you know,
life when one is making $25,000 a year or when one is distracted by working
more than one job or all the many, many other in the long list of
factors we can all make up on our own. Means that I wanna try to
think about modes of political engagement that come out of,
historically, a context where, as I said,
a whole lot of people are dis-empowered. Because that for me, sets the stage
differently and, I think, usefully. But it’s a really good
question because it’s one for first I think about conflict as
productive in the way that you described. But this is definitely, I’m glad you asked, because this is
definitely not that kind of competition. Yeah Daniel.>>Can the two personality advocate
avoid slipping to situations where the non-citizen, non-democratically
invested others are demonized. I’m thinking, in particular of Cicero [INAUDIBLE] where
all the Jews are systematically bad. Now in one level that’s those moments
of integration are part of a rhetorical strategy. But they do, I think,
get us to asking how capable a citizen is of making sense of non-citizens in
this midst and how far he might be willing to reconcile him or
herself to the thought of difference. And the difference that emerges in context
between citizens and non-citizens.>>That’s an excellent question. First of all there’s absolutely no
question over what the validity of what you just said about Cicero
being completely willing, utterly willing to use techniques. Again nothing new to us and familiar
to us but techniques of demonization that deny humanity to large numbers,
large groups of people. .And I hope that it was clear
from the way i was talking about the texts that in nowhere am I
presenting Cicero as an exemplar. Really in any way in his own practice. It’s really the thinking behind
it that gets me thinking and maybe you as a result. But I think to take the [INAUDIBLE]
since that’s the example that I talked about briefly earlier,
there Cicero is very careful to, as I said, make sure that the Sicilians
are not always the object of attention. In part because he knows he needs
to build bridges around them or build paths of arguments around them. Having established the fact that they
have been victimized, he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t actually allow that
recognition to go further. So that’s another problem because for
Cicero the Sicilians are the victims, there now stuck
in that In that position, and that does a certain kind of damage
to them, ethically, politically too. So in a sense,
I think I’m restating the your question the interplay between the alien group and
the familiar known group. In the speeches when
the Cicero talks about these, when he deploys these two,
raises the question for us. He himself, in terms of commentary on
those two groups and their interplay doesn’t offer much beyond the flagging
of the power differential. Cicero, again, is really attentive to
the different kinds of power people have. So, as far as that goes,
he at least lays open what he’s doing. He never tries to cover up, or re-describe
as powerful, those who are powerless. But that’s about as far as he goes.>>Well, if there are no further questions
>>[LAUGH]>>[INAUDIBLE]>>[APPLAUSE].>>Thank you very much.>>For more,
please visit us at Stanford.edu

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