Greece was once made up of independent states. Greek society was divided between free people and slaves who had no legal rights. The difference between Sparta and Athens, at this time, was that Sparta was an "Oligarchy" run by leaders or "rule by the few" while Athens was a democracy, which meant "rule by the people." From 499 BC to 449 BC Sparta and Athens were allies in the Greco-Persian Wars. Afterwards Athens became the more powerful and tensions between Athens and Sparta resulted in a war which went on for three decades. Sparta won and Athens was left bankrupt. Neither of these city-states ever regained the military power they once had. Why should you care? Well, because of the philosophy of this democratic city-state about morality and fairness that we see exhibited today political America.
This philosophy is illustrated by Thucydides who was an Athenian general and historian. He also has been called the father of "political realism" His view of human nature was that it was strictly determined by one's physical and social environments along with basic desires. He was skeptical of concepts of justice and morality. As an illustration, about half way through the war, the Athenians decided to capture the only remaining island not under their control, Melos. The Melians tried to negotiate with them. They argued fairness and morality – that it would be wrong to attack a neutral country. The Athenians rejected the argument. Thucydides responded to their argument about fairness and morality with this rejection:
"We know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer."
In other words forget fairness or morality. The strong win and the weak lose. They invaded anyway and captured the island.
This same idea that in society the strong win and the weak lose is the same as the idea "It's every man for himself." It's shown in the conservative view that "American society today is a suicide pact" that they never agreed to and that they owe society nothing. Not respect, not loyalty, not obedience – nothing. Their view is that there are no rules anymore that morally bind us. it's survival of the fittest and the weak get tossed over the side. Their view is we want our white, protestant country back with our rules that everyone else must agree to, like it or not. We owe nothing to anyone. That includes schools, health care, government and obligation to immigrants, the poor or the homeless. However, we want a powerful military and police to protect us.
Writing in the New York Times David Brooks observed about this administration and the people who support its philosophy:
"In this worldview, morality has nothing to do with anything. Altruism,trust cooperation, and virtues are unaffordable luxuries in the struggle of all against all. Everything is about self interest."
I'm not sure how these people deal Matthew 25:31. It must be very troublesome for them:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Yet, politicians in Washington DC plot in secret the best way to gut the Affordable Care Act to save money while depriving Americans of medical care and advocate for positions of abandoning the poor, the homeless, the needy depriving people of the right to vote. In the world of this administration and its politicians truth is a stranger seeking a home.