(Defiance, Oh) Is it more effective to lead a nation through fear and control or by implementing compassion and understanding in the leadership process? Where does the line of forgiveness end and the point of punishment begin?
These tough philosophical questions were asked this past Wednesday as Defiance College’s newest discussion group which met at President Gordon’s house.
In the beginning of the semester, multiple students expressed an interest in delving deep into current events and philosophical discussion to further their academic experience. To answer this need, Defiance College formed an open-forum, discussion group for students, faculty, and staff to “focus their conversations on current events, world issues, emerging legal issues, and philosophical and ethical issues.”
The topics discussed are chosen by the students and staff in attendance. Beforehand, literature and articles are distributed to the participants for reference during discussion.
Last Wednesday, the Current Events & Philosophy Discussion Group analyzed President Obama’s speech regarding the nation’s approach to “degrading and destroying” ISIS, as well as two short readings authored by Thucydides from The History of the Peloponnesian War. This led into meaningful conversation on the practice of international conflict.
The main point touched on during the discussion was how an individual should approach leadership, specifically when faced with opposition. The Athenian’s handling of the Melanian revolt was used as the historical context.
After halting the revolt, Athenian leadership faced two main options: Either forgive the Melanias for their act of disobedience and impose mild sanctions, or severely punish the nation with a country-wide death penalty. Both choices were debated heavily throughout Athens.
Engaging discussion on the importance of compassion in leadership followed. The question “is compassion considered a weakness?” illustrated choices that governments and individuals have been faced with throughout the course of history while in positions of power.
The creation of this group has allowed students at Defiance to build an informed foundation on the important issues that our world currently faces. In the group’s first meeting, nine individuals, six students and three faculty, were present to facilitate meaningful discussion.
The group meets weekly on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Next week’s topic- Civil Disobedience.
If you are interested in joining the Current Events & Philosophy Discussion Group, email Judy Lymanstall at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the email list.