We Condone It by Our Silence
Rebecca Futo Kennedy

There are way too many factual mistakes in this article to be able to take it for anything else but an attempt to be “politically correct” in talking about and presenting the study of Classical Antiquity. One mistake that should be sufficient to immediately send back the author to the classroom of Ancient Greek Language and Literature is her translation of “autochthonos”: that doesn’t literally nor figuratively mean “born from the earth”; it means “from this soil”, or loosely translated “indigenous”. Another serious mistake is her statement about how “Classics” is continuously mentioned as being the root or source of Western Civilisation. It is not Classics that is the root, it’s the Classical Civilisation of Ancient Hellas which is the main source of Western (European) Civilisation. If one denies that, one is denying all of the history of Western Europe after the rise of Ancient Hellas.

To use anything as an excuse for supremacy and oppression is a serious crime. However, to deny the importance of Classical Antiquity as the key factor in the development of Europe and what is usually called Western Civilisation, is more than a serious crime. It’s a politically correct but historically totally incorrect denial of facts.

And instead of being focused on what Aristoteles is trying to convince his audience of, I would suggest to try and understand what Sokrates tried to convey to his followers: The fact that democracy can quickly become a dangerous system in which those with the loudest voices and the largest bank accounts can easily lead a blind flock of sheep into the abyss of dictatorship.

Finally, in a few words: Please stop using and abusing the study of Classical Antiquity to serve political and sociological goals that today’s (American) society seems to be in need of so badly. That means I’m looking to the demagogues out there (some of which the author mentions in her article), but also to the likes of the author herself. By no means can it be justified or can it be deemed historically correct to judge the views of people from Classical Antiquity as being racist or supremacist towards other ethnical groups. That would not only be an anachronism but it would actually make us look as supremacists ourselves towards the people who lived and died in Classical Antiquity. “Know Thyself”…

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