|About the Book|
Magnanimity & Statesmanship is a collection of studies by political scientists tracing the changing understanding of great political leadership thru the history of political philosophy. Covering thinkers from Aristotle to Nietzsche, &MoreMagnanimity & Statesmanship is a collection of studies by political scientists tracing the changing understanding of great political leadership thru the history of political philosophy. Covering thinkers from Aristotle to Nietzsche, & including treatments of Washington & Churchill, it addresses the timely question: What makes for great statesmanship?Review by Jason W. Atwell, Business Instructor:In summary, this book raises several thought-provoking questions about what leadership should be. Magnanimous man, while not necessarily restricted to the male gender, has three foundational traits: 1) a naturally occurring feeling of superiority &/or contempt for others & their everyday activities, 2) self-knowledge of this superiority & 3) using these superior abilities/skills/endowments to perform noble public acts not necessarily out of joy but out of duty when the opportunity arrives. Basically a great leader accepts the normal everyday misdeeds of their fellow but inferior egalitarian-minded & democratic citizens, & rises to the occasion to fix dire situations or answer great causes in response to or despite public opinion. Some of the questions that arise from such an individual are: where does this sense of superiority come from- what moral compass acts as north & guides this individual- what deeds are at a great enough level to be considered adequate for magnanimous man- what historical individuals may be considered magnaminous man- is magnanimous man still magnaminous if a situation requiring their abilities never occurs during their lifetime?--just to list a few. Great deeds performed during battle are suggested to be sufficient of magnanimous man such as General Patton or the self-sacrifice of a Roman soldier during the Punic Wars, but not exclusively limited to war-time. Religious martyrom in the example of Thomas More is also suggested as sufficient. Great political leadership with humility in the form of Abraham Lincoln is suggested as sufficient, as well as Winston Churchills vision & sense of destiny. Jesus is set as a possible litmus test for magnanimous man. But the questions still remain. Without Christianity, what would be the source of universal morality to set the solid standard, if there is one, for magnanimous man? If someone endowed with magnanimity or great soul lives without the opportunity to use their abilities, are they really magnanimous? Why arent the virtues of magnanimity & justice inherently connected? Lets not forget that history is written by the victor & that great causes are probably defined by the standard of the particular culture in which they occur. If the Allies had lost WWII under Churchills leadership it is likely that Churchill would have been portrayed in a very negative light & that his ultimate foe, Adolf Hitler & the victor, would have been perceived as the great leader of some noble cause that despite running against world opinion still came out victorious. It is a very scary thought but potentially possible under simple definition of magnanimity. Lifewise, if Jefferson Davis had been victorious in the American Civil War, Lincoln probably would have been portrayed badly & Davis portrayed as the liberator of the South against Northern aggression. Ad nauseum, if Washington had been defeated then his greatness would have died out & Thomas Gage, Guy Carleton or Lord Cornwallis would have been seen as greater & more magnaminous than they are perceived now. It appears that with magnanimity possibly varying in definition from culture to culture, religion to religion, that maybe great, noble, contemptuous, undemocratic, & ego-maniacal statesman, magnanimous man may not be good for society especially if people like Hitler ever had a chance of being considered as a great noble soul.