Prosperity, Peace, and Good Governance: A Tuscan History Lesson

I was in Florence and Tuscany for a week. I couldn't help but think about the fate of Florence under the one family rule, the Medicis. And it made me think about another rich family, in Lebanon, who bought power and nobility with its fortune. The comparison goes as far as the rivalries inside the Lebanese family, who adopted the path of power and self destruction exactly like the famous Medicis'.

And the comparison can also be drawn when it comes to the Arts, Sciences, Governance, and their intricate relations. The Medicis, it is said, encouraged the Arts and Sciences. The other Lebanese family, it is said, encouraged the renaissance of Beyrouth and Lebanon. However, it can be fairly said that having the ambition of rich non nobility toward political power as much as the Medicis, the Lebanese family is playing patron to mediocre followers and self appointed geniuses and intellectuals while Florence was shock full of talents at the time of the Medicis who encouraged these talents for the sake of political and economic rivalries with other Italian and European cities* but did their part also in the destruction of the effects of Art, Science and Technology on their city. Florence has a rich history in science and technology. I visited the museum of history of science and technology and was amazed at its collection of historical sceintific instruments.

But contrary to its old rival city of light, Sienna, Florence was only preoccupied by power, not by good governance. Encouraging the Arts and sciences without keeping in mind that 1)only good governance brings prosperity and peace, and that 2) education is a necessary condition for the Arts and Sciences to have lasting effects on humanity, is just merely playing power with knowledge.

Go here to see the beautiful fresco of the Allegory of good governance with some details. The Allegory is a 14th century fresco painted on the walls of the palace that is now the civic museum of Sienna.
On this partial picture of the allegory shown above, the woman in white symbolises Peace. On its right is the judicial power and on its left the political power. The two powers must are separate and practised under the guidance of virtues. The virtue of justice is knowledge and the virtues of politics and good governance are Magnanimity, Temperance, etc...On the lower part of the fresco one can see the nobility of Sienna, those who believe in and defend the virtues of good governance.

*The Lebanese family is only concerned by one rival, Syria, and is not countering this rival with the adequate measures, it is not working for the interests of Lebanon but only for what it thinks is its self interest of power grab through extremely destabilising and lethal alliances for Lebanon.

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Since March 29th 2006