Rory Stewart on the cult of the hero (and how he got over it)

The only candidate for the Tory leadership that I can stand the sight of is Rory Stewart.  He reminds me of something the documentary maker (and historian of the emotions) Adam Curtis said, that a new politics could emerge which uses words like love, and which sees politics as a noble vocation.

There are similarities between Stewart and front-runner Boris Johnson – both are classically-educated Old Etonians, shaped by the public school cult of heroes and hero-worship. But the difference is Rory Stewart is much more aware of that, and has grown out of it (although I hear he’s still pretty arrogant). Boris never has.

This is an interview I did with Stewart back in 2011, as part of my research into the classical idea of hero-emulation as a method for character-formation.

Classical educators like Plutarch thought the best way to teach young people how to be good and wise was through the example of great lives. It fits with what modern psychologists like Albert Bandura and Philip Zimbardo tell us, about how children learn by imitating role models. The interview was included in my first book, Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situationswhich is about how people use ancient Greek philosophies as guides for living today.