What is the relationship of the individual to the state? What is the ideal state, and how can it bring about the most desirable life for its citizens? What sort of education should it provide? What is the purpose of amassing wealth? These are some of the questions Aristotle attempts to answer in one of the most intellectually stimulating works. Both heavily influenced by and critical of Plato's Republic and Laws, Politics represents the distillation of a lifetime of thought and observation. "Encyclopaedic knowledge has never, before or since, gone hand in hand with a logic so masculine or with speculation so profound," says H. W. C. Davis in his introduction. Students, teachers, and scholars will welcome this inexpensive new edition of the Benjamin Jowett translation, as will all readers interested in Greek thought, political theory, and depictions of the ideal state.
Greek philosopher Aristotle, a pupil of Plato and the tutor of Alexander the Great, authored works on ethics, natural sciences, politics, and poetics that profoundly influenced western thought; empirical observation precedes theory, and the syllogism bases logic, the essential method of rational inquiry in his system, which led him to see and to criticize metaphysical excesses.
German religious philosopher Saint Albertus Magnus later sought to apply his methods to current scientific questions. Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the most influential thinker of the medieval period, combined doctrine of Aristotle within a context of Christianity.
Aristotle numbers among the greatest of all time. Almost peerless, he shaped centuries from late antiquity through the Renaissance, and people even today continue to study him with keen, non-antiquarian interest. This prodigious researcher and writer left a great body, perhaps numbering as many as two hundred treatises, from which 31 survive. His extant writings span a wide range of disciplines from mind through aesthetics and rhetoric and into such primary fields as biology; he excelled at detailed plant and animal taxonomy. In all these topics, he provided illumination, met with resistance, sparked debate, and generally stimulated the sustained interest of an abiding readership.
Wide range and its remoteness in time defies easy encapsulation. The long history of interpretation and appropriation of texts and themes, spanning over two millennia within a variety of religious and secular traditions, rendered controversial even basic points of interpretation.
Yes, EVERYTHING works for the Good. Whose Good, though?
Well, he says, their OWN version of Good! And THAT’s why all politicians are so inherently different - AND why some get on our nerves. And WE’VE all got different preconceptions - ourselves!
You see, he learned from his teacher, Plato, that the Good is naturally in our human subconscious - and is also an Ideal - ABOVE us!
Want a friendly tip?
When you’re finished browsing through the latest headlines screaming blue murder over political dirty double dealings, browse through THIS!
It’ll open the windows of your mind and let in some fresh air...
Meet the vigorous, affable philosopher Aristotle, as he jostles through the Polis Agora, bumping into old friends, cheerfully waving to others in the distance, and stopping to join his buddies in friendly talk about the government’s latest projects.
Some of his interlocutors may gripe that it’s just more of the same old tired routine.
His well-thought out rebuttal to these naysayers would have been a detailed and densely populated paysage moralisé of plain, optimistic good sense.
For Aristotle, bless his soul, always ac-cen-tu-at-ed the Positive!
His jauntiness and well-mannered public ease Radiated Good Health.
And bonhomie too... He was a good man.
He knew what goodness was: because he avoided evil.
And he also had a nifty way to get us out of any bad moods - with his twin teaching of ens and potens. For if a person isn’t acting all too nicely now, he always has the potentiality to be Good inside himself!
And everything changes.
Does that remind you a bit of The Power of Positive Thinking?
Maybe, but WHERE did this great thinker get his eternal Optimism and Presence of Mind?
You know, there are TWO answers to that question: one simple, the other complex.
The simple answer is that Aristotle, through constantly meditating on the Good, gradually let it saturate his Entire Awareness.
The difficult answer is the old Zen Koan, to wit, “WHO is this little man who goes in and comes out of your mouth several times a day?” Well the answer, of course is... your Self - in its private, and its public personas.
When we open our mouths, we escape into an empty public space.
We’re suddenly in the Political Centre Stage. We risk pride, anger, embarrassment - and possible Collapse of this little travelling man, our Self.
Aristotle, you see, by fully imbuing himself with the Goodness of Pure Being, had made himself from two separate selves, into One Whole - and the Original - Self!
Well, that was Aristotle for you - 2,500 years BEFORE Norman Vincent Peale was even born!
And maybe you can’t make a big social splash that way. But your enemies will be few and far between if you practice it!
And so we can easily imagine Aristotle put a LOT of otherwise wary people at their ease.
But that’s not the picture we’ve been given of him...
No - for we’re accustomed to think of him as totally above and beyond us - a gloomy, tendentious old soul who must always remain the privileged property of persnickety professors.
But he’s not.
He will always be a fresh summer breeze refreshing our calloused cynicism!
And he will sweep all our dreary snap political judgments right off the table.
And begin right back at the beginning with a Level Playing Field.
So, there ARE indeed wise, positive-minded thinkers who point us to the straight and narrow road to truth.
Like Aristotle, who believed that Good Politicians really DO exist.
Aristotle's Politics is divided into eight books which are each further divided into chapters. Citations of this work, as with the rest of the works of Aristotle.
In the first book, Aristotle discusses the city (polis) or as he likes to call it a "political association". He states that this city and other cities like it are designed and created with the purpose of achieving happiness or something good.
Book II examines various views concerning the two different kinds of virtues. These two virtues would be both the intellectual and moral virtues. The difference between these two kinds of virtues would be that a moral virtue is one that is learned by habit and the repetition of it while an intellectual virtue is one that has been taught or instructed to you. For us to be virtuous we must train ourselves and act accordingly as we all are born with the potential to be morally virtuous.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش سال1972میلادی
عنوان: ارسطو و سیاست؛ نویسنده: ارسطو؛ مترجم: حمید عنایت؛ تهران، نیل؛ سال1337؛ در318ص؛ تهران نشر امیر کبیر، کتابهای جیبی، چاپ دوم سال1349؛ در381ص؛ چاپ سوم سال1358؛ در320ص؛ چاپ چهارم سال1364؛ چاپ هفتم سال1393؛ شابک9789643031107؛موضوع: مدینه ی فاضله از نویسندگان یونان - سده4پیش از میلاد
سیاست عنوان کتابی از «ارسطو» است؛ این کتاب را میتوان در شش بخش شامل هشت کتاب در نظر گرفت؛ بخش اول شامل کتاب اول «درباره خانواده»؛ بخش دوم شامل کتاب دوم «درباره نظرات افلاطون و نقد حکومتهای اسپارت و کرت و کارتاژ»؛ بخش سوم شامل کتاب سوم «درباره قانون اساسی»؛ بخش چهارم شامل کتابهای چهارم و پنجم «درباره دموکراسی جمهوری و علل انقلابها در حکومتها»؛ بخش پنجم شامل کتاب ششم «درباره روش تشکیل دموکراسیها و پایداری آنها»؛ بخش ششم شامل کتابهای هفتم و هشتم «درباره حکومت کمال مطلوب» است
در پیش گفتار کتاب سیاست اشاره به ناپیوستگی مطالب آن شده است. جناب «حمید عنایت» این کتاب را همانند کتاب مثنوی معنوی مولانا دانسته چون ارسطو کتاب سیاست را از گفتارهای گوناگونی فراهم کرده و به نظر مترجم قصد او گردآوردن آنها در یک مجموعه نبوده است؛ جناب «حمید عنایت» در پیش گفتار کتاب سیاست؛ اهمیت آن را در دو مورد میدانند: یکی آنکه روح فلسفه پیشرو زمان ارسطو را منعکس میکند؛ و دیگر آنکه سرچشمه ی اصلی اندیشه هایی است که تا پایان سده های میانی بر فلسفه ی سیاسی غرب اثر گذاشته است
ارسطو اساس خانواده را با تقسیم بندی روابط مردم با هم قرار داده اند، و قدرت را عامل اصلی این تقسیم بندی میدانند؛ ایشان خواسته را بخشی از خانواده میدانند؛ و هنر به دست آوردن خواسته ی دیگری در خانواده را تدبیر منزل برمیشمارند؛ ارسطو فرقی بین روابط قدرت در حکومت و خانواده نمیبینند؛ ایشان هر دو را بر اساس روابط قدرت یکسان بررسی کرده اند؛ «ارسطو» کسی را که در یک شهر از احترام و پست حکومت بی بهره باشد، همچون بیگانه ای میدانند که در آن، سکونت اختیار کرده است؛ «ارسطو» داوری چند دادرس را که بر حکومت قانون سر فرود آورده اند بهتر از داوری یک دادرس میدانند؛ ایشان دوام دموکراسی را به کثرت شهروندان وابسته میکنند؛ و سعادت را در درست زیستن میدانند؛ ایشان کار را در زندگی تنها محدود به ارتباط با دیگران نمیدانند؛ «ارسطو» اندیشه هایی را که برای نفس اندیشیدن و با هدف درست زیستن صورت میگیرند نوعی کار به شمار میآورند؛ «ارسطو» کسانی را در زمره جمعیت کشور میدانند که جزء گسست ناپذیر آن باشند؛ و عظمت کشور را به فزونی شمار اینگونه مردمان وابسته میدانند؛ «ارسطو» زیبایی را بزرگ میشمارند؛ و از دیدگاه ایشان آن کشوری را میتوان کاملتر از کشورهای دیگر برشمرد؛ که شکوهمندی را با شمار جمعیت همگام داشته باشد، و نیز اندازه ی یک کشور همانند اندازه چیزهای دیگر حدی دارد؛ هرچه بیش از اندازه بزرگ یا کوچک باشد، اثر خود را از دست میدهد، و در برخی موارد ماهیتش یکسره دگرگون میشود؛ او اداره ی جنگ را بر جمعیت زیاد مردم دشوار میداند؛ از نظر «ارسطو» قانونگذار باید در پی پروراندن افراد شریف باشد، و راههای رسیدن به این هدف را پی بجوید
تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 06/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 21/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
I personally find it tough to do any sort of a review on the classics, as just about everything that can be said about a 2400 year old treatise has probably been said. However, like scripture, everyone has their own interpretation of these kinds of documents from antiquity. The interpretations, like any reading, have to do with the culture and time in which one was raised, the society and government around them, as well as one’s age and any previous influential readings and/or life experience. These previous influences allow a “horizontal” approach to interpretation, where one incorporates many different impressions into the present document.
“The Politics of Aristotle” is a link in the evolutionary process of social and political development. Like Plato’s “Republic”, Aristotle considers the concept of justice in this treatise. First, we must define justice, and then we must figure out the best way to enact justice. It is important to remember when dealing with the classics that we are looking at an attempt to tie down a “universal” (itself a tricky word) into a specific place and time. Everyone generally agrees that “justice” is what is “right”. However, conditioning of various types will influence HOW justice looks when pen is put to paper.
The area in which I believe Aristotle to have the greatest wisdom is in his descriptions of human nature (and how to approach justice WITH this human nature in mind). “Men who don’t have control of their own passions will fail to serve their own interests.” “We always prefer what we come across first.” “Men are always wanting something more and are never content until they get to infinity.” “Ambition and avarice are exactly the motives which lead men to commit nearly all intentional crimes.”
Through my recent dialogue with those residing in the East, it is apparent to me that much of Western philosophy is late in its realization of some universal truths. The conflict of opposites is a universal concept. Moderation as a necessity for “goodness” is a universal concept. This would coincide with the idea of “Non-dualism” that has been around for thousands of years in the Far East. Aristotle attempts to broach these topics through more of an exterior view. For example, he uses the analogy of the “perfection of the nose”. A nose that is “extremely” straight, or “extremely” symmetrical in all areas would eventually become so “extreme” as to not even appear to be a nose. It would morph into something else, if you will. That is an example of dualistic thinking. Extremes in anything produce the opposite of what one is trying to achieve. Moderation, looking at all sides of an issue, eradicating dogmatic thinking, are all ways to avoid these extremes.
Modern Capitalistic thought has grasped onto Aristotle’s ideas of distributive justice, aristocracy, and his negation or downplaying of apparent class conflicts to justify certain actions. What Aristotle has not and could not consider is all the complexities of modern times. Race, a global economy, and our current belief in the equality of ALL men do not mix with Aristotelian thought. Plato had a much better grasp on class conflict with the idea of the state being TWO states…that of the rich and that of the poor. Although Aristotle DID acknowledge that: “Poverty is the cause of the defects of democracy.” He adds: “That is why measures should be taken to ensure a permanent level of prosperity.”
The eloquence of describing the life of the interior is perhaps the part of “The Politics” which struck me the greatest. "Thought is an activity as much as action itself, and it may even be more of an activity than action is. The self-contained individual...may be busily active: the activity of God and the universe is that of a self-contained life." This statement coincided well with one that Aristotle had mentioned in “Rhetoric”, where he states that: “The more I am by myself and alone, the fonder I have become of myths.” This seems to indicate that Aristotle may have had an idea, even if he couldn’t name it, of the inherent need for a “god-image” in the nature of man.
Philosophy as defined by the ancient Greeks IS wisdom. Therefore it is in itself a universal as wisdom is all-encompassing. Man’s attempt to make sense of universals containing many expressions is one of the great challenges of living. For me, it has also brought about the realization that we are all looking for the same thing in the end. Approaching others WITH that knowledge is more conducive to dialogue and to greater understanding…which creates a better life for all of us.
Despite the warnings and protests that I have received from goodreads friends about reading Aristotle's politics into our current political situations and vice versa, I will attempt to do just that in this review - unapologetically. Obviously, I am well aware that Aristotle lived over 2300 years ago; indeed, I would have to be pretty ignorant to be reading him to this degree and not be aware of that fact (I have now completed almost his whole corpus - minus his zoological writings and his Eudemian Ethics). Also, I am fully aware that societal conditions do change, in both subtle and not so subtle ways. I am always amazed though at a particular tendency of some people to consider anything more than a few decades old to be passé and obsolete. I am sure my goodreads friends are not guilty of this degree of naivety. I remember debating someone on the American founding fathers and whether their ideas were still relevant to our current political situations...! Yes, someone was actually taking the position that the founding father's views on the republic they formed were not relevant today. This is obviously an extreme example of how clueless people can be when it comes to ideas and their relationship to progress. My feeling is that if you are arguing that past thinkers held demonstrably different ideas when they spoke about freedom, equality, rights, laws, ethics - etc etc et al – then you are simply playing a game of equivocation and using time as an accomplice in your charade. I know my goodreads friends are not this extreme (at least I hope). Why read philosophy if one considers its ideas to have a shelf life? There are certainly more practical uses of one's time if this were the case. I am cognizant of the warnings my friends provided and those warnings are not without merit, but with the preceding introduction, hopefully, I have provided a defense for the following review. The review itself should also make clear where Aristotle's ideas are still relevant. I am certainly willing to debate the merits of Benjamin Jowett's translation because I am taking it as correct. The burden of proof though is on the person who questions Jowett's translation; it is on them to present the Greek words and the English terms that they consider more correct than his rendering. I won't take seriously textual criticisms that don't offer evidence and source material for substantiation. Saying someone claimed something about Aristotle that can't be substantiated is not an argument as far as I am concerned. If one provides sources and evidence, I will certainly take it seriously.
I want to first off address one issue that was brought forth in a comment. Aristotle and Plato did not have any experience of the exact kind of democracy we know of today. Aristotle believed in equality, but it was an equality of similars, i.e. only men of a certain status were accepted as citizens. Sharing in that similar condition qualified them as equals. It wasn't equality based on humanity alone. Slaves, women, and children were not included in citizenship in the Greek city-states; and Aristotle did indeed follow this precedent. That is certainly one way that democracy has changed. Of course, these changes were made relatively recently. Basing equality on being human alone is an element that was added to democratic ideals subsequently (one should probably note that Christian ethics was largely the influence behind this innovation). There were, however, reasons for including status (e.g. owning wealth/property, military service, etc) into questions of citizenship in Aristotle's day. That is something I am going to get into below when I talk about the dangers of democracy that have always existed. That is not to say that I support the ancient Greek perspective on this question. Clearly, it doesn't matter what the political system is when one falls into the category of the disenfranchised listed above; all systems would be tyrannical in that case. Any system that does not take into account inherent human value into questions of equality is a system that is not at all just - except in an equivocal sense.
One should note that there is absolutely no question that all political systems in the West (including here in America) are rooted in a Greco-Roman precedent. This is as undeniable as that our ethics and morals (not to mention religious ideals) are rooted in a Judeo-Christian precedent. I am certainly of the opinion that those who first wrote on these topics still have something to teach us; and those ideas are often still applicable. I read the Bible because I believe it's morals and ethics are entirely relevant for us. As we move further away from the preceding, the worse society will be. In like manner, the earliest writers on the political systems that inspired ours are still entirely relevant. People often do not have much of a grasp of what occurred in the Greek city-states. The Greeks experimented with different forms of government. These weren't just topics that they debated in writing, they were lived out! I cannot stress this enough. The political systems that are referred to in Plato and Aristotle (removing the speculative elements they added) were tested. Humanity hasn't changed that much in 2300 years. For an example (as I mentioned in my review to Cicero's On Moral Duties), Socialism/Communism is not a new idea. Aristotle was aware that one potential abuse of democracy was when some demagogue promised the disenfranchised that he would take the money and/or property from the wealthy and give it to them if they supported him (I will provide quotes below). Obviously, even if one didn't have property, it didn't necessarily mean that in an ancient democracy that one had no recourse to gaining political power. Aristotle was very wary of the kind of political abuses that were possible within a democracy. He believed (as did Cicero) that every person should be respected in their property. Not respecting the property rights of people was a sure way to bring about revolution.
Is this no longer a problem in our American republic? If you think that, guess again. If a party is harboring socialists that do not respect the above fundamental human right of property, you know the same situation that Aristotle and Cicero wrote about is possible even today. Aristotle mentions in more than one place that democracies often descend into very specific abuses. Often it came in the form of some politician scapegoating the well-to-do. This is exemplified in the following quote:
“From democracy tyrants have borrowed the art of making war upon the notables and destroying them secretly or openly, or of exiling them because they are rivals and stand in the way of their power; and also because plots against them are contrived by men of this class, who either want to rule or escape subjection.”
This applies also to those who are wealthy as Aristotle also makes clear:
“Revolutions in democracies are generally caused by the intemperance of demagogues, who either in their private capacity lay information against rich men until they compel them to combine.. or coming forward in public they stir up the people against them.”
Of course, the above has been a notable element of communist and socialist countries in the modern world. This is a risk of democracy. He noted numerous examples where democracy would shift into oligarchy and back again – all eventually descending into tyranny. Aristotle was incredibly critical of a pure democracy. This is where the majority have absolute control over the minority. Aristotle calls this the worst form of tyranny. In a pure democracy, 51% of the people have absolute control over 49% of the people. Interestingly enough, the percentages just provided are pretty close to what we have here between Liberals and Conservatives respectively (not taking into account moderates like myself) in America. Unsurprisingly, many of those connected to the American political party that takes it's name from democracy, often do support pure democratic ideals, where even the Constitution and the Bill of Rights should be open to popular vote. The mitigating control to this pure democracy is what Aristotle calls the constitutional government. He includes the constitutional government under the heading of democracy, but he undoubtedly considered them distinct. The constitutional government is more what we would term today a constitutional republic (technically, democracy and republic are the same in ancient Greek sources, but in modern parlance they are distinct). This is what we have here in the United States. Indeed, Aristotle saw this as the best form of government. This is exemplified by the following quote:
“For two principles are characteristic of democracy, the government of the majority and freedom. Men think that what is just is equal; and that equality is the supremacy of the popular will; and that freedom and equality mean the doing what a man likes. In such democracies every one lives as he pleases, or in the words of Euripides, 'according to his fancy.' But this is all wrong; men should not think it slavery to live according to the rule of the constitution; for it is their salvation.”
Aristotle saw that a balance needed to be struck between law (i.e. constitution) and freedom (i.e. democracy). Losing this balance can be catastrophic as this following quote make clear:
“Oligarchy or democracy, although a departure from the most perfect form, may yet be a good enough government, but if any one attempts to push the principles of either to an extreme, he will begin by spoiling the government and end by having none at all… for when by laws carried to excess one or other element in the state is ruined, the constitution is ruined.”
Aristotle knew full well that pure democracies gave way to anarchy and then to oligarchy. He was suspicious of democracies for this reason. In democracies, everyone wants to be equal, but in the words of George Orwell, some want to be more equal than others. Part of the problem for Aristotle and other political thinkers of his day was to develop a system that would minimize, if not eliminate, inequities in a populace, and allow them a role in government, without sacrificing more competent voices for less competent voices. This may appear shocking, but one should keep in mind that in Aristotle's point of view, not everyone was equally competent to share in government, even if he were to grant that everyone is equal as far as the category of species goes. Obviously, the ancient Greek attempt to minimize incompetent say in government is not correct, but one has to at the same time acknowledge that a vast percentage of the population that exists in any society (and in any period of time) are not competent enough to have any political power. Very few people in a given population are knowledgeable enough to have an informed opinion on government. Aristotle, with other Greeks, probably assumed if one had gained a certain position or status, it indicated more competence; men were seen as more competent mentally than women; slaves lacked the status and education to be citizens; children were not yet competent prior to proper education. Education was seen as being fundamental to Aristotle's view of governmental longevity. I provide this quote of Aristotle as an example of his position:
“But of all the things which I have mentioned, that which most contributes to the permanence of constitutions is the adaptation of education to the form of government, and yet in our day this principle is universally neglected.”
We need to appreciate that Greeks like Aristotle were concerned about the rule of an ignorant populace. We must acknowledge this while also condemning their attempts at controlling this through such an unjust method. Aristotle seems to acknowledge above that even those who were citizens were often ignorant. A tyranny of the majority happens when a populace is too ignorant and too self-seeking to make sound political decisions. The American founding fathers set up a very particular system to curb the tyranny of the majority. Ignorant factions of a country can easily become tribalist and disinterested in the health of society as a whole. This is a precursor to social unrest and civil war, i.e. what Aristotle terms revolution. What happens, for instance, when a disenfranchised group gains citizenship and every societal benefit that comes with citizenship? For some of these, this development will be seen as an adequate if not an optimal outcome. For others, it will simply not be good enough. They may then insist that they need special rights that other citizens don't enjoy for them to feel equal and to make up for any feelings of past societal marginalization. Aristotle says this:
“The universal and chief cause of this revolutionary feeling has been mentioned already; viz. The desire of equality, when men think that they are equal to others that have more than themselves; or, again, the desire of inequality and superiority, when conceiving themselves to be superior they think that they have not more but the same or less than their inferiors; pretensions which may or may not be just. Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior.”
Aristotle attributed the revolutionary feeling to these factors that do not need to be based in reality; they only need to be perceived as true. What is at play here? The same ignorant human tendency Cicero also took note of: the tendency of people to be self-seeking and more concerned with superiority and not equality, even when claiming that they are only seeking equality. Once equality is attained, the wise and good will consider this adequate, but those who are neither wise nor good will not consider this adequate. This is not an archaic and inapplicable human tendency, it is still very much present in democracies. Pure democracy is mob rule. Can a democracy be a healthy breeding ground for political parties that harbor socialists, communists and anarchists? Indeed, it can. Having a constitution is a safeguard against these kinds of corrupting influences.
Aristotle was also concerned about the wearing away of a constitution. Removing tenets little by little over time. Aristotle says:
“Again, the revolution may be accomplished by small degrees; I mean that a great change may sometimes slip into the constitution through neglect of a small matter...”
And again says in relation to Aristocratic constitutional government (I doubt he would consider the effects to be any different than in a democratic constitutional government):
“The citizens begin by giving up some part of the constitution, and so with greater ease the government change something else which is a little more important, until they have undermined the whole fabric of the state.”
One can certainly find an example of this sort of thing in this country recently. Not too long ago, a president instituted something called the Patriot Act that was a serious breach of the constitution. This allowed data collection and other things that compromised the rights of citizens. Aristotle was aware that in his day, tyrants utilized informants to infiltrate almost every aspect of societal life. These informants were the data collectors of Aristotle's day. Aristotle knew rightly that these are the tactics of tyrants and they are not desirable for a free society. Interestingly enough, he also noted that tyrants often attempted to keep the populace focused on things not pertinent to their role in government; these could take the form of fighting foreign wars and/or infighting between groups within a society. I leave it to the reader to decide if this still happens and if this sort of thing is still relevant in today's democracies.
The preceding are the thoughts I had while reading this. Every review is simply a collection of my thoughts on anything I read. I am very far from believing that what Aristotle wrote about is irrelevant today. Indeed, I feel quite the opposite. Like the Nicomachean Ethics, which was the preceding volume to the Politics, Aristotle believed in moderation. He believed in a political balance between freedom and law, democracy and constitutional government. He was suspicious of extremes. I think that was an astute appraisal of politics. We would do well to take the same position in regards to politics today. It may be too much to hope when considering that I am a moderate Libertarian that the reader will see this as an adequate defense of political moderation, but hopefully the fact that this isn't a new idea and was the position of thinkers in the past may give it some merit.
I am giving the book a 4 star review. The book caused me to reflect quite a bit. I reject Aristotle's caste system where certain people are denied citizenship and rights. I also find his defense of infanticide incredibly abhorrent, but it is hardly surprising when one considers his position on the value of children.
Politics is intrinsic to human life, as Aristotle knew well. One of the most famous quotes from this classic work of political philosophy is “ὁ ἄνθρωπος φύσει πολιτικὸν ζῷον.” This Greek phrase is often translated as “Man is by nature a political animal,” though I prefer to think of it as saying that “Humankind is by nature a political species.” However you translate Aristotle’s words, the fact remains that, 2400 years after Aristotle wrote the Politics in the 4th century B.C., we in the 21st century A.D. are still comparing societies in terms of their political structures, just as Aristotle did. As long as citizens care about the shape their nations take, Aristotle’s Politics will remain relevant.
Regular readers of Aristotle’s work will detect echoes of other Aristotelian texts while reading the Politics. For instance, I hear echoes of De Anima, with its declaration that human beings are the only animals with souls, in the way Aristotle in the Politics follows up on his statement about humankind as a political species by declaring that “obviously man is a political animal in a sense in which a bee is not, or any other gregarious animal. Nature…has endowed man alone among the animals with the power of speech” (p. 60) – a classically Aristotelian declaration.
Contemporary researchers who study communication among the more intelligent of our fellow animals – apes, dolphins, whales – might take issue with Aristotle’s claim. But then Aristotle, like any good scientist, reasons from the verifiable and replicable evidence available to him, and then sets forth his conclusions – knowing that someday, future scientists will challenge his findings, the way a young Aristotle challenged his old teacher Plato.
For Aristotle, it follows that, as humankind is a political species, human beings will inevitably organize themselves into societies that will organize themselves according to some sort of set of rules. For the remainder of the Politics, Aristotle reviews the relations among different groups of human beings, looks at the constitutions of various Greek states of his time, and considers the different options available to those who are trying to set up a state: democracy, aristocracy, oligarchy, tyranny. And the stakes are high: as Aristotle points out, “a state’s purpose is not merely to provide a living, but to make a life that is good” (p. 196). Think about it: if you had two options, and only two, would you rather be a citizen of Sweden, or of North Korea?
As he is considering the position of the citizen in a wide variety of states – Athens, Carthage, Crete, Sparta, Syracuse – it is good that Aristotle provides a definition of the citizen: “[O]ne who has a share in ruling and in being ruled….So far as the best constitution is concerned, he is a man who is able and who chooses to rule and to be ruled with a view to a life that is in accordance with virtue” (p. 213). Aside from its restrictiveness in terms of gender – Aristotle’s attitude toward women is always one of the weaknesses of his philosophical system – it is a definition of citizenship that is still applicable today.
The first-time reader of the Politics may be surprised to discover that Aristotle, like his mentor Plato, is not at all enthusiastic about democracy. Today, people around the world use the terms “democracy” and “democratic” to describe what is assumed to be the most desirable state for a society: one in which each citizen has equal rights, and no citizen has more rights than others. International organizations like Freedom House issue regular reports that indicate which countries of the world are most or least free, meaning most or least democratic.
Aristotle, by contrast, did not think about democracy that way. Readers of Aristotle know that he always follows “the principle of the middle way” (p. 330); and for him, the form of government that is most to be desired is what he calls the "polity," meaning “a mix of oligarchy and democracy” (p. 259). The polity gives the wealthy and well-born a stake in maintaining the features of society that have protected their high social position, and at the same time gives the more numerous members of the general public a sense that they too have a fair chance of ascending into the highest levels of wealth and status.
In the Constitution of the United States of America, one sees Aristotle’s influence, particularly in Article I that sets forth the responsibilities of the Congress. The numerically more numerous House of Representatives – 435 strong, as of this writing – has always been voted on by all eligible citizens (though the definition of “citizen” has repeatedly had to be expanded at various points in American history). By contrast, members of the Senate – a numerically smaller body whose members serve longer terms of office and have more power – were originally selected by state legislatures, not by the people generally, and were expected to represent the interests of the wealthy.
That Aristotelian desire to create an American polity, a moderate form of government that would avoid the excesses of mob rule and tyranny, also seems to have nourished the creation of the Electoral College – a body through which, twice in the last two decades, a candidate has been elected President of the United States while losing the popular vote: once by half a million votes, the second time by three million. You can decide for yourself how you feel about that.
The English-speaking reader of the Politics should not be surprised to find him- or herself comparing constitutions across the Anglosphere the way Aristotle compared constitutions across the Greek-speaking world. I found myself comparing the United States Constitution, in its particular features, with the constitutions of Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India. The U.S. constitution came off the better in some of these comparisons – not so well in others.
Sometimes, the Politics must be read in historical context. It is disheartening in the extreme, for example, to see how Aristotle not only takes for granted the existence of slavery in even the freest Greek states, but also assumes that enslaved people accept their lot and have no yearning for freedom. No wonder pro-slavery Southern politicians from the pre-Civil War era raced to quote Aristotle when defending slavery inside the U.S. Capitol and their various statehouses.
Other parts of the Politics are more applicable to the modern world; and indeed, there is something in Aristotle’s Politics for everyone. Members of the conservative Trump administration, with its “America First” mantra, might have agreed with Aristotle’s declaration that “a state’s trading must be in its own interest and not in others’” (p. 407). On the other hand, liberal Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would no doubt concur with Aristotle's statement that “there should be laws laid down about education, and…education itself must be made a public concern” (p. 453). Whatever your own politics may be, I know that you care about your society, and about the future shape that your society will take; and every person who fits that description should read Aristotle’s Politics.
This is quite a turn away from the optimistic "we can figure it all out" tone of the Nicomachean Ethics. In trying to confront both what a state is and how it functions, he creates this weird/insidious master/slave hierarchy, expanding it to encompass children, women, basically anyone who isn't a member of the Athenian aristocracy. While this in and of itself isn't really shocking considering how the typical greek polis maintained and grew it's own power (i.e. going to war, stealing women, land and gold etc.) his inability to fully justify this kind of hierarchy without resorting to some knee-jerk idea of a natural order is a huge problem. Slavery and gender inequality are ultimately mandated and reinforced because, well, basically because he says so. Which is a real cop-out compared to the tight, forward reasoning in a lot of his other works. At the same time, he's one of the first thinkers to recognize that for how fucked up and oppressive a state can be towards its members, it gets even more so when issues of money and finance take over and dominate to the point where the only questions that are taken seriously are those pertaining to making more dough. It's a deeply flawed book about a deeply flawed, though inescapable topic.
Political philosophy is a fundamental part of the legacy of the ancient Greeks. The questions of distribution of power, public justice and order, rights and duties, citizenship, the efficient use of resources and national security, lay at the heart of this tradition. In a civilization of unparallel political constitutional creativity and diversity, legendary lawgivers and great political theorists, Aristotle is pushing the discussion further to reach matters we still debate today.
What seems most essential to Aristotle’s political thought, before any talk of the perfect constitution, is the fact that a real state is the one where citizens take turns in holding power. Aristotle dismisses states where power is held by one man and the rest have a slave like status. He associates this situation with non Greeks, who lack spirit and are slavish, especially the Asians. If taking turn in ruling among the citizens is the backbone of any state, the requirements of citizenship are a much complicated matter. The occupation, wealth, virtue and education of citizens are all parameters one should take in consideration in order to address the question of the ideal constitution.
Faithful to his analytical and teleological spirit, Aristotle discusses the aims of a constitution in the first place. Of course to be happy is what any human being seeks, this goes for an association of humans too. Now happiness does not depend solely on accidents of Fortune, such as great beauty for individuals or natural resources for states. Happiness does not depend on chance and is not waited for passively. It is the active exercise of virtue and wisdom, practical wisdom in particular. A good constitution is the one adapted to what chance throws at you randomly. It is also not a fixed set of laws, which can be used by all states. Instead, he pulls us back to ancient Greece where every state makes its own constitution, adapt it to its social, geographical and ideological peculiarities. It is also changeable, adaptable with reforms to keep going with new configurations, of course in the limits of a certain degree of stability.
Again, with Aristotle’s Ethics in the background, the way for an ideal constitution is the middle one. So he favors what he calls a mixed constitution. He discusses at great length the advantages and limitations of the systems invented by his time : democracies, oligarchies, tyrannies, monarchies… he lists reasons for their stability and instability, their adaptability to different levels of prosperity and the nature of their populations, to come up with remedies for each of their problems. So an oligarchy must be combined with elements of democracy to make it more stable and so on… According to Aristotle, political upheaval is the result of some groups of people demanding equality because they think they are inferior, or others who are not satisfied when being equaled to others because they think they are superior. Equality is not justice, for the simple reason that people are not equal in all aspects. Justice in Democracy is arithmetic, what is just is what the majority believe it is so, while in oligarchy more power is given to property owning individuals to decide what is just.
These inequalities seem to be taking for granted by Aristotle, which can be very confusing to a modern reader. If class struggle in the Marxist sense is the least of Aristotle’s problems, he does admit that in democracies the rule of the majority can lead to them harassing the rich and confiscating their properties, while in oligarchies, men in power tend to use it to augment their influence and thus form power groups. Aristotle does not talk about democracy in the way we moderns think of it, as the most perfect system there is to bring some kind of almost divine justice and equality to all. He does not seem to raise it above oligarchies or tyrannies or even monarchies, and puts much emphasis on its deviations. These systems, although deemed by moderns as inherently unjust, are viable if implemented in the right circumstances.
In Politics, Aristotle theorized that in a perfect world, a monarchy would be a benevolent dictatorship, an aristocracy would be rule by the virtuous and democracy would be rule by the people. But because of human frailty, monarchy actually becomes tyranny, aristocracy actually becomes oligarchy and pure democracy actually becomes mob rule. The practical solution is a form of government that mixes elements of a single ruler, rule by the few and majority rule.
This idea survived and evolved, and eventually the English developed a system of government with a monarch, a House of Lords and a House of Commons. Later, a system of government was created in the United States with a separation of powers among a President, a Senate and a House of Representatives.
How amazing that Aristotle wrote a book so long ago that has had such influence on world history right up to the present day!
Come on Aristotle! You really wrote a lame book man. I'm gonna have to go read Plato's Republic to shake the funk out. I mean hey, I know you're supposed to be one of the world's greatest thinkers and you were the founder of formal logic and all. But dude, your ethics suck. What the jazz are you talking about in this book about how everyone needs to be ruled, and those who lack the rationality to rule themselves need to be ruled by others?
I mean, I guess that ends up happening to people who lack rationality as they blindly follow groups like the Republican/Tea Party and the propaganda of the corporate-controlled media. But NOT COOL. Slavery = bad. ...Sadly, it appears that your words were prophetic as most of us have become wage slaves.
And I'm not sure about the city being more important than family which in turn is more important than the individual.
Tottle talks about politics being more like an organism instead of a machine and that it's a collection of parts where none can exist without the others.
Aristotle said the city (polis) is not just about laws and economic stability, but it's about pursuing the good and noble life. He stated the goal was to perform noble acts: "The political partnership must be regarded, therefore, as being for the sake of noble actions, not for the sake of living together."
This is different from Thomas Hobbes, for example, who said there was a social contract where individuals leave the state of nature because of "fear of violent death."
Aristotle, I think you've inspired me to go read something more fun.
I especially enjoy Aristotle's works, as he is easy to read and his philosophy is beautifully stractured. In this book, some of the foundamental ideas of politics are presented, again with an ease so everyone could understand them and see how he reached his conclusion by a logical order.
Голямо удовлетворение бе четенето на „Политиката“ и конкретно на изданието на Oxford world's classics, което е изпълнено с пояснителни бележки. Оказва се, че с Аристотел имаме много допирни точки. Е, не можем за всичко мислим еднакво поради разликата в епохите и опита на цивилизацията. Например за робовладелството или за жените. Но този човек съвсем заслужено си е спечелил безсмрътната слава на голям мислител. Жалко, че общественото устройство все още не се е отървало от дефицитите, срещу които той ни е предупреждавал активно още през 4 в. пр. н. е., при това не само предупреждавал, но и обяснявал как можем да ги избегнем и защо това е жизнено необходимо. Но при лошата морална система от ценности, която преобладава, колективното падение е неминуемо, разбира се.
Най-важното за мен обаче е, че Аристотел е много „некоректен“ и настоява върху ексклузивността и разликите между хората и техните способности, заслуги, но така също и задължения. За него образованието е в основата на щастието - и на личното, и на общественото. А законите трябва да се създават от най-достойните хора, за да могат да позволят на всички останали да дадатнай-доброто от себе си, защото само в най-доброто си превъплъщение те биха могли да достигнат до истинското щастие. Звучи просто страхотно.
Наскоро си закупих „Метафизика“, но задължително ще взема и „Етиката“.
Os especialistas e entendidos no assunto dizem que Aristóteles é uma das figuras intelectuais mais importantes de todos os tempos — que ele é, juntamente com Platão, um dos fundadores da razão ocidental.
Dizem os especialistas também que a “Política”, do mesmo Aristóteles, é um dos livros mais importantes já escritos, um dos textos seminais da reflexão política.
Mas, olhando ao nosso redor, nós, homens do século XXI, vemos que nossa realidade, nosso mundo, é muito diferente daquele dum grego que viveu no século IV a.C.. Temos estados-nações, megalópoles, viagens intercontinentais, bombas atômicas, conflitos multiétnicos, comunicação em tempo real, voto eletrônico, fábricas e indústrias, bolsa de mercadorias e futuros, em suma, nosso mundo é muito mais complexo e intrincado do que o das pequeninas cidades-estado do tempo de Aristóteles.
De que modo, então, a sua “Política” pode nos dizer algo de valor ainda hoje? De que modo a sua leitura não será apenas um fetiche de antiquários?
Pois bem, a leitura direta do texto, sem atravessadores e intermediários, joga no chão, sem dó nem piedade, todas as nossas expectativas, todas as nossas tolas ilusões.
Sim, é verdade, Aristóteles viveu muito tempo atrás e não conheceu o facebook, nem o whatsapp; mas ele conheceu algo mais importante, mais fundamental — ele conheceu a natureza humana e, a partir dela, a natureza das associações formadas pelos homens.
É realmente de fazer cair o queixo se dar conta de que as descrições de Aristóteles à respeito do comportamento dos homens, seus sentimentos, seus instintos, seus preconceitos, vícios e virtudes, se aplicam, com pequenos ajustes, aos homens do nosso tempo.
Mais do que isso: as descrições dos vários tipos de regimes políticos, da natureza da cidadania, das causas e origens das revoltas e crises sociais, dos motivos que contribuem para a preservação das comunidades políticas são absolutamente matadoras, servindo, sem maiores dificuldades, para descrever também fenômenos políticos e sociais que estão ocorrendo agora, neste exato momento, em pleno século XXI.
O que Aristóteles fez, do ponto de vista intelectual, é simplesmente monstruoso — nada mais do que criar, a partir de observações e análises duma precisão a toda prova, um ferramental que permite o diagnóstico de praticamente qualquer ajuntamento de homens neste mundão de Deus.
Mas, cuidado! Não pense que Aristóteles é como os nossos “professores de filosofia” ou “cientistas sociais” de hoje em dia. Nada mais errado do que ter essa imagem na cabeça. Aristóteles é um filósofo em sentido pleno — e dos de mais grosso calibre. Isso significa que ele simplesmente não está preocupado com os teus sentimentos, com as tuas idéias preconcebidas, com as tuas opiniões, com a tua idéia de “um mundo melhor é possível”. Ele está pouco se lixando para essas babaquices pós-modernas. O que interessa ao Filósofo — e na Idade Média Aristóteles era o “filósofo” por antonomásia — é o conhecimento da realidade das coisas, e, no caso específico da “Política”, o conhecimento da realidade da vida em sociedade.
Portanto, não espere utopias, planos mirabolantes de reforma social, diatribes contra os ricos e coisas desse tipo que são produzidas, todos dias, de maneira incessante, pelas nossas madraças intelectuais às quais damos o nome pomposo de “universidades”.
Aristóteles delineia — é verdade — uma cidade ideal, uma organização política ideal. Mas isso no mesmo espírito em que Platão a fez — não como um plano a ser implementado na prática, mas como uma régua de medida, um critério que permitisse a comparação com as sociedades atualmente existentes.
Aristóteles é, no sentido estrito da expressão, um cientista, um pesquisador, um intelectual. Isso significa que para ele o importante — diferentemente do que para Marx, por exemplo — é compreender o mundo, entender a realidade, e não transformá-la.
O realismo do homem é tão brutal, tão sem meias palavras, que ele reconhece — e não tem vergonha nenhuma de dizer — que a vida neste mundo sublunar, nesta verdadeira caverna platônica, é — para usar a expressão de Eric Voegelin — “miserable enough”. Diante disso, o máximo que se pode almejar, de maneira realista, é que as sociedades, mal ajambradas e claudicantes todas elas, sejam minimamente estáveis, não sofrendo com revoluções e crises intestinas o tempo todo.
Não que Aristóteles seja um brutamontes intelectual, de jeito nenhum. Apenas ele não tem interesse a não ser na realidade efetiva das coisas, naquilo que se passa, de fato, na vida dos homens e das sociedades. E se, para desencavar a verdade e trazê-la à luz do dia, ele tiver de demolir as idéias e opiniões alheias, pode ter certeza, irmão — ele o fará. Nem as opiniões de Platão foram poupadas do exame severo desse erudito de integridade intelectual inabalável.
Mas volto a dizer — essa severidade não implica insensibilidade, muito pelo contrário. Aristóteles é duma sensibilidade nas suas observações, dum bom-senso nas suas análises e opiniões, que é quase impossível — falo por experiência própria — não se ver a todo o tempo concordando com as ponderações desse grande mestre de vida que ele é.
Sim, diferentemente do que muitos pensam, especialmente na academia, o Filósofo ainda tem muito — muito mesmo! — a nos dizer. Suas obras não são peças de museu, mas sim o testemunho vivo, marcante, duma inteligência poderosa, duma capacidade de observação e análise ímpares, duma honestidade intelectual inquebrantável, que continuará a iluminar e a ensinar todos aqueles que se dispuserem a fazer parte do seleto grupo de seus discípulos e ouvintes.
من به ارسطو ب شدت احترام می ذارم در این کتاب ب موضوع خانواده کار انواع حکومت ها نقد نظریات افلاطون و عیوب حکومت ها تعریف شهروند بنده جمعیت انقلاب ها نحوه حفظ حکومت ها قانون اساسی هدف قانون اساسی آموزش و پرورش، به چگونگی تربیت کودکان و به موسیقی ورزش انواع سازمان ها ب نحوه قرار گرفتن شهر به وظایف فرماندار و فرمانبردار در زمان خودش می پردازه و چگونگی حکومت مطلوب و بهترین شهر و جایگاه آن را هم بیان می کنه و مثالهای تاریخی و عملی هم می زند برای من به شدت جذاب بود که برای موقعیت جغرافیایی شهر چه المانهاییو با چه دلایلی آگاهانه و ظریفی در نظر می گرفت
پولیتی ترکیبی از الیگارشی و اریستوکراسی و دموکراسی را بهترین حکومت می داند که هرکدام بخشی از جامعه را در امر کشورداری شریک می کند
واژه دموکراسی از دموس می آید که دموس به معنی تجمع روستاییان می باشد
بحث درخورتوجه در زمان ما که آقای حمید عنایت مترجم هم در مقدمه به ان اشاره میکنه دلایل انقلاب و نحوه تغییر حکومتها و نحوه حفظ حکومت هاست
talks about state of nature and how to set "state" ,how to set laws and types of government and which type is the best ? also talks about human nature and how to make it good by education, proper upbringing and music . may be it is long book , contains many names and many details which need specialist in political sciences or philosophy but u can get also usefulness from it by knowing types of governments, how to make human nature better also the main target is " that book will make u think in every detail in your life".
Me gustó mucho la explicación de como se forman los estados, cómo debe ser la educación de los ciudadanos, las diferencias entre oligarquías, monarquías y democracias. Lo más interesante para mí fue cómo se crean las tiranías, se desvirtuan las constituciones y se generan las revoluciones. Nunca me hubiera imaginado un análisis tan profundo y aún vigente de un libro escrito hace miles de años. Le doy 4 estrellas por la forma en la que ve a las mujeres y los capítulos en los que defiende a la esclavitud, lo cual ya debe de quedar completamente en el pasado.
This marvelous book of which many things can be said was 1) the beginning of analytical political science and 2) a critical summation and refinement of the normative political theory of the Greeks (especially Plato). Its achievements are staggering. There is an astronomical amount of fascinating and deliriously analytical content here, from the small to the very big, that has kept generations of scholars very happy (and sometimes very despondent). Aristotle's great strength as a political philosopher is his incredible capacity to distill debates and concepts down to their constituent elements and to expose the weaknesses and internal tensions in commonly accepted arguments.
Unfortunately, Politics advocates for consistently harsh views on slavery, the role of women in society, and the hierarchical class structure of the "virtuous" society. I do not think it is fair to judge Aristotle's moral views by the standards of our own time; but even by the standards of his own time, Aristotle's view is not especially enlightened. This is especially true in relation to certain disadvantaged groups, including slaves, women, children, workers, the poor... In short, the overwhelming majority of the population (!), whom he considers unfit to rule, unfit for virtue, and unfit for happiness. As much as I admire the entire enterprise of the book, the reactionary elephant in the living room is no small blemish but an extremely insidious flaw in the whole normative system. To his credit, though, the clarity of his arguments allows for easy counterarguments. Detractors who have taken issue with his conclusions do not have to guess about where he went wrong, since Aristotle is crystal clear about his premises, arguments, and conclusions.
Aristotle's ethical and political views are very complicated. He makes mincemeat of some of the advocates of tyranny and unlimited mob rule. He showcases the importance of written laws and constitutional principles. He dramatically improves upon the Platonic daydreaming of The Republic and The Laws. Some of Aristotle's political views are moderate or even progressive by the standards of his times. He hints towards a more progressive interpretation of his principles which has been a boon to later scholars who have taken his views on virtue to a different direction. However, there is no going around the fact that his views on class and gender reflect a very conservative, even reactionary, views on human nature. Aristotle not only reflexively believed in, but theoretically emphasized, the importance of social and political hierarchies based on natural inequalities where certain classes of people were excluded on principle. That said, it would be foolish to get hung up on what is old fashioned in a book written a long time ago when there is so much there that is absolutely fantastic, titillating, mind bending, clarifying, illuminating, and revolutionary. Not many books from 2,300 years ago can be said to feel so forward looking in their methodology (if not in their substantive conclusions). Aristotle demanded a rigorously scientific approach to governance and ethics. We should uphold the same tradition by emulating the Aristotelian discipline.
The hypnotically compelling analytical precision of his argument impresses technically even when it cuts against our notions of equality and justice. This is not a book; this is the Bible of political science.
Such a pity that today's modern civilizations are built upon such one-dimensional, racist, sexist, ableist and hierarchic ideas of state, humanity, and nature. If politicians would read something else instead of this book, maybe things would have been very different than now. No wonder, that 'war' has been usually the determinate factor of the natural and normal discourses and traditions up until now.
Why is Aristotle so obsessed with determining the 'natural state' of 'everything'? As if, as soon as they reach the natural state of everything (the natural that Aristotle wants) things will be in balance and equality! and humans will live happily ever after (with slaves of course). No wonder he was the teacher of Alexander III of Macedon (a.k.a great) the greatest murderer in human history.
Quite possibly one of the worst books I've read in recent memory. It was actually painful trying to finish reading this book. Aristotle's words are obtuse, his arguments vague and it all just makes me want to fall asleep (I have actually fallen asleep numerous times while reading this book due to sheer boredom and uninterest). I'm sure there is troves of important information among these pages of gobbledygook, but I think Aristotle was just too galaxy brained for it to be comprehensible to the modern reader. I think I learned more about Politics from Cliffnotes and Sparknotes than Aristotle's own words.
My fellow tutorial classmates warned me that they hated this book going into it, having read it in previous classes. Sadly, I now agree with them. My heart goes out to any future political science/philosophy students that will have to endure this madness.
There are so many consequential ideas in this book that it's amazing it's not required reading in Western classrooms anymore. The Benjamin Jowett translation is easily accessible in many formats. Perhaps just as it was "lost" to the Middle Ages until "rediscovered" and translated into Latin in the 12th century it is lost to today.
Prerequisites for reading this book are Plato's Republic and The Laws, of which I read the former. The Republic is the more important as Aristotle spends much time critiquing Socrates' ideal state and the deficiencies of its description and order. There are parallel themes but the many variations of the basic forms of government are explained more clearly by Aristotle, who is not designing so much the "ideal state" as Socrates was. I will read Augustine's City of God later this year, as both works were influential in affecting future thinking about governments by Aquinas and others which, in turn, affected Thomas Jefferson and the Founders.
I was surprised how much economics was in this book, circa 350 B.C.. At points, it reads quite a bit like Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. It is hard to believe such a gap in years exists between the two works, actually. I'm also surprised by how little of Aristotle's work is mentioned in traditional books on the history of economic thought. Take, for example, Book II's exploration of the importance of property rights. Part V: "should the citizens of the perfect state have their possessions in common or not?...Property should be in a certain sense common, but, as a general rule, private; for, when everyone has a distinct interest, men will not complain of one another, and they will make more progress, because every one will be attending to his own business. And yet by reason of goodness, and in respect of use, 'Friends,' as the proverb says, 'will have all things common.'.. It is clearly better that property should be private, but the use of it common; and the special business of the legislator is to create in men this benevolent disposition."
Aristotle responds to those who would argue for common ownership directed by the State:
"there is the greatest pleasure in doing a kindness or service to friends or guests or companions, which can only be rendered when a man has private property. These advantages are lost by excessive unification of the state...Such legislation may have a specious appearance of benevolence; men readily listen to it, and are easily induced to believe that in some wonderful manner everybody will become everybody's friend, especially when some one is heard denouncing the evils now existing in states, suits about contracts, convictions for perjury, flatteries of rich men and the like, which are said to arise out of the possession of private property. These evils, however, are due to a very different cause- the wickedness of human nature. Indeed, we see that there is much more quarrelling among those who have all things in common, though there are not many of them when compared with the vast numbers who have private property."
Aristotle understood that greed and avarice were inherent in human nature. People were more likely to act in mutual benefit when property is held privately-- Adam Smith's butcher seems to pick up on this theme. Another benefit, according to Aristotle, was greater "temperance toward women" than when they were held in common as prescribed by Socrates in The Republic.
Conservatives everywhere find agreement with Aristotle in arguing from the wisdom of historical precedent when confronted with ideas that challenge the existing order: "Let us remember that we should not disregard the experience of ages; in the multitude of years these things, if they were good, would certainly not have been unknown; for almost everything has been found out, although sometimes they are not put together; in other cases men do not use the knowledge which they have."
In the above I hear echoes of Solomon's "there is nothing new under the sun," and the modern axiom that those who don't remember their history are condemned to repeat it.
One major critique of Socrates' The Republic is that Socrates established law for the Guardians but does not say what he would do for the lower classes. Aristotle argues that if same laws apply, the people would not have any desire to submit to the government. If all property were held in common there would be no motivation to work the fields. This recognition of property rights creating incentives is an important cornerstone of microeconomics and is too often forgotten by modern policymakers.
Socrates' Guardians were destined to rule for life, but Aristotle states this is dangerous. He also points out that if the government is going to fix the amount of property, it should also fix the number of children, and then you start getting into a critique of central planning that borders on Hayekian. He also asks what should be done with slaves and cites the Cretans as having a "wise" policy of allowing them to have the same institutions as freemen but forbidding physical training or armaments among them. There is a wealth of information about the make-up of institutions in various Greek city-states.
Book III, Part XI: Socrates examines autocracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, and describes both theoretical and historical variations on all types. In examining arguments for the various forms, I noted that Aristotle often cites the wisdom of crowds that sounds very Hayekian or at least from the 20th century:
"The principle that the multitude ought to be supreme rather than the few best is one that is maintained, and, though not free from difficulty, yet seems to contain an element of truth. For the many, of whom each individual is but an ordinary person, when they meet together may very likely be better than the few good, if regarded not individually but collectively, just as a feast to which many contribute is better than a dinner provided out of a single purse. For each individual among the many has a share of virtue and prudence, and when they meet together, they become in a manner one man, who has many feet, and hands, and senses; that is a figure of their mind and disposition. Hence the many are better judges than a single man of music and poetry; for some understand one part, and some another, and among them they understand the whole."
There are also explanations for how governments evolve from one form to another. I found these similar to Socrates' explanations of the same. For example, Book V Part IV: "Governments also change into oligarchy or into democracy or into a constitutional government because the magistrates, or some other section of the state, increase in power or renown. Thus at Athens the reputation gained by the court of the Areopagus, in the Persian War, seemed to tighten the reins of government. On the other hand, the victory of Salamis, which was gained by the common people who served in the fleet, and won for the Athenians the empire due to command of the sea, strengthened the democracy."
Aristotle writes that laws should not be changed frequently as it takes time for citizens to develop the habits intended under the law. Frequent changes undermine both the basic institute of law and the constitution. This is a good reminder for modern Progressives who chafe against the laborious efforts required to change the law. Why were the powers and rules of the U.S. Senate, for example, so bent toward impeding legal changes? Because the founders knew their Aristotle and, like their European forebears, found wisdom in it. (A reminder that Senators in most states were not even elected by the population until the early 20th century.)
Aristotle examines various nation-states' constitutions and weighs their pros and cons. There is a great question in each government of who should rule and how they should be chosen. Popular election is problematic because the majority of the population is poor and likely to take bribes. It's much better to elect people according to some system or measure of "merit," or "virtue." For details, see Book IV Part XV. I am reminded much of Acemoğlu and Robinson's exhaustive work in Why Nations Fail (in a nutshell, their thesis is that nations fail to develop because certain people gain economic power and erect exclusive political institutions to defend their holds. Extractive economic institutions + exclusive political arrangements = lack of property rights and incentives for the majority population, and hence poverty and unrest).
Aristotle mainly describes and accepts political institutions as the present reality, be it tyranny or democracy. All can have positive elements. But he seems to favor certain forms of democracy as the best, which seems to have been the common Greek belief of his day. But anarchic, populist democracies are the least-preferred of all:
Book V Part IV: "For two principles are characteristic of democracy, the government of the majority and freedom. Men think that what is just is equal; and that equality is the supremacy of the popular will; and that freedom means the doing what a man likes. In such democracies every one lives as he pleases, or in the words of Euripides, 'according to his fancy.' But this is all wrong; men should not think it slavery to live according to the rule of the constitution; for it is their salvation."
Likewise, Book VI Part II: "The basis of a democratic state is liberty; which, according to the common opinion of men, can only be enjoyed in such a state; this they affirm to be the great end of every democracy. One principle of liberty is for all to rule and be ruled in turn, and indeed democratic justice is the application of numerical not proportionate equality; whence it follows that the majority must be supreme, and that whatever the majority approve must be the end and the just. Every citizen, it is said, must have equality, and therefore in a democracy the poor have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme. This, then, is one note of liberty which all democrats affirm to be the principle of their state. Another is that a man should live as he likes. This, they say, is the privilege of a freeman, since, on the other hand, not to live as a man likes is the mark of a slave. This is the second characteristic of democracy, whence has arisen the claim of men to be ruled by none, if possible, or, if this is impossible, to rule and be ruled in turns; and so it contributes to the freedom based upon equality. " ... "there is no difficulty in forming a democracy where the mass of the people live by agriculture or tending of cattle. Being poor, they have no leisure, and therefore do not often attend the assembly, and not having the necessaries of life they are always at work, and do not covet the property of others. Indeed, they find their employment pleasanter than the cares of government or office where no great gains can be made out of them, for the many are more desirous of gain than of honor."
Aristotle describes four different kinds of democracy, and apparently favors the first: "One type of democracy is when farmers and those possessing a moderate amount of property have authority. They govern themselves in accordance with law because their work leaves them little leisure time. They therefore meet in the assembly only as absolutely necessary [to make decisions on matters not covered by the code of law]. A share [in the system of government] is open to anyone as soon as they meet the financial assessment set by law. They cannot be at leisure [for public service in governing] unless there is public revenue [to subsidize their participation]."
He has an apt description of tyrants in Book V Part XI: "Tyrants are always fond of bad men, because they love to be flattered, but no man who has the spirit of a freeman in him will lower himself by flattery; good men love others, or at any rate do not flatter them. Moreover, the bad are useful for bad purposes; 'nail knocks out nail,' as the proverb says. It is characteristic of a tyrant to dislike every one who has dignity or independence; he wants to be alone in his glory, but any one who claims a like dignity or asserts his independence encroaches upon his prerogative, and is hated by him as an enemy to his power. Another mark of a tyrant is that he likes foreigners better than citizens, and lives with them and invites them to his table; for the one are enemies, but the Others enter into no rivalry with him."
Like Hayek in Road to Serfdom, Aristotle argues for a basic social safety net even in a constitutional democracy with limited government: Book VI Part V: "the poor are always receiving and always wanting more and more, for such help is like water poured into a leaky cask. Yet the true friend of the people should see that they be not too poor, for extreme poverty lowers the character of the democracy; measures therefore should be taken which will give them lasting prosperity; and as this is equally the interest of all classes, the proceeds of the public revenues should be accumulated and distributed among its poor, if possible, in such quantities as may enable them to purchase a little farm, or, at any rate, make a beginning in trade or husbandry" rich should also pay the fees for the assemblies and the religious institutions."
Likewise, he argues, the wealthy should also pay for the fees for the assemblies and the religious institutions. The role of the state, overall, is to maximize the happiness-- read: utility-- of the population. This seems very 18th century. Aristotle then examines what constitutes this happiness. One aspect reminds me of the epistles of the apostles James and Paul. Book VII Part 1 deals with the relationship of material goods and virtue (emphasis mine): "Some think that a very moderate amount of virtue is enough, but set no limit to their desires of wealth, property, power, reputation, and the like. To whom we reply by an appeal to facts, which easily prove that mankind do not acquire or preserve virtue by the help of external goods, but external goods by the help of virtue, and that happiness, whether consisting in pleasure or virtue, or both, is more often found with those who are most highly cultivated in their mind and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities; and this is not only matter of experience, but, if reflected upon, will easily appear to be in accordance with reason." ... God is a witness to us of this truth, for he is happy and blessed, not by reason of any external good, but in himself and by reason of his own nature. And herein of necessity lies the difference between good fortune and happiness; for external goods come of themselves, and chance is the author of them, but no one is just or temperate by or through chance. In like manner, and by a similar train of argument, the happy state may be shown to be that which is best and which acts rightly; and rightly it cannot act without doing right actions, and neither individual nor state can do right actions without virtue and wisdom. Thus the courage, justice, and wisdom of a state have the same form and nature as the qualities which give the individual who possesses them the name of just, wise, or temperate."
In this I hear Paul's exhortation of contentment in 1 Timothy 6:5-12: "constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, andc we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness."
It's worth noting that the Church eventually essentially canonized the work of Aristotle, which had problematic results in the area of science just as much as philosophy (just ask Galileo). But could Paul be agreeing with Aristotle here? Another passage that is reminiscent of Paul comes in Book I, when Aristotle is talking about the natural order, including the relationship between men and women, parents and children, masters and slaves: "Clearly, then, moral virtue belongs to all of them; but the temperance of a man and of a woman, or the courage and justice of a man and of a woman, are not, as Socrates maintained, the same; the courage of a man is shown in commanding, of a woman in obeying. And this holds of all other virtues, as will be more clearly seen if we look at them in detail...All classes must be deemed to have their special attributes; as the poet says of women: 'Silence is a woman's glory,' but this is not equally the glory of man. "
Another translation I found renders this: "silence is a woman's ornament"- and Sophocles identified as the poet. This immediately reminded me of 1 Corinthians 14:33-35: "As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."
likewise, 1 Corinthians 11:13-15 "Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?"
Long hair (or head covering) in conjunction with silent submission seem to be for her "glory" and Paul affirms this to be true both in the Hebrew Law and "nature," the latter of which is referred to in Politics Book I. Fascinating.
Aristotle concludes with a look at what the state should do in regards to children and education in order to maximize the future happiness of the citizenry. Book VIII Part I: "The citizen should be molded to suit the form of government under which he lives. For each government has a peculiar character which originally formed and which continues to preserve it. The character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of oligarchy creates oligarchy; and always the better the character, the better the government...Neither must we suppose that any one of the citizens belongs to himself, for they all belong to the state, and are each of them a part of the state, and the care of each part is inseparable from the care of the whole. In this particular as in some others the Lacedaemonians are to be praised, for they take the greatest pains about their children, and make education the business of the state. The customary branches of education are in number four; they are- (1) reading and writing, (2) gymnastic exercises, (3) music, to which is sometimes added (4) drawing."
Aristotle calls for public education provided by the state in contrast to the common policy among Greeks to hire private tutors to teach whatever the client wished. Aristotle channels Socrates a bit in discussing an ideal state where people would be forbidden from marrying and procreating too young, or in having children at too old an age in order to prevent "weak" children incapable of defending the state. Children should be allowed to develop a sort of "meanness" in their early years and parents should properly expose them to the cold in
They say "the ancients stole all the good ideas from us.."
This was the first discovery reading of this Classic because Ibn Khaldun referred to it as one of the sources of the social studies.. And indeed, this is the kind of classics that I will have not only to read again, but to study in depth as it should.
This book belongs to the normative philosophy -the more tangible and practical branch, the prevailing character of Aristotelian thought.. But at the same time the book relies a lot on the foundations laid in the Nicomachean Ethics, which is more rooted in the theoretical philosophy- the utopian branch, the prevailing in the Platonian thought, that philosophy that I don't like very much..
Thus the excellent choice of the picture on the cover of this edition, a snap of Raffaello's "School of Athens" painting, illustrating -at the center of many other thinkers- Plato pointing to the heaven while walking and discussing with Aristotle who is pointing to the earth.. the theoretical/transcendent inspiring the normative/positive..
I will definitely come back to it.. God willing.. if I am still of the living world..
This was my first political science book, and I was surprised to see it becoming a real page turner after the first two hundred pages. I had no idea how important the middle group of people are in a state. I don't know how much this corresponds to the present, but you hear on the news how the middle class is disappearing, the rich are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer, and now all of a sudden there is cause for alarm because Aristotle says this is how nations become unraveled!
The entire time Aristotle was talking about the ideal state, I really got the feeling of where he considered himself in the hierarchy - as part of the elite. He talked about the polity but to me it felt like he was placating to the poor and middle class so as to maintain the current system, and not for the sake of it being the best state. A good example would be when he talked about farmers not having the time to work in government versus the rich who do, so the rich will rule and the poor and middle classes will be able to scrutinize without having the time or resources to get involved. It seems this is a more practical way to look at a society. We want to believe that we live in a place where everyone has a vote and we're all equal, but like Aristotle says, we're not equal. People with money and education are worth more to a state than a poor person with no education.
Well that's kind of depressing. Reading this book makes me want to hide in the comfort of eastern philosophy where we are all one, where the illusion of ego and status melt away and all we are left with is a single consciousness.
What else. There are a lot of subjects to tackle after reading this book, but I'll stop here. I admire what Aristotle was able to put together. On a separate note, in Plato's "Crito", Socrates provides his reasons for not fleeing Athens after the court decided to put him to death. I wonder what Aristotle's argument would have been (I want the 'sin against philosophy' argument flushed out) for running away. I don't know why, but at a basic level Socrates seems to have more virtue for staying and facing death.
Aristotle speaks through the ages in his classic Politics. Many of his observations, especially those on education, were prescient and are as relevant today as they were 2400 years ago. Aristotle examines different kinds of government and the advantages and dangers of each. He includes insight into many of the problems of democratic government that would be left unsolved for 2000 years- and some that remain unsolved. Aristotle not only predicts the dangers of socialism and communism, but also their downfalls. He examines public spirit, justice, and the meaning of life. This book is a rare watershed moment of in the study human nature.
While Aristotle's attempts to understand the scientific underpinnings of the universe via philosophy have been disproved, his philosophical and logical examinations of man, the political animal, are timeless and relevant in an age when short-lived mini-philosophies and faux-profundity pass for intellectual undertakings.
The work of Aristotle is a good source about the types of regimes prevailing in antiquity. The author describes both the disadvantages and the advantages of such regimes. The interesting thing is that in many places you can see that socialism and its related ideas are nothing new, because the author repeatedly mentions even with regimes that tried to set the equality of humans or plunder the rich to the poor. If someone is interested in various forms of governance in ancient Greece is recommended if you do not I do not recommend. According to me it is worth to pay attention to several issues:
1. Authorisation of slavery people who are slaves by nature. Unfortunately, Aristotle did not write exactly why nature allows some people to servitude, but not others. Human nature is one and we are all humans, unless someone wants to voluntarily relinquish their rights. Therefore, there should be no tolerance for slavery.
2. According to the author percent is bad, because according to him money using the percentage born themselves, which is contrary to nature. I would like to post here a series of profanity expressing my indignation at this idiocy, but it is not the right place. Unfortunately, in the times of Aristotle, there was no such thing as Economics, so people usually regarded percent for evil, but it is not. What then is the percentage? The percentage is premium for the risk and the payment for refraining from consumption by the lender. The Austrian School of Economics (ASE) functions such concept as "time preference". It is a measure of how people covet The present-day goods over future goods. A person with a low time preference is willing to save more, or refrain present consumption in favor of future profits. Person with a high time preference is just the opposite, that is more likely to spend more and take debt at the expense of future consumption. Savings of people with low time preference are then invested or deposited in the bank(in my deliberations I not included the creation of money out of nothing by the State, because it is a separate topic). As a result, a person with a higher time preference can take out a loan. And percentage is pay for refraining from consumption by the holder. If I lend someone 1000 $, and this person return money to me in a week, rather no one sees nothing wrong with that. But if I borrow 1000 $ someone and that person will give me the exact 1000 $ in 10 years, then you consider that it is okay? But the creditor can not use this money for a long time. In addition, there is no guarantee that the person will return it to him. Thus, in addition, such a person also needs premium for the risk because not all the debtors are solvency. Additionally saving supports capital accumulation, allowing more advanced investments and production of increasingly sophisticated goods. Without this, there would be practically no development. Western Europe is much richer than Africa, thanks to a much earlier start of the accumulation of capital, which was made possible by a change in people's thinking. This led to the Industrial Revolution and a significant increase in the wealth of all people. I do not see anything unfair in charging interest.
3. Aristotle said at one point that as we have righteous people in power, they would give the power voluntarily to people more virtuous. It is of course absurd. Why would anyone voluntarily waive privileges to someone else?
4. Aristotle in one place called the view that democracy is equivalent to freedom. This is not true. Freedom lies in the fact that anyone can do what they want until they violate the freedom of others. On the other hand democracy is that form different groups and the largest group (not the majority of citizens as Democrats say) imposes its will on others and rob them. Of course, other groups may seize power, but it will lead only to change the direction of looting. Democracy obviously leads to a desire to impose own will to others and the looting of all by all, which has been well described in The Law written by Frédéric Bastiat, which I recommend to read. Someone may ask, of course, that if democracy is bad, what to replace it. In my opinion the best will be the minimum state that took care about a police, legal system, the military and foreign policy. Such state should be prohibited from interfering in the private affairs of the people and the economy. And the way how it will choose the officials, which will obviously be very few(whether by voting citizens, or something else) is secondary.
5. The last thing I want here to keep reminding Aristotle, is the desire to repair people by state education. Why would philosopher impose to me his values? In recent times it appeared several such men (Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, etc.) who have tried to implement this idea and it ended tragically. Each of us is different and professes different values. Besides, who is to decide what is virtuous and what is not? It is impossible to unify people, because the majority will always reject this values and the only way is to send such people to gulags and concentration camps. It is better to let people act and do not interfere as long as one does not violate the freedom of others. I recommend to read The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism written by Ayn Rand.
There were many other things that can give cancer but I decided that I will no refer to them because they are less cancer-giving.
//polish Dzieło Arystotelesa jest dobrym źródłem o rodzajach ustrojów panujących w starożytności. Autor opisuje zarówno wady, jak i zalety takich ustrojów. Ciekawą rzeczą jest to, że w wielu miejscach widać że socjalizm i jej pokrewne idee nie są niczym nowym, ponieważ autor wielokrotnie wspomina choćby o ustrojach, które próbowały ustawić równość u ludzi lub też grabić bogatych na rzecz biednych. Jeśli kogoś interesują różne formy rządzenia w starożytnej Grecji to polecam, jeśli nie to nie polecam. Według mnie warto jednak zwrócić uwagę na kilka kwestii:
1. Pozwolenie na niewolnictwo ludzi, którzy są niewolnikami z natury. Niestety Arystoteles nie napisał dokładnie dlaczego natura jednych ludzi pozwala na zniewolenie, a innych nie. Ludzka natura jest jedna i wszyscy jesteśmy ludźmi, chyba że ktoś chce dobrowolnie zrzec swoich praw. Dlatego nie powinno być przyzwolenia na niewolnictwo.
2. Według autora procent jest zły, ponieważ według niego pieniądze za pomocą procentu rodzą się same, co jest sprzeczne z naturą. Chciałbym zamieścić tutaj serię wulgaryzmów wyrażających moje oburzenie na ten idiotyzm, jednak nie jest to odpowiednie miejsce. Niestety w czasach Arystotelesa nie było czegoś takiego jak Ekonomia, więc ludzie zazwyczaj uważali procent za zło, jednak tak nie jest. Czym w takim razie jest procent? Procent jest premią za ryzyko oraz zapłatą za powstrzymanie się od konsumpcji przez pożyczkodawcę. W Austriackiej Szkole Ekonomii(ASE) funkcjonuje takie pojęcie jak "preferencja czasowa". Jest to miara tego, jak ludzie pożądają dobra teraźniejsze nad przyszłymi. Osoba z niską preferencją czasową jest skłonna więcej oszczędzać, czyli powstrzymywać się teraźniejszej konsumpcji na rzecz przyszłej. U osoby z wysoką preferencją czasową jest na odwrót, czyli jest bardziej skłonna do wydawania i zadłużania się kosztem przyszłej konsumpcji. Oszczędności osoby o niskiej preferencji czasowej są później inwestowane lub też odkładane w banku(w swoich rozważaniach nie uwzględniam tworzenia pieniądza z niczego przez państwo, ponieważ jest to osobny temat). Dzięki temu osoba z wyższą preferencją czasową może wziąć pożyczkę. I procent właśnie jest zapłatą za powstrzymanie się od konsumpcji przez oszczędzającego. Jeśli pożyczę komuś 1000 zł, a ta osoba za tydzień mi je odda, to raczej nikt nie widzi w tym nic złego. Ale jeśli pożyczę komuś 1000 zł a ta osoba odda mi dokładnie 1000 zł za 10 lat, to uważacie że to jest w porządku? Przecież wierzyciel nie może korzystać z tych pieniędzy przez długi czas. Dodatkowo nie ma gwarancji na to, że ta osoba mu to zwróci. Zatem dodatkowo taka osoba potrzebuje także premii za ryzyko, ponieważ nie wszyscy jej dłużnicy będą wypłacalni. Dodatkowo oszczędzanie wspomaga akumulację kapitału, co umożliwia coraz bardziej zaawansowane inwestycje i produkcje coraz bardziej zaawansowanych dóbr. Bez tego nie było by praktycznie rozwoju. Choćby zachodnia Europa jest znacznie bogatsza od Afryki właśnie dzięki znacznie wcześniejszemu rozpoczęciu akumulacji kapitału, co było możliwe dzięki zmianie myślenia ludzi. To doprowadziło do rewolucji przemysłowej i do znacznego wzrostu bogactwa wszystkich ludzi. Nie widzę nic niesprawiedliwego w pobieraniu procentu.
3. Arystoteles stwierdził w jednym miejscu, że jak będziemy mieli cnotliwych ludzi przy władzy, to oddadzą oni władzę dobrowolnie ludziom bardziej cnotliwym. Jest to oczywiście absurdalne. Dlaczego ktoś miałby dobrowolnie zrzec się przywilejów na rzecz kogoś innego?
4. Arystoteles w jednym miejscu przywołał pogląd, według którego demokracja jest równoważna z wolnością. Nie jest to prawdą. Wolność polega na tym, że każdy może robić sobie co chce dopóki nie narusza wolności innych. Natomiast demokracja polega na tym, że formują się różne grupy i największa grupa(nie większość obywateli jak to mówią demokraci) narzuca swoją wolę wszystkim innym i grabi ich. Oczywiście inne grupy mogą przejąć władzę, ale doprowadzi to tylko do zmiany kierunku grabieży. Demokracja w oczywisty sposób prowadzi do chęci narzucania swojej woli oraz grabieży wszystkich przez wszystkich, co zostało dobrze opisane w The Law napisanym przez Frédéric Bastiat, które polecam przeczytać. Ktoś może oczywiście zapytać, że skoro demokracja jest zła, to czym ją zastąpić. Według mnie najlepsze będzie państwo minimum, które zajmowało by się policją, systemem prawnym, wojskiem oraz polityką zagraniczną. Takie państwo powinno mieć zakaz mieszania się w prywatne sprawy ludzi oraz w gospodarkę. A to, jak będzie wybierać się urzędników, których będzie oczywiście bardzo niewielu(czy to przez głosowanie obywateli, czy coś innego) jest sprawą drugorzędną.
5. Ostatnią rzeczą którą chcę tutaj wypomnieć Arystotelesowi, jest chęć naprawy człowieka przez państwową edukację. Dlaczego jakiś filozof miałby narzucać mi wyznawane przez mnie wartości? W ostatnich czasach pojawiło się kilku takich panów(Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao itd) którzy próbowali zrealizować tą ideę i zakończyło się to tragicznie. Każdy z nas jest inny i wyznaje inne wartości. Poza tym kto ma decydować o tym, co jest cnotliwe a co nie? Nie da się ujednolicić ludzi, ponieważ zawsze większość będzie się temu opierała i jedynym wyjściem będzie wysyłanie takich ludzi do gułagów i obozów zagłady. Lepiej pozwolić ludziom działać i nie ingerować dopóki nikt nie narusza wolności innych. Polecam przeczytać Cnota egoizmu napisaną przez Ayn Rand.
Było jeszcze wiele innych rakogennych fragmentów ale uznałem, że nie będę się do nich odnosił, ponieważ są mniej rakogenne.