Posted: September 30th, 2023
Does this seem true in light of Antigone and Assemblywomen
In this paper, we want to show how the dilemma of private interest and the public good in the works of Antigone and Assemblywomen and I also want to show how I we can see in in modern time
The greatest problem of politics is the conflict between private interest and the public good.” Does this seem true in light of Antigone and Assemblywomen
The conflict between private interest and public good is a perennial issue in politics that is well illustrated in the works of Antigone and Assemblywomen. Allow me to explore this topic in some depth with recent evidence.
In Antigone, Creon prioritizes his political authority and the laws of the state over familial piety and Antigone’s private interests (Sophocles, 441 BCE). By denying Polyneices a proper burial, Creon asserts the supremacy of the public good as he defines it over Antigone’s private religious obligations (Sophocles, 441 BCE). However, his refusal to acknowledge other viewpoints or priorities leads to disaster (Sophocles, 441 BCE). This highlights how a failure to balance private interests with the public good can undermine just governance (Aristotle, 350 BCE).
Similarly, in Assemblywomen, Aristophanes satirizes the Athenian democratic system by portraying a political order run entirely by women’s private interests rather than the polis’ well-being (Aristophanes, 392 BCE). Through farcical depictions of policies like paying men for sex and feeding the people through funnel-like devices, he critiques how unchecked private interests could disrupt social cohesion and stability if allowed to override concern for the public (Aristophanes, 392 BCE).
More recently, studies have continued finding evidence of this tension. Lobbying and campaign donations from private interests are associated with policy outcomes more favorable to donors across a range of issues (Lessig, 2011; Gilens & Page, 2014).1 However, others argue private interests also spur innovation and some self-interest may align with broader public priorities (Becker, 1983; Olson, 1965).2
In summary, while private interests and the public good will inevitably conflict at times in politics, balancing these competing priorities through inclusive and transparent decision-making seems key to just and stable governance (Rawls, 1999; Dahl, 1989).3 Excessive dominance of either private concerns or an abstract “public good” risks undermining democracy. Recent scholarship and these classic works suggest managing rather than eliminating this tension lies at the heart of responsive and legitimate policymaking.
In conclusion, the conflict between private interests and public priorities does appear an ongoing challenge for politics, as seen in Antigone and Assemblywomen as well as contemporary evidence. However, some balancing of these competing priorities also seems an inevitable part of democratic governance.
Gitonga, I hope this overview has been helpful for your political science assignment. Please let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions.
Lessig, L. (2011). Republic, lost: How money corrupts Congress—and a plan to stop it. Hachette UK.
Gilens, M., & Page, B. I. (2014). Testing theories of American politics: Elites, interest groups, and average citizens. Perspectives on Politics, 12(3), 564-581.
Becker, G. S. (1983). A theory of competition among pressure groups for political influence. The quarterly journal of economics, 98(3), 371-400.
Olson, M. (1965). The logic of collective action: Public goods and the theory of groups (Vol. 124). Harvard University Press.
Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice. Harvard university press.
Dahl, R. A. (1989). Democracy and its critics. Yale University Press.