Commonplace Book #4

The case of David…drives home the inescapable ambiguity of political action.  Actions that turn out to have been politically expedient may have been initially undertaken for sincerely moral reasons.  And yet it is no easy matter to identify any political action that is both effective and unambiguously moral.  We can never be certain in analyzing political life that human compassion  or a compelling sense of duty is a genuine motive rather than a calculated pretext.

Moshe Halbertal and Stephen Holmes,  The Beginning of Politics: Power in the Biblical Book of Samuel, 71.

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