Can the new political class draw inspiration from the classical moral and pedagogical tradition?
The political class, in many countries, is going through difficult times. Many polls show unprecedented feelings of disaffection and distrust on the part of citizens. The causes are to be found in various factors, but above all the economic crises that would require more timely responses from the institutions, internal party disputes, and the lack of a generational change capable of creating a credible future for a country are considered more decisive.
Whatever the causes, the distrust towards politicians therefore seems evident today. The picture that emerges on the perception of political leadership is disheartening. The credibility of leaders and political parties is at an all-time low. The belief is spreading that they are the cause of the problems and not the solution because they are perceived as absent, detached, and distant from the real concerns of citizens, not adequate to promote real change, as they are unable to change, first of all, themselves. And this happens in a historical era called to great changes, of innovation, of almost epochal decisions, of initiative and determination in tackling issues that have been neglected or deliberately postponed for too long.
Could the classical moral and pedagogical tradition make a contribution to the formation of a new political class that is more efficient and, above all, oriented towards the welfare of citizens?
If yes, what then are the qualities and skills which the contemporary political leadership should have?
Cicero argued that: “the fortune of each state depends on the nature of its laws and the customs of its leaders”. For this reason, he considered the moral formation of the men called to represent a country, with their behavior and decisions, fundamental. For the Romans, therefore, the formation of an adequate political leadership was considered an essential condition, and we all know where they have arrived.
Philosophical and juridical preparation and full mastery of the rhetorical techniques of persuasion were the essential ingredients, just as moral training was fundamental for Cicero.
Unfortunately, the ideal of the politician that had the classical world seems far away.