A Little Perspective: Aristotle vs. Republican Tea Party

The RTP insists over and over that government is too big, that it interferes in business too much (and apparently not enough in people’s private lives), and that American government should be shrunk to the size of a bathtub and then drowned.

Obviously these people are not thinkers, demonstrate no concern for their fellow Americans, and don’t give a damn about community outside their enclaves of thoughtlessness. They want whatever they can get their hands on, whether it be salary and wages without taxes, or teachers working for a pittance in a public school system damned by lack of funds, or roads and bridges crumbling into uselessness. All that seems to matter to them is that we have a big, bad military to protect us from all the evil they imagine exists in the world planning to get them and make them bow to some god or orthodoxy which is as ludicrous as their own vaunted system of superstitions.

But there is nothing new under the sun…

Aristotle’s belief that humans are by nature political animals (i.e., who live in an organized society) and that the state is a positive force in bringing about the good life (rather than only being a necessary evil whose purpose is to keep order) had a great impact in both the theory and practice of statecraft. Aristotle’s view of the state provided ammunition to secular rulers against claims of ecclesiastical interference and supremacy, and was a major element in the defeat of the idea of a universal Christian monarchy ruled by the pope.

That’s from The Medieval World View: An Introduction.*

It’s the same battle American society is fighting today. We’re not in much danger of being ruled by the creaking pederasts in the Vatican, but it’s difficult to imagine that the fundogelicals fueling the mindless rage on the right would rule with a lighter hand than the vicious princes of delusion in the Vatican applied during the Inquisition.

And it’s certain that the RTP doesn’t believe that the state, i.e., the American government, could ever be a force for bringing the good life to Americans. They seem to think that nobody in government is an American, other than the right-wing crazies in Congress who are as thoughtless and vapid and loud as the bulk of the RTP itself these days. For the RTP government only exists to project American power (e.g., bombs, bullets, cluster bombs, denial and ignorance of science, slaughter, and arrogance) around the world and police power against anyone who dares to object to the coming rule of ignorance and arrogance and sheer stupidity that characterize the RTP.

Life back in the days of Aristotle and in the millennium of the medieval world was brutal and cold under the weight of princes and barons and priests. The people with the gold and the armor and the weapons and the crucifixes trampled pretty much anyone who got in the way of their lust for power and greed for wealth. It’s hard to imagine the current crop of wannabe rulers in the RTP want life to be much different, especially since that’s where their policies would take the world.

And where’s today’s Aristotle to drive them from the doors of the temples of democracy?

* The Medieval World View: An Introduction: William R. Cook, Ronald B. Herzman, Oxford University Press, 2d edition, softcover, p. 27

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks for that bit of history comrade. You’re right – nothing new under the sun.

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    • Yup. Just the old stuff coming back around to bite us on the butt again.

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  2. The RTP insists over and over that government is too big, that it interferes in business too much (and apparently not enough in people’s private lives)…

    I’m not sure the RTP, the RR or anyone else of that ilk believes people have private lives. After all, people are supposed to confess their sins in public and accept public chastisement when they fall from the straight and narrow way. Well, ordinary people are supposed to live that way. Powerful people get to play by different rules.

    Yup. It’s all part of belonging to god’s unhappy, dysfunctional family. Who wouldn’t want to go to that family party?

    P.S. In times of austerity, you’d be wise to BYOPS (bring your own potato salad) to the party pot luck social.

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