Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A Snippet of The Book of Politics by Aristotle

I’ve learned 3 things from reading this book:

  • Books translated from Greek are difficult to read. 
  • Aristotle expects the reader to be versed in everything else going on in his day which makes his work difficult to read. 
  • The methods with which a tyrant takes over a government were the same 2500 years ago as it is today.

Some notable thoughts taken from the book:

“They who love in excess also hate in excess.”
-Aristotle, Politics

“All constitutions are overthrown either from within or from without; the latter, when there is some government close at hand having an opposite interest, or at a distance, but powerful.”
-P. 207 from “Politics” book by Aristotle (Translated by Benjamin Jowett)

“History shows that almost all tyrants have been demagogues who gained the favour of the people by their accusations of the notables.”
-P.216 from “Politics” book by Aristotle (translated by Benjamin Jowett)

"...The tyrant is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader. And whereas the power of a king is preserved by his friends, the characteristic of the tyrant is to distrust his friends, because he knows that all men want to overthrow him, and they above all have the power."
-P.226 from “Politics” book by Aristotle (translated by Benjamin Jowett)

“Every man should be responsible to others, nor should anyone be allowed to do just as he pleases; for where absolute freedom is allowed there is nothing to restrain the evil which is inherent in every man.”
-P.244 from “Politics” book by Aristotle (translated by Benjamin Jowett)

“No one will doubt that the legislator should direct his attention above all to the education of youth, or that the neglect of education does harm to states. The citizen should be moulded 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 character, the better government”
-P.300 from “Politics” book by Aristotle (translated by Benjamin Jowett)

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