Nixon and Aristotle

What did Nixon mean when he refered to Aristotle as a “homo”?

I don’t recall the quote, but I’m reasonably sure it’s a reference to homosexuality.

I don’t know if Aristotle’s personal preferences were documented. Nixon’s penchant for ethnic slurs was very vell documented, however, and if he said it he may simply have been referencing homosexuality in ancient (or modern) Greek society.

Here’s one reference to a place on the White House tapes where Nixon calls Aristotle and Socrates “homos”:

(Warning: This is amazingly offensive.) Incidentally, Nixon didn’t even get this right. The usual assertion is that Plato was homosexual. Socrates apparently wasn’t, and I’m not sure about Aristotle.

Notice how much of an equal opportunity biggot Nixon was.

He maligned the Greeks, the Romans, African-Americans, Hispanics, homosexuals, Catholics, and women’s fashion designers.

All in a simple conversation. Amazing.

As much of a turd as Nixon was, ultimately his politics were so much less offensive than all of his Republican successors (except Jerry Ford), and he was far better educated. Go figure.

Wasn’t Nixon paranoid?

Reading the article, he sounds completely nuts.

You forgot Jews.

No, the usually assertion is that Plato was, Socrates was (There’s a bit in the Symposium where somebody calls Socrates a slut, and says he always chases the boys around), and Aristotle wasn’t.

Yeah, but the relationships were all platonic.


I seem to recall that Socrates had a relationship with Alcibiades, but I can’t provide a citation.

I thought, from the title, you were comparing the two.
I’m surprised you could mention both in the same breath. :wink:

Cannot cite this, it’s mostly from memory, but FWIW:

Socrates is often presumed to have been homosexual, but this primarily follows from the charges he faced (and for which he was sentenced to death). Socrates was charged with “corrupting the youth of Athens.” Especially the previously mentioned Alcibeides, a nobleman’s son. This is commonly assumed to mean he was homosexual. However, my understanding of the charges in fact meant that Socrates lead the youth of Athens away from the worship of the Gods. No actual mention of homosexual practices, that I know of.

I’m fairly certain also that Nixon was referring to the “common knowledge” that ancient Greeks in general practiced homosexuality and pederasty (I make no claim to its veracity, only that it’s part of the infamous “common knowledge,” from which Nixon likely drew his prejudices), then extrapolated it to the most well-known ancient greeks (namely, Aristotle). It’s possible he was transposing the above pieces of information. When one gets a good foam up, logic and consistency aren’t necessary components.


There’s no mention of homosexuality in Plato’s account of the trial of Socrates. “Corrupting the youth” seems to have meant luring them away from the worship of the gods.

I thought that homosexuality was practiced by the Spartans, not the Athenians?

From the Symposium (A drunk Alcibiades has just come in and spotted Socrates and is accusing him of stalking him. Socrates answers Agathon, his host)

I am stating what I’ve heard in my Greek classes, so I don’t have a cite or anything. However, as I understood it, certain activities which we would consider homosexual pedophilia were common among the citizenry of Athens, although men were also expected to lead heterosexual lives on top of that. I think that it is believed that Socrates engaged in this activity, but never showed any interest in women. That might explain any conceptions of him as homosexual.

However, though I don’t even remember who said it, I seem to recall someone in the Symposium making a case for homosexuality: since women are irrational and men rational, intelligent men (like philosophers) would naturally be attracted to other men.

And of course I have no idea about Aristotle.