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The Need For Eunomia

Re-reading the chapter on paideia and power from Persuasion and Power in Late Antiquity, I was struck by the following passage:

A lurking fear of arbitrary violence, untrammeled by legal and political constraints, insensibly shifted the weight of philosophical discussion towards ethical issues, involving self-formation and control of the passions.

It occurs to me that this states quite well my own thinking in promoting the idea of eunomia, my frequent references over the years to restraint, limits, asceticism and kenosis, and in criticizing abuses of power, unjust uses of force and violations of human dignity since late 2004. All of this is a recognition of the importance of restraint in curtailing these abuses, as well as an acknowledgment that in the absence of accountability for egregious abuses the best that can be done is to try to establish some measure of good order where one can.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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