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Political Principles by Aristotle - An Essay Example

6 pages
1446 words
Wesleyan University
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Aristotle is arguably the best teacher in politics throughout the history of man. In his political texts, he posits the ideal form of government, and illustrates how the rulers should interact with their subjects. His discussion of politics includes the ethical and moral aspects of governance. He portrays men as political animals who are capable of upholding the highest degree of morality in all their dealings. He shows that human beings can live harmoniously with one another as long as they conduct themselves ethically. The principles of governance that Aristotle describes can be pivotal today if the rulers grasp these concepts in totality. In the contemporary politics, leadership is seen to deviate from the core principles that Aristotle holds true. Politics are nowadays synonymous with corruption and the subversion of the law. The people holding the highest offices on land are selfish, proud, and often fail to represent the interests of the common public. The American version of democracy is akin to the oligarchy that Aristotle explains in his discourses of regimes. There are varied types of governments that exist in the world today. Some of these are observant to the teachings of Aristotle, while some are totally contrary to these principles. While the contemporary government has entrenched gender equality and completely abolished the institution of slavery, there are clear deficits in leadership. If the Aristotelian principles were to be followed to the letter today, the government would be comprised of the middle class rather than the rich and the affluent, while the corruption and the subversion of the law could no longer be heard in the political sphere.

The eight Aristotelian books on politics focus on the discussion of the ideal leadership patterns. Aristotle first places ethics at the center of politics. He proves that man is capable of upholding high moral standards. He begins with the description of a city as the power base of any government. The city rules all other areas, and houses human beings of diverse castes. The people that occupy the highest caste, the masters, are depicted as the citizens while their slaves are not. Slavery, according to Aristotle, is justifiable as long as the slaves are people defeated in war. By this assertion, Aristotle appears to praise the strength of the city in conquering other inferior states. According to Aristotle, man is a political animal. He metaphorically compares man with other social animals like bees or birds, although he says the man is endowed with logos, that is, speech and reasoning. In one of the books, Aristotle describes a good citizen as one who is obedient of the law, one who lives a moral life, and supports the regime in place. He is also critical of democracy, and he considers it third in the order of best forms of government. In his book on regimes, he considers a monarchy as the best form of government. A monarchy, he says, is led by one person, who has the interests of all the others at heart. The second best form of government, according to Aristotle, is aristocracy. Instead of one ruler to represents the interest of the other countrymen, Aristotle thinks that several people holding high offices on behalf of other men can still work better than democracy. Aristotle also places education as the center of national development. He cites that education should be equal to all citizens to capacitate all people to be productive.

Logical thinking and moral integrity are core values that Aristotelian politics emphasize on. These principles are relevant in the politics of the day in aspects that pertain to the election of leaders, drafting of national policy, and the implementation of governments strategy. The nomination of political party flag bearers should depict a logical process. The leaders thus elected to represent a political party in the national politics should embody integrity and represent the face of the electorate. They should have a background that is beyond reproach and the electorate should unanimously endorse them for the leadership positions. There are many reasons why the contemporary politics need to be moral. Politics determine how the resources are governed. The government is responsible for the management of billions of taxpayers money that should be utilized in accordance with the needs of the nation. The tax system works as a resources pooling and redistribution scheme. The money collected in taxes should be accounted for by the moral leaders elected to represent people in state and national levels. Morality also calls for the promotion of ethnic tolerance. Moral leaders would promote the coexistence of the people hailing from different socio-political and ideological divides. In America, the president elected comes from one of the two major political parties. Different states in the country follow one of the two parties, and the president must embody the aspirations of the both divides in the country.

Citizenship is a very important factor in any political setup. The citizens of a country are responsible for electing the president and all other officials at the national and state level. The citizen also pays the tax and supports the government through funding. Through public participation, the citizens can propose amendments in the laws to effects certain change. In other words, the citizens of a country are the pillars that support the government and shape the national politics. Aristotle was very categorical of an ideal citizenry. He posited that the citizens of the country must support the regime in leadership. Supporting the regime means refraining from civil disobedience, avoiding unnecessary picketing and demonstration to disrupt national peace. A good citizen, in the view of Aristotle, must promote coexistence among the diverse communities living in the country. They must also pay their taxes and conduct themselves ethically in the presence of other countrymen. Therefore, they must do their businesses fairly, and avoid the infringement of the rights of their fellow citizens. They must be obedient to the rule of law, participate in elections and referenda, and sit in juries when required to.

Many of the governments in the world today are striving towards the attainment of full democracy. This endeavor is motivated by the global belief that democracies promote the will of the people to allow the public to participate in the governance of the country. According to Aristotle, however, democracy is not the ideal form of the government but a monarchy is. A monarchy is headed by one person for the common good. The throne of a monarch is ascended to by one person from the royal family who must also have the common interest of the people at heart. Although the people do not participate in the election of a monarch, their aspirations are met through their leader. This is a case of the end justifying the means. Aristotle acknowledged that some democratically elected governments may perform much worse than the monarch. However, due to the popularity of democracy, he dedicates one book to outline the characteristics of an ideal democracy. One of the core attributes of this democracy is that it should be headed by the farmers. He metaphorically uses farmers to represent the working class of the nation. According to Aristotle, farmers have less time to waste and will, therefore, not spend a lot of time in assemblies. Farmers, too, are less extravagant, and are less likely to embezzle public funds.

The importance of education appears as a core concept in the Aristotelian government. He proposes an education system that is equal for all. This education should be a critical project of the government. The current government, however, has frustrated the efforts to have equitable and quality education for all citizens. There is apparent underfunding of some states schools. The privatization of the schools introduces a market model in the management of this sector, making it difficult for students from poor background to access quality education.

In conclusion, there are vivid differences in the contemporary government and the version idealized by Aristotle. One of the key differences is that the world today has unanimously agreed to stump out slavery and enhance gender equality. Aristotle proposes a system of government where high degree of virtue is the guiding principle; where social justice is a collective effort of the government and the citizenry. In contrary to the proposal by Aristotle, the modern governments have been marked with the ascension to power of power-thirsty politicians who do no embody the values of honesty and accountability. There is also a rampant increase in the institutionalized infringement of basic human rights in some states of the world. In a nutshell, the ideals of government and politics proposed by Aristotle have been implemented in varying degrees in differ parts of the world

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