SI Vault
Cecil J. Burnett/Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
February 03, 1958
LOCALE Quillvania, Greece TIME circa 300 B.C. ISSUE Renewed tenure for Quillvania's coach CHARACTERS Burnatotle, a Philosopher; Millerpos, a Dental Extractor; Lorborstan, a Physician.
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February 03, 1958

Greeks Among The Ivy

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But, pray tell, dear sir, what possible relation is there between the observation of our beloved Aristotle and the retention of our present athletic coach? The only possible issue extant is the competency of the coach. Instead of the best evidence—his record—being the sole determinative factor, you smuggle into the discussion Aristotelian metaphysics. Our city is starving for victory; you pontificate and say, "Let them eat ideas!"

THE DENTIST: One moment! Unless the coach is dismissed I will advise other legendary figures to refuse to patronize the Games. Do you know that attendance has declined so rapidly of late that the ivy is encroaching on the spectators' seats?

THE PHILOSOPHER: Cruel is the strife among our brethren. Should truth abdicate before a show of angry passion? Verily I say unto you that good will should dispose passion to be guided by reason.

THE PHYSICIAN: Sir, my friend and I are not in the habit of having our intellectual integrity attacked. And I did not take the Hippocratic oath with reservations. May I press you again for Aristotle's relevancy?

THE PHILOSOPHER: The Hippocratic oath is not a tradesman's oath. The generality of its principles applies to our present crisis—and to you in the context of our discussion.


THE PHILOSOPHER: Both of you gentlemen are my esteemed friends of long and continued affection. Yet I feel constrained to point out, as is the case with so many of the young of the recent past, that you have been sorely deceived by the Sophists. You paid those teachers to instruct you in that which was useful. Yet nothing is more useless than pride. Pride in superiority of race is the great deterrent to a union of hearts, to community.

THE DENTIST: I am proud of my city and my citizenship!

THE PHILOSOPHER: The day is not far removed when this exclusiveness will be the fatal cause of Greece's downfall. The only salvation for Greece lies in a union of likeness-of-mind. The present parochialism, based as it is on likeness-of-kind, is not worthy of man.

THE DENTIST: Our city is immortal! There is wisdom in prejudice! Corporeal blood is more enduring than abstract reason.

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