How should we understand political philosophy?
Roughly speaking, in Ancient political philosophy, politics in the best case was devoted to the cultivation of virtue in the citizens, whereas in the modern world, particularly in liberal democracy, the aim of politics is to secure an individual freedom equally shared by all.
It was perhaps Machiavelli who first lowered the sights of politics, urging that we "stop focusing on imagined republics" (or any ideal state in which you could cultivate virtue) and instead focus on politics as it is really practiced in the here and now, and on attaining what is good for it.
Do we agree with the modern focus on success in the political world? Or is there something important to be said with the ancients that political philosophy should be directed at something ultimately beyond the political world?
What can we moderns learn from the ancient focus on virtue? Do we even agree that political discourse these days has lost a concern with virtue? Or is virtue simply understood differently?
P.S. No partisan politics please.