chapter  One
21 Pages

Virtue, the Public Good, and Publius

WithEmily R. Gill

This chapter examines facets of the civic republican tradition, and argues that the attainment of virtue requires neither equal democratic participation in the modern sense, nor the nonpolitical pursuit of philosophic rationality in the classical sense. It focuses on deference, which to Pocock was "not a hierarchical but a republican characteristic" The individual's need for restraints on his or her passions precludes the kind of citizen participation thought central to both the attainment and practice of virtue in the classical republican tradition. In the English, neo-Harringtonian interpretation prevalent in the late seventeenth century, property and virtue are linked by the idea that property allows parliamentary representatives to be independent, free of the temptations of patronage and subsequent dependence upon the court from which the representatives received their property. For Diggins, Publius departs from classical republicanism on aristocratic or oligarchic grounds; for Pangle, Publius deviates on "rather radical" egalitarian ones.