M. N. Roy Jawaharlal Nehru

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Ethics, i, 7.

  • Ibid.

    The golden mean, however, is not, like the mathematical mean, an exact average of two precise y calculable extremes ; it fluctuates with the collateral circumstances of each situation, and discovers it­self only to mature and flexible reason. Excellence is an art won by training and habituation ; we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have. acted

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    2. great political thinkers

    1. rightly ; "these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions ;"
      we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a
      habit: "the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excel-
      lence in a complete life for as it is not one swallow or one fine

    2. day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy."8

    3. But the golden mean, said our matter-of-fact philosopher, is not all of the secret of happiness. We must, have, too, a fair degree of worldly goods : poverty makes one stingy and grasping ; while posses­sions give one that freedom from care and greed which is the source of aristocratic ease and charm. The noblest of these external aids to happiness is friendship. Indeed, friendship is more necessary to the happy than to the unhappy : for happiness is multiplied by being shared. It is more important than justice : for "when men are friends, justice is necessary ; but when men are just, friendship is still a boon." "A friend is one soul in two bodies,'' yet friendship implies few friends rather than many ; "he who has many friends has no friend ;" and "to be a friend to many people in the way of perfect friendship is impossible." Fine friendship requires duration rather than fitful intensity ; and this implies stability of character ; it is to altered character that we must attribute the dissolving kaleidoscope of friendship. And friendship requires equality ; for gratitude gives it at best a slippery basis. "Benefactors are commonly held to have more friendship for the objects of their kindness than these for them. The account of the matter which satisfies most persons is that the one

    4. are debtors and the others creditors and that the debtors wish

    5. their creditors out of the way, while the creditors are anxious that their debtors should be preserved." Aristotle rejected this interpre­tation ; he preferred to believe that the greater tenderness of the benefactor was to be explained on the analogy of the artist's affection for his work, or the mother's for her child. We love that which we have made.8 However, Aristotle's ideal man is no mere metaphysi­cian.

      1. Ibid.

      2. Ibid., viii and ix.

      "He does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently ; but he is willing, in great crisis, to give even his life—knowing that under certain condi­tions it is not worthwhile to live. He is of a disposition to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done to him. To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority; to receive one is a mark of subordination. . . .He does not take part in public displays. . . .He is open in his dislikes and preferences ; he talks and acts frankly, be­cause of his contempt for men and things. . . .He is never fired with admiration, since there is nothing great in his eyes. He cannot live in complaisance with others, except, it be a friend ; complaisance is

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    1. the characteristic of a slave. . . .He never feels malice, and always forgets and passes over injuries. . . .He is not fond of talking. . . .It is no concern of his that he should be praised, or that others should be blamed. He does not speak evil of others, even of his enemies, un­less it be to themselves. His carriage is sedate, his voice deep, his speech measured ; he is not given to hurry, for he is concerned about only a few things ; he is not prone to vehemence, for he thinks nothing very important. A shrill voice and hasty steps come to a man through care. . . .He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances, like a skilful gene­ral who marshals his limited forces with all the strategy of war. . . . He is his own best friend, and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virtue or ability is his own worst enemy, and is afraid of solitude."'

    2. Aristotle's Realism

    3. From so aristocratic an ethic there naturally follows a severely aristocratic political philosophy. Aristotle was honestly conservative because of the turmoil and disaster that had come out of Athenian democracy ; like a typical scholar he longed for order, security and peace. This, he felt, was no time for political extravaganzas. Radi­calism is a luxury of stability ; we may dare to change things only when things lie steady under our hands. And, in general, says Aristotle, "the habit of lightly changing the laws is an evi': and when the advantage of change is small, some defects whether i_ the law or in the ruler had better be met with philosophic toleration. The citizen will gain less by the change than he will lose by acquiring the habit of disobedience."8 Let us not disregard the experience of ages. Surely, "in the multitude of years, these things, if they were good, would not have remained unknown."*

    4. These things, of course, mean chiefly Plato's communistic republic. Aristotle fought the realism of Plato about universal, and the idealism of Plato about government. He found many dark spots in the picture painted by the master. He did not relish the barrack­like continuity of contact to which Plato apparently condemned his guardian philosophers. Conservative though he was, Aristotle valued individual quality, privacy and liberty above social efficiency and power. He would not care to call every contemporary brother or sister, nor every elder person, father or mother ; if all are your brothers, none is ; and "how much better it is to be the real cousin of somebody than to be a son after Plato's fashion !" In a state having women and children in common, "love will be watery . . .Of the two qualities which chiefly inspire regard and affection—that a great political thinkers

    5. thing is your own, and that it awakens real love in you—neither can exist in such a state" as Plato's.10

    6. Perhaps there was, in the dim past, a communistic society, when the family was the only state, and pasturage or simple tillage the only form of life. But "in a more divided state of society," where the division of labour into unequally important functions elicits and enlarges the natural inequality of men, communism breaks down because it provides no adequate incentive for the exertion of superior abilities. The stimulus of gain is necessary to arduous work ; and the stimulus of ownership is necessary to proper industry, husbandry and care. When everybody owns everything nobody will take care of anything. "That which is common to the greatest number has the least attention bestowed upon it. Everyone thinks chiefly of his own, hardly ever of the public interest." And "there is always a difficulty in living together, or having things in common, but especially in having common property." The partnerships of fellow-travellers "are an example to the point; for they generally fall out by the way, and quarrel about any trifle that turns up."11

    7. Aristotle's Analysis of Human Nature and Defence of Slavery

    8. Aristotle was of the opinion that human nature is nearer to the best than to the god. The great majority of men are natural dunces and sluggards ; in any system whatever these men will sink to the bottom ; and to help them with state subsidies is "like pouring water into a leaking cask". Such people must be ruled in politics and directed in industry : with their consent, if possible, without it, if necessary. "From the hour of their birth some are marked out for subjection, and others for command."" For he who can foresee with his mind is by nature intended to be lord and master ; and he who can work only with his body is by nature a slave. The slave is to the master what the body is to the mind ; and as the body should be subject to the mind, so "it is better for all inferiors that they should .ibe under the rule of a master." The slave is a tool with life in it, the tool is a lifeless slave.

    9. Such a philosophy typifies the Greek disdain for manual labour. Such work in Athens had not become so complicated as it is today, when the intelligence demanded in many manual trades is at times much greater than that required for the operations of the lower middle class, and even a college professor may look upon an automobile mechanic (in certain cases) as a very god. Manual work was then merely manual, and Aristotle looked down upon it, from the heights of philosophy, as belonging to men without minds. Manual labour, he believed, dulls and deteriorates the mind, and leaves neither time

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    1. nor energy for political intelligence. It seemed to Aristotle a reason­able corollary that only persons of some leisure should have a voice in the government. Thus Aristotle defended slavery wholeheartedly.

    2. Aristotle, in the same way, considered woman as inferior to man. The male is by nature superior, and the female inferior ,• the one rules and the other is ruled ; and this principle extends, of neces­sity, to all mankind. Woman is weak of will, and therefore incap­able of independence of character or position ; her best condition, according to Aristotle, is a quiet home-life in which, while ruled by the man in her external relations, she may be in domestic affairs supreme. Women should not be made more like men, as in Plato's republic ; rather the dissimilarity should be increased ; nothing is so attractive as the difference. "The courage of a man and that of a woman are not, as Socrates supposed, the same : the courage of a man is shown in commanding ; that of a woman in obeying. . . .As the poet says, 'Silence is a woman's glory'."13

    3. State Controlled Marriage and Education

    4. Aristotle, further, advised man to defer marriage till the vicinity of thirty-seven, and then to marry a lass of some twenty years. A girl who is rounding the twenties is usually the equal of a man of thirty, but may perhaps be managed by a seasoned warrior of thirty-seven. What attracted Aristotle to this matrimonial mathematics is the consideration that two such disparate persons will lose their repro­ductive power and passions at approximately the same time. Accor­ding to him, the union of male and female when too young is bad for the creation of children ; in all animals the offspring of the young are small and ill-developed, and generally female." Health is more important than love. Further, "it conduces to temperance not to marry too soon ; for women who marry early are apt to be wanton : and in men too the bodily frame is stunted if they marry while they are growing."1* Aristotle did not want to leave these matters to youth­ful caprice- On the contrary, he wanted the state to supervise and control them. The state, he firmly stated, should determine the minimum and maximum ages of marriage for each sex, the best sea­sons for conception, and the rate of increase in population.

    5. Likewise, the state should control the education. "That which most contributes to the permanence of constitutions is the adaptation of education to the form of government. . . .The citizen should be moulded to the form of government under which he lives. ",s By state control of schools we might divert men from industry and trade to agriculture ; and we might train men, while keeping property private, to open their possessions to discriminately common use. Let youth

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    1. be taught the great boon it has in the state, the unappreciated secu­rity which comes of social organization, the freedom that comes of law. "Man, when perfected, is the best of animals ; but when isolated he is the worst of all ; for injustice is more dangerous when armed, and man is equipped at birth with the weapon of intelligence, and with qualities of character which he may use for the vilest ends. Wherefore if he have not virtue he is the most unholy and savage of animals, full of gluttony and lust." And only social control can give him virtue. Through speech man evolved society ; through society, intelligence ; through intelligence, order; and through order, civili­zation. In such an ordered state the individual has a thousand op­portunities and avenues of development open to him which a solitary life would never give. "To live alone," then, "one must be either an animal or a god."1'

    2. After establishing necessary safeguards in education, in religion, and in the ordering of family life, Aristotle now turned to the defini­tion of the state. He considered the state the highest form of com­munity. Every state is a community of some kind, and every com­munity is established with a view to some good ; for mankind always act in order to obtain that which they think good. But, if all com­munities aim at some good, the state of political community, which is the highest of all, and which embraces all the rest, aims at good in a greater degree than any other, and at the highest good.

    3. State : Its Origin, Nature and Object

    4. The state, according to Aristotle, comes into existence when several villages are united in a single complete community, large enough to be nearly or quite self-sufficing. It comes into being for the sake of life, and continues for the sake of a good life. And, therefore, if the earlier forms of society are natural, so is the state, for it is the end of them, and the nature of a thing is its end. "For what each thing is when fully developed, w" call its nature, whether we are speaking of a man, a house, or a family. Besides, the final cause and end of a thing is the best, and to be self-sufficing is the end and the best."17

      1. Ibid., i, 2.

      2. Ibid.

      Hence it is evident, Aristotle writes in Politics, that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal. And he who by nature and not by mere accident is without a state, is either a bad man or above humanity. He is like the "tribeless, lawless, heartless one." That man is more of a political animal than bees or any other gregarious animal is evident. Nature, as we very often say, makes nothing in vain, and man is the only animal whom she has endowed with the gift of speech. It is also the characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust,

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    1. and the like, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family and a state.

    2. Further, Aristotle was of the view that the state was by nature clearly prior to the family and to the individual, since the whole is of necessity prior to the part. The proof that the state is a creation of nature and prior to the individual is that the individual, when isolated, is not self sufficing; and therefore he is like a part in relation to the whole. But he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god ; he is no part of a state. A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all ; since armed injustice is the most dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used by intelligence and virtue, which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he has no virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony. But justice, writes Aristotle, is the bond of men in states, for the administration of justice, which is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in political society.

    3. Classification of Government and the best Polity

    4. Now we come to the question as to what form of political com­munity is best of all from the above viewpoint. All forms have good and bad commingled m them, and are severally adapted to various conditions. Theoretically, Aristotle remarked, the ideal form of government would be the centralization of all political power in the one best man. Homer is right: "Bad is the lordship of many ; let one be your ruler and master." For such a man law would be rather an instrument than a limit: "for men of eminent ability there is no law—they are themselves a law." Anyone would be ridiculous who should attempt to make laws for them ; they would probably retort what, in the fable of Antisthenes, the lions said to the hares when, in the council of beasts, the latter began haranguing aad claiming equality for all—"Where are your claws ?"18

      1. 18 Politics, iii, 13.

      But in practice, monarchy is usually the worst form of govern­ment, for great strength and virtue are not near allied. Hence the best practicable polity is aristocracy, the rule of the informed and capable few. Government is too complex a thing to have its issues decided by number, when lesser issues ase reserved for knowledge and ability. "As the physician ought to be judged by the physician, so ought men in general to be judged by their peers. . . .Now does not this same principle apply to elections ? For a right election can only be made by those who have knowledge ; a geometrician, e.g., will choose rightly in matters of geometry : or a pilot in matters of

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    1. navigation. . . .So that neither the election of magistrates nor the calling of them to account should be entrusted to the many."

    2. The difficulty with hereditary aristocracy is that it has no per­manent economic base ; the eternal recurrence of the nouveaux riches puts political office sooner or later at the disposal of the highest bidder. "It is surely a bad thing that the greatest offices. . . .should be bought. The law which permits this abuse makes wealth of more account than ability, and the whole state becomes avaricious. For whenever the chiefs of the state deem anything honourable, the other citizens are sure to follow their example" ; and "where ability has not the first place there is no real aristocracy."19

    3. Democracy is usually the result of a revolution against pluto­cracy. "Love of gain of the ruling classes tends constantly to diminish their number" ; "and so to strengthen the masses, who in the end set upon their masters and establish democracies." This "rule by the poor" has some advantages. "The people, though individually they may be worse judges than those who have special knowledge, are collectively as good. Moreover, there are some artists whose works are best judged not by themselves alone, but by those who do not possess the art; e.g., the user or master of a house will be a better judge of it than the builder ;. . . .and the guest will be a better judge of feast than the cook."20 And "the many are more corruptible than the few ; they are like the greater quantity of water which is less easily spoiled than a little. The individual is liable to be overcome by anger, or by some other passion, and then his judgment is neces­sarily perverted : but it is hardly to be supposed that a great number of persons would all get into a passion and go wrong at the same moment.""

      1. Ibid., ii, 11.

      2. Ibid., iii, 15, 8, 11.

      3. Ibid., iii, 15.

      "Yet in practice, democracy opens an arena to the demagogues, and such a democracy is nearly certain to become lawless and dis­orderly. In practice, therefore, it is hardly different from tyranny. The problem of a democracy is to unite popular power with intelligent administration, and the latter is not possible by a large assembly. In any way, it is inferior to aristocracy. For it is based on a false assumption of equality ; it "arises out of the notion that those who are equal in one respect (e.g., in respect of the law) are equal in all respects ; because men are equally free they claim to be absolutely equal!" The upshot is that ability is sacrificed to number, while numbers are manipulated by trickery. Because the people are so easily misled, and so fickle in their views, the ballot should be limit­ed to the intelligent. What we'need is a combination of aristocracy and democracy.

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    1. Constitutional Government

    2. Constitutional government offers this happy union. It is not the best conceivable government—that would be an aristocracy of edu­cation—but it is the best possible state. We must now ask what is the best constitution for most states, and the best life for most men, neither assuming a standard of virtue which is above ordinary per­sons, nor an education which is exceptionally favoured by nature and circumstances, nor yet an ideal state which is an aspiration only, but having regard to the life in which the majority are able to share, and to the form of government which states in general can attain. "It is necessary to begin by assuming a principle of general application, namely, that part of the state which desires the continuance of the government must be stronger than that which does not ;" and strength consists neither in number alone, nor in property alone, nor in military or political ability alone, but in a combination of these, so that regard has to be taken of "freedom, wealth, culture and noble birth, as well as of more numerical superiority." Now where shall we find such an economic majority to support our constitutional government ?—perhaps best in the middle class. It is manifest that the best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well administered, in which the middle class is large, and stronger if possible than both the other classes, or at any rate than either singly ; for the addition of the middle class turns the scale, and prevents either of the extremes from being dominant. Great then is the good fortune of a state in which the citizens have a moderate and sufficient property : for where some possess much, and the others nothing, there may arise an extreme democracy, or a pure oligarchy ; or a tyranny may grow out of either extreme—either out of the most rampant democracy, or out of an oligarchy ; but it is not so likely to arise out of the middle constitu­tions and those akin to them. Our state, remarks Aristotle in Politics, will be sufficiently democratic if the road to every office is open to all; and sufficiently aristocratic if the offices themselves are closed except to those who have travelled the road and arrived fully pre­pared. From whatever angle we approach our eternal political pro­blem we monotonously reach the same conclusion : that the commu­nity should determine the ends to be pursued, but that only experts should select and apply the means ; that choice should be democrati­cally spread, but that office should be rigidly reserved for the equip­ped and winnowed best.

    3. Leaving aside special circumstances that may be peculiar to a given case, the best practicable state, according to Aristotle, is which avoids the extremes in democracy and oligarchy that experience has shown to be dangerous. This state Aristotle called the polity, or constitutional government. In any case the distinctive feature of this best practicable state is that it is a mixed form of constitution in which elements are judiciously combined from oligarchy and demo-

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    1. cracy. Its social basis is the presence of a large middle class com­posed of those who are neither very rich nor very poor. It is this class which, as Euripides had said years before, 'saves states'. For they are not poor enough to be degraded or rich enough to be facti­ous. When such a body of citizens exists they form a group large enough to give the state a popular foundation, disinterested enough to hold the magistrates responsible, and select enough to avoid the evils of government by the masses. Upon such a social foundation it is possible to build a political structure drawing upon institutions typical of both democracy and oligarchy. Aristole regarded Sp arta as a mixed constitution. He was probably thinking also of the government attempted at Athens in 411 B.C., which aimed to form a citizen-body restricted to five thousand able to supply themselves with heavy armour and which in the Constitution of Athens, Aristotle said, was the best government that Athens had ever had. "Like Plato, Asistotle was obliged by practical considerations to fall back upon property as a surrogate for virtue. Neither thinker believed that property is a sign of goodness, but both reached the conclusion that for political purposes it offers the best practicable approximation to it.""

      1. 22 Sabine, G. H. : A History of Political Theory (G. G. Harrap & Co, Ltd., London, 1948), p. 108.

      In fact, a government, according to Aristotle, is good when it aims at the good of the whole community, bad when it cares only for itself. There are three kinds of government that are good— monarchy, aristocracy, and constitutional government (or polity); there are three that are bad—tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy. There are also many mixed intermediate forms. It will be observed that the good and bad governments are defined by the ethical quali­ties of the holders of power, not by the form of the constitution only. This, however, is only partly true. An aristocracy is a rule of men of virtue, an oligarchy is a rule of the rich, and Aristotle did not con­sider virtue and wealth strictly synonymous. What he held, in accordance with the doctrine of the golden mean, is that a moderate competence is most likely to be associated with virtue. "Mankind do not acquire or preserve virtue by the help of external goods, but external goods by the help of virtue ; and 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." There is, therefore, a difference between the rule of the best (aristocracy) ard of the richest (oligarchy), since the best are likely to have only moderate fortunes. There is also a difference between democracy and polity, in addition to the ethical difference in the government, for what Aristotle called 'polity* retains some


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    1. oligarchic elements. But between monarchy and tyranny the only difference is ethical.

    2. As such, comparatively monarchy is better than aristocracy, aristocracy is better than polity. But the corruption of the best is worst; therefore tyranny is worse than oligarchy^ and oligarchy than democracy. In this way Aristotle arrived at a qualified defence of democracy ; for most actual governments are bad, and therefore, among actual governments, democracies tend to be the best. And the ideal state, according to Aristotle, if not a democracy, at least includes a democratic element. It is "a community of equals, aiming at the best life possible," and it ceases to be constitutional or genuinely political if the discrepancy between its members is so great that they cease to have the same 'virtue.'

    3. Sovereignty of Law

    4. Aristotle, at the same time, accepted the supremacy of law as a mark of a good state and not merely as an unfortunate necessity. His argument for this position was that Plato was mistaken when, in the Statesman, he made government by law and government by wise rulers alternatives. Even the wisest ruler could not dispense with law, because the law had an impersonal quality which no man, however good, could attain. The law is "reason unaffected by desire" ; and the analogy which Plato used to draw between politics and medicine is wrong. Constitutional rule is consistent with the dignity of the subject, whereas a personal or despotic rule is not. The constitutional ruler, as Aristotle conceived, rules over willing subjects ; he rules by consent and is quite different from a dictator. In short, constitu­tional rule, according to Aristotle, means three things : First, it is rule in the public or general interest as distinguished from a factional or tyrannous rule in the interest of a single class or individual. Second, it is lawful rule in the sense that government is carried on by general regulations and not by arbitrary decrees, and also in the vaguer sense that the government does not flout standing customs and conventions of the constitution. Third, constitutional government means the government of willing subjects as distinguished from a despotism that is supported merely by force.

    5. And, in the making of law, Aristotle argued that the collective wisdom of a people was superior to that of even the wisest law-giver. He developed the argument still farther in connection with his dis­cussion of the political ability of popular assemblies. Men in the mass supplement each other in a singular fashion, so that by one understanding one part of a question and another, another part, they all together get around the whole subject. He did not approve of Plato's argument that the knowledge of the wisest ruler could be better than the customary law. The rigid distinction between nature and convention, with the extreme intellectual ism or rationalism to which this distinction had committed Socrates and Plato, was thus

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    1. broken down by Aristotle. His point of view was that the reason of the statesman in a good state could not be detached from the reason embodied in the law and custom of the community he ruled.

    2. Causes and Prevention of Revolutions

    3. After discussing his best state and the significance of law and customs in it, Aristotle switched on to the consideration of the causes of revolution. Ie Greece, revolutions were as frequent as formerly in Latin America, and hence Aristotle had a copious experience from which hw drew certain inferences. The main cause was the conflict of oligarchs and democrats. Democracy, Aristotle remarked, arises from the belief that men who are equally free should be equal in all respects ; oligarchy, from the fact that men who are superior in some respect claim too much. Both have a kind of justice, but not the best kind. "Therefore both parties, whenever their share in the govern­ment does not accord with their preconceived ideas, stir up revolu­tion."23 Democractic governments are less liable to revolutions than oligarchies, because oligarchs may fall out with and another. The oligarchs seem to have been vigorous fellows. In some cities, we are told, they swore an oath : "I will be an enemy to the people, and will devise all the harm against them which 1 can." Nowadays reactionaries are not so frank.

      1. 23 Quoted from B Russell's A History of Western Philosophy (Unwin Brothers Ltd., London, 1947), p. 213,

      Aristotle considered three things necessary to prevent revolution. These are government propaganda in education, respect for law, even in small things, and justice in law and administration, i.e., "equality according to proportion, and for every man to enjoy his own." Too much reliance should not be placed on devices to deceive the people. Too much power should not be allowed to concentrate in the hands of one man or one class of men and various classes in the state should be treated with consideration. No man or class of men should feel that they cannot hold political power. Great political offices should be outside the reach of unknown strangers and aliens. Holders of offices should not be able to make private gain, by bribery and grati­fication out of their offices. The administrative machinery, parti­cularly financial administration, should be open to public scrutiny. Offices and honours should be awarded on considerations of distri­butive justice and no class of citizens should have a monopoly of political power. The citizens should be educated in the spirit of the constitution. The highest offices in the state should be distributed only on considerations of loyalty to the constiiution, administrative capacity and integrity of character, but each citizen must have his due. The government of the day should keep before the public the danger of foreign attack in case of internal revolution. A revolution,


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    1. to Aristotle, constituted more a political than a legal change. It had the effect of reversing ethical, social and economic standards.

    2. Revolution is always unwise. It may achieve some good, but at the cost of many evils, the chief of which is the disturbance, and perhaps the dissolution, of that social order and structure on which every political good depends. The direct consequences of revolution­ary innovations may be calculable and salutary ; but the indirect are generally incalculable, and not seldom disastrous. "They who take only a few points into account find it easy to pronounce judgment" ; and a man can make up his mind quickly if he has only a little to make up. "Young men are easily deceived, for they are quick to hope." The suppression of long-established habits brings the over­throw of innovating governments because the old habits persist among the people ; characters are not so easily changed as laws. If a constitution is to be permanent, all the parts of a society must desire it to be maintained. Therefore a ruler who would avoid revolution should prevent extremes of poverty and wealth—"a condition which is most often the result of war" ; he should (like the English) encourage colonization as an outlet for a dangerously congested^ population ; and he should foster and practise religion. An autocratic ruler particularly "should appear to be earnest in the worship of the gods ; for if men think that a ruler is religious and reveres the gods, they are less afraid of suffering injustice at his hands, and are less disposed to conspire against him, since they believe that the gods themselves are fighting on his side."w

    3. Aristotle's Fundamental Assumptions

    4. Aristotle's fundamental assumptions, in his Politics, are very different from those of any modern writer. The aim of the state, according to him, is to produce cultured gentlemen—men who com­bine the aristocratic mentality with love of learning and the arts. This combination existed, in its highest perfection, in the Athens of Pericles, not in the population at large, but among the well-to-do. But it began to break down in the last years of Pericles. After the death of Socrates, the bigotry of the Athenian democracy diminished, and Athens remained the centre of ancient culture, but political power went elsewhere. Throughout later antiquity, power and culture were usually separate : power was in the hands of rough soldiers, culture belonged to powerless Greeks, often slaves. The notion of popular education, in the modern times, has finally given a death blow to the old conception of combination of power and culture. Hence, the day of the "cultured gentleman is almost past."

    5. 24 Politics, iv, 5 ; ii, 9 ; v, 7 ; ii, 11.
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