Waffling. Flip-flopping. We hear a lot about the pros and cons of politicians changing their minds in modern politics. So how long has that debate been going on?
Turns out, a long, long time. Check out this speech by Cleon, an ancient Athenian politician. He argues that it's better to stick with bad laws than to change your mind.
Here's the scene: the Athenians are trying to decide whether to punish some rebellious subjects. Their punishment?
Death for the men, slavery for the women and children.
The ship with the orders to kill the rebels is on its way. The next day, the Athenians worry that perhaps they've been a bit hasty and cruel. They reconsider the matter. A debate ensues, and Cleon weighs in:
This is Politics 101-BC, where we explore the similarities between ancient democracy and modern politics with Ellen Millender, a professor of Classics and Humanities at Reed College. Catch us on Saturday mornings on OPB, at 8:34.
Ellen Millender apppeared on The Take Away Thursday, Oct. 18.