Quote of the Day – Aristotle

17 10 2007

The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.





One response

29 10 2007

The idea of equality before the law is more of a modern idea. Perhaps this more precise passage in Aristotle may make this a bit clearer:

“ but there is also a sort of rule in accordance with which one rules those who are similar in stock and free. For this is what we speak of as political rule, and the ruler learns it by being ruled —just as the cavalry commander learns by being commanded, the general by being led ……. Hence this too has been rightly said, that it is not possible to rule well without being ruled. Virtue in each of these cases is different, but the good citizen, should know and have the capacity both to be ruled and to rule, and this very thing is the virtue of the citizen —knowledge of rule over free persons from both (points of view)… ” (Politics III *4 1277b5-15, P. 91, Carnes Lord)

For Aristotle the question of liberty and ruling is prior to the question of equality. What makes citizens equal is a capacity for rule and being ruled.

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