Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Artists & politics

A lecture delivered by Donald Kagan after he received the second Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society, in The New Criterion, included this.
"It was a summer session and one course was being taught by my old student and friend, the late Al Bernstein. He was teaching a course in Western Civilization to his students and one of the students—he was teaching Plato’s Republic that day—popped up after Bernstein had given his spiel about what it was about and he said, 'You know, Mr. Bernstein, I don’t think that’s really right. The fact is, when Plato says the things that you have been criticizing he really didn’t mean for you to believe that what he said was what he meant. That was just for the ordinary person, but for the person with the perception and the capacities he meant the exact opposite.' So Bernstein says, 'Who told you that?' And the kid says, 'Well, I learned that from Professor [Allan] Bloom.' And Bernstein says, 'Look, you don’t understand. What Bloom told you, that was meant for the ordinary person, but for the person of real perception, he meant the opposite.' "

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