Peter Cannavò

Peter F. Cannavò, associate professor of government, used President Donald Trump’s behavior during a photo session with NATO leaders as a springboard to discuss human virtues as defined by Aristotle.

In Trump Should Learn a Thing or Two from Aristotle published on Huffington Post, Cannavò focused specifically on the president’s shoving aside Montenegro’s Prime Minister, Duško Markovic, to get to the front of the group.

“Trump shows how he fundamentally lacks an important virtue that is requisite for the leader of the world’s most powerful nation,” according to Cannavò. “Aristotle catalogued a list of virtues, the complete exercise of which constitutes human excellence or flourishing. Aristotelian virtues include courage, self-control, justice, generosity, friendliness, gentleness, and truthfulness, among others.” In his June 5 essay, Cannavò examined one particular Aristotelian virtue: magnanimity.

 “…Aristotle’s concept of magnanimity suggests that with the power, prestige, and privilege that attaches to the world’s only superpower and its chief executive comes a duty to act with dignity, nobility, responsibility, and generosity, with a sense of honor,” Cannavò wrote. “Trump’s utter lack of these qualities is profoundly unbecoming of this nation and its people.

"It besmirches not only his own persona and reputation, such as it is, but also America as a whole. Though I’m not hopeful, Trump should learn a thing or two from Aristotle. For starters, he might realize that for those who are truly great, being in the front row of a photo-op is not that big a deal.”

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