From ancient times, hubris, the Greek word for reckless arrogance, has brought down princes, kings and empires. It is the fatal flaw that undid Achilles. As Homer describes in The Iliad, had Achilles treated Hector, the fallen Trojan hero, with respect, the wrath of the gods would not have turned on him. Uphold the rule of law and basic human morality and you will be honored and perhaps even be admired, Descend to grandiose posturing and “Bring ’em on” bravado and you will be held in contempt and loathing. The Greek sages understood this. But today the lesson goes unheeded in the corridors of power where the guiding principle is might makes right. Interview by David Barsamian.
Tariq Ali, an internationally renowned writer and activist, was born in Lahore, Pakistan. For many years he has been based in London where he is an editor of New Left Review. A charismatic speaker, he is in great demand as a lecturer. He is a filmmaker, playwright and novelist. He is the author of many books including The Clash of Fundamentalisms, Pirates of the Caribbean, Speaking of Empire & Resistance with David Barsamian, The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power, The Obama Syndrome, On History and The Extreme Centre.