Long begins a series about the legacy left to libertarianism by ancient Greece with a discussion of Achilles and the Homeric attitude toward war and glory.
In the Iliad, it’s not only heroes like Achilles who raise doubts about war. Thersites, a commoner, does, too—attacking the aristocracy while he’s at it.
The ancient Greek poet Hesiod favored productive work over violent expropriation.
Hesiod distinguished between market competition and war, saying “The two Strifes have separate natures.”
Hesiod thought that doing injustice could bring down the wrath of the gods, even in the chaotic, violent “Age of Iron.”
The discovery of philosophy in ancient Greece was spurred on by a “marketplace of ideas” where rational justification trumped doctrinal authority.
Athens, for all its flaws, was a beacon of personal liberty in the ancient world.
Personal freedom in ancient Athens was tied up with economic freedom, including free trade and free immigration.
Athenian banks afforded women and slaves a chance at economic autonomy. This was possible because of lax enforcement of laws restricting their economic liberty.
How were police services, courts, and education provided in ancient Athens?
Athens had many procedural safeguards against undesirable behavior.
Long examines political themes in Ancient Greek drama.
Long discusses the treatment of punishment and criminal justice in Aeschylus’s Eumenides.
The plays of Euripides condemned war on grounds libertarians should find appealing.
Euripides’s plays evince a concern for women and other disenfranchised groups in ancient Greek society.
Poking fun at politicians? A tradition at least as old as ancient Greece, as the comedies of Aristophanes show.
Opposition to war was a recurring theme in Aristophanes’s plays, especially Acharnians and Lysistrata.
In Lysistrata, Assemblywomen, and Thesmophoriazousai Aristophanes anticipated some aspects of the modern belief in women’s equality.