June 22, 2010

Immoral moralists?

There is a quote I came across some time ago that says, “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, X, 16, AD 167). It fits well to a lot of people, except, at least to a certain extent, moralist philosophers—but Marcus Aurelius was one of them …—and theologians, but it certainly fits perfectly with politicians who play the moralist, such as, here in Italy, Antonio Di Pietro.

Why do I say this? Well, just a moment, for those who don’t know Di Pietro, he is the head of a small opposition party (“Italy of Values”) and a former prosecutor who leapt to national prominence in the days of Mani pulite (“clean hands”), the nationwide Italian judicial investigation into political corruption held in the 1990s, which led to the demise of the so-called First Republic, resulting in the disappearance of many parties. Needless to say, he is a huge moralist, but … at the same time he might not be as immaculate as one might expect. In fact, he is accused of having embezzled funds related to European elections in 2004. The funds, which were supposed to be for his party, were allegedly diverted to a private organisation of the same name. The allegations were made by a former Italy of Values member, Elio Veltri.

Of course Di Pietro (as anyone else) is innocent until proven guilty. But it was he who had always maintained that politicians must be above suspicion. It was he who had always despised  reactions such as the following one (à la Berlusconi): “There are people who have not accepted political defeat and continue to sling mud at other people.” But, this time, guess who said it


  1. Politicians are most susceptible, living in glass houses, and often too inclined to throw stones. Boosted up football players also have a mythic image to live up to, often far too much to expect, if not way beyond their capacities, despite their exorbitant price.
    It's much easier and more fun to delude oneself into believing one is contributing in solving the problems of the world from the relatively safe position determined by one's pseudonym, even if no fame or fortune would ever be gained from it.

  2. Povera Italia anche Di Pietro si e fatto beccare le mani nel sacco ....lui che con le suoi inchieste aveva aperto la porta a Berlusconi e a Bossi....venite a trovarme sul blog di Gerald Celente italo americano con molto senso del'umore...:

  3. Hi Rob,

    I should visit more often.

    Di Pietro is an interesting character. I have also heard that he is not a clean as he makes himself out to be - something about investments in property in his home constituency. I'm going to ask for more info on this.

    The student of mine who told me about the darker side of Di Pietro seemed to be of the opinion that many of Italy's politicians end up in dodgy dealings - seems to be the name of the political game in Italy.

    You might like to take a look at this: http://isteve.blogspot.com/2010/07/is-italy-too-italian.html

    It made me think. It's easy to be negative when talking about Italy, and I think I've been guilty of this, but when all is said and done, Italy is not a bad place really, and in terms of quality of life, it's wonderful. I do maintain that with some changes, Italy could well become the envy of the world and it can certainly teach the UK and the USA a thing or three.

    Can you write a little more about what is happening in Italy? I would greatly value your opinion.

    Kind regards,


    PS The Gelmini education reforms come into play today - I'm hoping that they improve Italy's education system - which was not too bad before, but had been deteriorating. Maybe Gelmini's changes will, over time, be appreciated.

    PPS Hope you had a good holiday - Tuscany is a fabulous region - one of many!