Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

James R. Flynn, aka Jim Flynn

Intelligence Researcher, Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand

"[Plato's ideal society] guarantees to all people the right to an education that diagnoses and perfects their unique talents, plus a work role that conveys a sense of self-esteem, saving them from the neuroses of megalomania and the lust for power. It forbids privilege and sexism and all other criteria irrelevant to merit. It eliminates conflict of interest from those who hold office and gives the masses a potent checklist they can use to hold their rulers to account. Best of all, it eliminates all traces of "might makes right" and serves as a pattern laid up in heaven to rank actual societies in terms of what corrupts them. Society becomes more corrupt as the struggle for power becomes more brutal."

"All human societies supplement politics with ethics; all of them to some degree are ordered by a moral code, if only honor among thieves."

"offers the image of a chariot in which the driver uses an obedient lead horse to control another wayward horse; that is, cool reason may know the Good but cannot control the passions without a passionate ally - without a spirit that loves the Good and greets evil with moral indignation."

"There is no such thing as ethical truth. However, those committed to humane-egalitarian ideals can make a truth-claim rare and precious: they can look reality and the truths of science in the face and find nothing that makes them flinch."

"Opinions about the perfect state of human society are only that; no road to ethical truth exists to moderate between them."