Aristotle, rulers, kings, religion, systems of oppression and slaves — Part 1

Hello.

This is one of a new series of exploratory posts to find out what the fuck is wrong with my European/western society and (as they are our children) what is wrong with our most successful European ex-colony: The United States of America. (If you want to jump to what I am working towards, see my earlier post: “To all my fellow white  slaves: happy new year“.)

I tackle two topics today:

  1. Aristotle was an racist, sexist, proto-fascist asshole
  2. Kings and nobles were thieves, Aristotelian assholes and oppressors

(Western) Religion will be addressed later.

Scope and point of view

On Aristotle

You can discuss Aristotle’s “Politics” in many ways. I chose to focus on the bad parts. I focus on the voice and reasoning of Aristotle himself.
I compare him — at a certain point — to Hitler to make a point:

White-washing Aristotle is just as acceptable as white-washing Adolf Hitler.

In short: it is not.

The need to extend the discussion on “Politics”

In any discussion on “Politics” in class should also be the discussion on

  1. Racism, sexism and systems of oppression — The discussion on racism, sexism and systems of oppression in the works and thinking of Aristotle
  2. Aristotle’s ways of reasoning — The specific ways of reasoning Aristotle uses to justify the enslavery, suppression, exclusion and destruction of specific people; used to make one group “less equal” than another, used to make another group of people “more equal” than all else.

Patterns of reasoning: still present and current

The way of reasoning Aristotle uses in his “Politics” follows a specific pattern that repeats over and over in time. From the medieval times (touched briefly in this post) to the very present day (to be touched in later posts). This reasoning focuses on the justification of oppression of one group by another. “Because they cannot do it themselves”, “because they are the enemy” “Because they need us” and so on.

This pattern of reasoning found in “Politics” can be found almost in copy/paste form in current and past hate-propaganda. In justifications for war, (mass) murder and discrimination of minorities and convictions of people without proper trial.

On knights and nobles

In romanticized history, knights, kings and nobles — in general — are dreamy, special people with good manners and good intentions.

In reality most of them were (probably and very likely) complete assholes and thieves, living on and over the backs of people of lower statue. And to place that properly: if you are not of statue, your life is worth less than that of a price dog to them. You would be the pauper living and/or working on their lands.

I took one special aspect of knighthood and nobility: the ownership of land as a reward for good service. And how Aristotle’s ideals reflect to that time. I will make comparisons with more current topics in later posts.

Let’s start with the first topic:

1: Aristotle was a racist, sexist, proto-fascist asshole

While fascism (WikiPedia):

is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism.

And:

Fascists seek to unify their nation through a totalitarian state that seeks the mass mobilization of the national community through discipline, indoctrination, and physical training.

Their mind-set is not far from what Aristotle wrote down and believed in.

Praise for Aristotle’s “Politics”

Here is how one person sees Aristotle and his politics (scroll down: it is the concluding part):

Despite its age, the insight The Politics commands regarding the logic of the formation of cities is certainly relevant in today’s complicated political world. Aristotle assessed what he deemed to be the true purpose of human beings, achieving a level of utter happiness. Although seemingly contradictory to the modern perception of politics, Aristotle looks upon the nature of the affairs of the public as a means to an end. This end concentrates on the outcome of each man as opposed to the recent viewpoint that politics is a struggle for the benefit of institutions, ideas, and organizations. Perhaps if modern governments adopted Aristotle’s school of thought, the world would be a more serene place to live.

I think you will think completely differently about those praising words for Aristotle and his “Politics” after the dissection that follows below.

Context: the city-state

Aristotle wrote specifically about the “city-state”.

A brief on the main players in “Politics”

  1. Citizens — Decision makers. Equal peers. Educated. Politically involved. Nice people. Also possibly included in that group: women, but maybe not.
  2. Owners of land and goods — His most favored candidate of choice to be “Citizens”: Nobles. Kings. Land owners. Rich people.
  3. The workers/artisans/freemen — in general: uneducated, poor, without virtues or values, per definition — due to their low birth — evil-spirited, unreliable and without any real rights. To give this lower-class population at large a voice would — according to Aristotle (and very likely his peers in his time) — definitely lead to the destruction of civilization as they were dumb, mean, low, less than human.
  4. The slaves: close to animals due to their low birth. To be used as property in the natural order of things.
  5. Foreigners/barbarians — Not applicable as citizens.

We love the white-washed Aristotle

Here is one of the white-washed versions discussing Politics as you probably got it at school. Yes: it addresses the asshole/sexist aspects of  Aristotles “inspiring” ideas about politics and the world and some people being more equal than others in one single sentence. The sub-text “The problem with” mainly focuses if the order of books is wisely chosen or not and other academic jerk-off bullshit. The blatant sexism, racism and classicism apparently is not relevant enough to be handled, explored or exposed.

Quoting the conclusion of that lovely article (from the Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy online):

[…] For similar reasons much of his discussion of particular political institutions is not directly applicable to modern nation-states (apart from his objectionable defenses of slavery, female subservience, and disenfranchisement of the working classes). Even so, Aristotle’s Politics has exerted a deep influence on political philosophy until the present day, because it contains deep and thought-provoking discussions of perennial concerns of political philosophy: the role of human nature in politics, the relation of the individual to the state, the place of morality in politics, the theory of political justice, the rule of law, the analysis and evaluation of constitutions, the relevance of ideals to practical politics, the causes and cures of political change and revolution, and the importance of a morally educated citizenry.

Please read on. I will destroy each and every of these statements below.

All people are equal when they are males and wealthy

To enlighten you how “thought provoking” Aristotle was: some quotes with some subtext from Aristotle’s “Politics”, Book I, Part XII:

Of household management we have seen that there are three parts- one is the rule of a master over slaves, which has been discussed already, another of a father, and the third of a husband. A husband and father, we saw, rules over wife and children, both free, but the rule differs, the rule over his children being a royal, over his wife a constitutional rule [following a system of fundamental laws and principles that prescribes the nature, functions, and limits of a government or another institution.] . For although there may be exceptions to the order of nature, the male is by nature fitter for command than the female, just as the elder and full-grown is superior to the younger and more immature. But in most constitutional states the citizens rule and are ruled by turns, for the idea of a constitutional state implies that the natures of the citizens are equal, and do not differ at all.

Apart from the many blind spots on “equality” (to start: All males are equal. All males are more equal than women and children, all citizens are more equal to slaves and artisans/workers) and outspoken sexism (women are more than slaves, less than man and should remain quiet) note that he mentions the Citizens are equal.

Who are those citizens and who else is there?

On women, artisans and slaves

Aristotle distinguishes three main classes: citizens, artisans and slaves. I will focus on the artisans and slaves first. Later I will zoom into who the ideal citizens might be and why Aristotle thought so.

Artisans and slaves

From Book I, part XIII, right under the wonderful quote: “Silence is a woman’s glory”.

“Silence is a woman’s glory”

[…]

Now we determined that a slave is useful for the wants of life, and therefore he will obviously require only so much virtue as will prevent him from failing in his duty through cowardice or lack of self-control. Some one will ask whether, if what we are saying is true, virtue will not be required also in the artisans, for they often fail in their work through the lack of self control? But is there not a great difference in the two cases? For the slave shares in his master’s life; the artisan is less closely connected with him, and only attains excellence in proportion as he becomes a slave.

Defining the slave

Book I, Part VI

Hence we see what is the nature and office of a slave; he who is by nature not his own but another’s man, is by nature a slave; and he may be said to be another’s man who, being a human being, is also a possession. And a possession may be defined as an instrument of action, separable from the possessor.

Classifying the slave in “the natural order of things”

Book I part V

Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals (as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better), the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master. For he who can be, and therefore is, another’s and he who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature. Whereas the lower animals cannot even apprehend a principle; they obey their instincts. And indeed the use made of slaves and of tame animals is not very different;

Distinguishing women from slaves

Book I, part II

For that which can foresee by the exercise of mind is by nature intended to be lord and master, and that which can with its body give effect to such foresight is a subject, and by nature a slave; hence master and slave have the same interest. Now nature has distinguished between the female and the slave. For she is not niggardly [I was like: HUH?! — meaning: grudgingly mean about spending or granting], like the smith who fashions the Delphian knife for many uses; she makes each thing for a single use, and every instrument is best made when intended for one and not for many uses.

One hint on being “of lower birth”. Aristotle was already clear about the slaves: “the lower sort [of humans] are by nature slaves” and being so friendly to compare them to animals to make us understand clearly how things work in his version of the universe. Later on he will state that Artisans might do better if they were slaves instead of freemen.

Awesomely “deep and thought provoking”, yes? Nice basis for a “deep influence on political philosophy until the present day”, no?

Interlude 1: how Western Society by long moved past Aristotle into more civilized modes of thinking

Or: How we are such a shining example to the rest of the world

Naturally and luckily Western Society has long gotten past these Aristotelian visions of politics and the “natural place of things” and acquisition and of the state. I will tell you how and why:

  1. Women are no longer our slaves — For over 50 years we — the Western/European world(including our European ex-colony: The United States of America) no longer consider women (explicitly or implicitly that much) our slaves, but have granted them several almost-equal rights. Like voting. And the right to speak up when she disagrees and to go outside of the house and find a job. And the right to be heard and/or for a “fair” trial (instead of being brutalized or murdered) when the husband suspects adultery. And the right to dress as she pleases (although we we like to promote a male-centered sexualized style when she does and we tend to use that male-centered style, criticise her when her style is not sexualizing enough and using that “given” freedom as an argument against her when she gets sexually assaulted, as men — in the natural order of things in any oppressive, classicist societies — are not to blame that much yet)
  2. We released our (European) colonies — We, the Western world, have acknowledged in the past 60 years that our (ex) colonies in Africa, Asia, the South America’s — as we gained them by the natural Aristotelian act of acquisition in the past before — are now allowed to rule themselves and that we have withdraw (most of) our armies and influences, except when “we” are the Americans.

Now you see why we, the Euro-Western world (including our European ex-colony: the United States of America), are really, really, really civilized and a shining example (democracy, YO!) for the rest of the world? Also we are really free. Because. Capitalism. Voting rights.

Identifying the Aristotelian citizens, classes, their qualities and properties

Note my emphasis on virtue before. Virtue is essential for Aristotle. It is one of the cornerstones of his whole claptrap bullshit philosophy on who can/should and can/should not.

I will take it slow.

Citizenship can be inherited

Book III, Part II

But in practice a citizen is defined to be one of whom both the parents are citizens; others insist on going further back; say to two or three or more ancestors.

Virtue is important

Book III, Part IV

Whether the virtue of a good man and a good citizen is the same or not. But, before entering on this discussion, we must certainly first obtain some general notion of the virtue of the citizen. Like the sailor, the citizen is a member of a community. Now, sailors have different functions, for one of them is a rower, another a pilot, and a third a look-out man, a fourth is described by some similar term; and while the precise definition of each individual’s virtue applies exclusively to him, there is, at the same time, a common definition applicable to them all. For they have all of them a common object, which is safety in navigation. Similarly, one citizen differs from another, but the salvation of the community is the common business of them all. This community is the constitution; the virtue of the citizen must therefore be relative to the constitution of which he is a member.

[…]

All must have the virtue of the good citizen– thus, and thus only, can the state be perfect; but they will not have the virtue of a good man, unless we assume that in the good state all the citizens must be good.

Citizens are special people. Better not admit artisans as citizens

Book III, Part V

Is he only a true citizen who has a share of office, or is the mechanic to be included? If they who hold no office are to be deemed citizens, not every citizen can have this virtue of ruling and obeying; for this man is a citizen And if none of the lower class are citizens, in which part of the state are they to be placed? For they are not resident aliens, and they are not foreigners. May we not reply, that as far as this objection goes there is no more absurdity in excluding them than in excluding slaves and freedmen from any of the above-mentioned classes? It must be admitted that we cannot consider all those to be citizens who are necessary to the existence of the state; for example, children are not citizen equally with grown-up men, who are citizens absolutely, but children, not being grown up, are only citizens on a certain assumption. Nay, in ancient times, and among some nations the artisan class were slaves or foreigners, and therefore the majority of them are so now. The best form of state will not admit them to citizenship;

Right now, we have established that citizens are special. They are not foreigners, nor slaves and we rather exclude the artisans (and workers) as we do with the foreigners and slaves. We also rather  also exclude the artisans from citizenship as they used to be slaves or foreigners.

Different candidates for citizens. Laborers and mechanics can not practice virtue

Book III, Part V

Since there are many forms of government there must be many varieties of citizen and especially of citizens who are subjects; so that under some governments the mechanic and the laborer will be citizens, but not in others, as, for example, in aristocracy or the so-called government of the best (if there be such an one), in which honors are given according to virtue [moral excellence and righteousness; goodness.] and merit [a quality deserving praise or approval; virtue]; for no man can practice virtue who is living the life of a mechanic or laborer.

Here it becomes interesting. Aristotle excludes the laborer, the common man, from citizenship based on virtue and merit. When you are a laborer, you cannot develop moral excellence and goodness. Because. He makes that more explicit later in book VIII, part IX, quoted below.

Getting closer to the point

Book III, Part I

Who is the citizen, and what is the meaning of the term? For here again there may be a difference of opinion. He who is a citizen in a democracy will often not be a citizen in an oligarchy. Leaving out of consideration those who have been made citizens, or who have obtained the name of citizen any other accidental manner, we may say, first, that a citizen is not a citizen because he lives in a certain place, for resident aliens and slaves share in the place; nor is he a citizen who has no legal right except that of suing and being sued; for this right may be enjoyed under the provisions of a treaty.

[…]

But the citizen whom we are seeking to define is a citizen in the strictest sense, against whom no such exception can be taken, and his special characteristic is that he shares in the administration of justice, and in offices. […] Let us, for the sake of distinction, call it ‘indefinite office,’ and we will assume that those who share in such office are citizens. This is the most comprehensive definition of a citizen, and best suits all those who are generally so called.

Why only people of class and wealth are good citizens

Book VII, Part IX

Now, since we are here speaking of the best form of government, i.e., that under which the state will be most happy (and happiness, as has been already said, cannot exist without virtue), it clearly follows that in the state which is best governed and possesses men who are just absolutely, and not merely relatively to the principle of the constitution, the citizens must not lead the life of mechanics or tradesmen, for such a life is ignoble [not noble in quality, character, or purpose; base or mean], and inimical [Injurious or harmful in effect. Unfriendly; hostile] to virtue. Neither must they be husbandmen, since leisure [freedom from time-consuming duties, responsibilities, or activities] is necessary both for the development of virtue and the performance of political duties.

It takes Aristotle until book 7 to define the Citizen, which surely must not be a “mechanic” or “tradesman” i.e. the worker, as these people are “inimical to virtue” and “ignoble” and thus/also of lower birth, lower class, horrible, unreliable, with bad character, full of false purposes and hostile to that one very special thing called “virtue”.

Now who is a proper citizen according to Aristotle?

The owners of property are citizens and should be the rulers

Book VII, Part IX, continued

Besides, the ruling class should be the owners of property, for they are citizens, and the citizens of a state should be in good circumstances; whereas mechanics or any other class which is not a producer of virtue have no share in the state. This follows from our first principle, for happiness cannot exist without virtue, and a city is not to be termed happy in regard to a portion of the citizens, but in regard to them all. And clearly property should be in their hands, since the husbandmen will of necessity be slaves or barbarian Perioeci.

There! Finally.

We should keep out workers from citizenship (Book III, Part IV). The ruling class “should be owners of property”. They are citizens AND more importantly, they are “producing virtue”. As Aristotle has clearly shown in hos reasoning before, workers are not suited. They do not produce virtue, are not capable of producing virtue, unreliable and so on. They are lower shit in lack of super specialness.

This conclusion is already foreshadowed in book III, Part VIII. See below.

The rich are really special people

Book III, Part VIII

If the existence of the state is alone to be considered, then it would seem that all, or some at least, of these claims are just; but, if we take into account a good life, then, as I have already said, education and virtue have superior claims. […] The rich claim because they have a greater share in the land, and land is the common element of the state; also they are generally more trustworthy in contracts. The free claim under the same tide as the noble; for they are nearly akin. For the noble are citizens in a truer sense than the ignoble, and good birth is always valued in a man’s own home and country. Another reason is, that those who are sprung from better ancestors are likely to be better men, for nobility is excellence of race.

This praise of birth and nobility is relevant. Even though this is not always guaranteed, people of nobility are special snowflakes. Better ancestors, likely leading to be better men. Nobility — naturally — is excellence of race. Even if they continue to inbreed with nieces and nephews.

Let me state: Aristotle was — “not at all” — a upper-class classicist racist sexist asshole spouting useless and toxic shit.

Concluding: the core-thinking of Aristotle is full of toxic shit

In short my point: to refer to the Politics of Aristotle as “deep” and “thought provoking” is to ignore all messages of hate. It is like considering the vision of Nazi Germany, National Socialism, ultra-right wing politicians and/or Neo Nazi’s as “deep” and “thought provoking” too and think Hitler and Goebbels were enlightened people by pushing the German economy up using war and slave labor provided by school teachers, gypsies, political dissidents and Jewish people and praise them for creating all the roads and a car for all people called the “Volkswagen”.

To admire Aristotle as a positive force of anything is to completely ignore his asshole-oppressor Nazi view on society, human rights, human equality, the influence his poison had on European society and how his kind of logic allowed for the justification mass murders and enslavery done in name of the Catholic Church. Praising Aristotle without criticism is to ignore his toxic, pro-slavery, pro-oppression, pro-deminishing, pro-male-dominance and pro-racist points of view.

And yes: Aristotle was a man of his times. So was Adolf Hitler.

Aristotle was a “learned man” and a polymath. So was Adolf Hitler. Let me “prove” that last point: Hitler also read lot of books, had many theories reflecting current and past thinkers (collected in an adorable book I have in my bookshelf), also wrote books (“Mein Kampf” which I don’t now have), was a painter, a lover of art and was the leader of an entire nation that — at some point — spanned all of Europe. (Take that Aristotle: “ADOLF HITLER — A man Of Social Theory AND Action. Ruler of nations”.)

2: Kings and nobles were thieves, Aristotelian assholes and oppressors

The benign and wise kings we know from fairy tales were either exceptions or propaganda. So any story that stars a “wise” king is very likely written by an idiot. Anyone who thinks kings and nobles have any rights to any claim Nobles and Kings think they hold are idiots as well.

Romantic images of kings and knights

Dreamy, wonderful. Noble, honest, heroic. Knights were nobles, aristocrats, rich people and what was more beautiful than love with such a person?

Wikpedia:

Many medieval romances recount the marvellous adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight, often of super-human ability, who, abiding chivalry’s strict codes of honor and demeanor, goes on a quest, and fights and defeats monsters and giants, thereby winning favor with a lady. […] The themes of love were, however, soon appear, particularly in the Matter of Britain, leading to even the French regarding King Arthur’s court as the exemplar of true and noble love, so much so that even the earliest writers about courtly love would claim it had reached its true excellence there, and love was not what it was in King Arthur’s day. A perennial theme was the rescue of a lady from the imperiling monster, a theme that would remain throughout the romances of the medieval era.

I remember that. I wanted to be a knight. I thought knights were awesome. And noble. Nice to women.

From “Medieval chivalry“:

Chivalry also shaped one aspect of romantic love: the idea that the male could win/be worthy of his ‘lady love’ by winning approbation through noble/honorable acts.

Contemporary stories in romances usually focus on some lady in distress who might or might not be a princess or from noble blood and refinds her kingdom or gets saved or courted by a prince or royal or a knight. Chivalry stands for beauty and honor.

Medieval chivalry:

The ideal of chivalry has attracted generations of young people to the military life. It underlies such movies as “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Top Gun,” and even “Rambo.”

Western notions of (romantic) love

Romantic love was originally associated with knighthood and chivalry, and in poems and stories love was pictured as a despairing and tragic emotion that drove the lover to accomplish great deeds of daring to perform for his beloved as well as for the Christian God. In theory true love was unattainable love, that is, it was not to be consummated by sexual intercourse; in fact, the female object of the love was usually married to a man other than her beloved, and the theory reflected the real situation of the noble ladies who acted as patrons.

Knights and nobles

Knights usually came from rich families, including but not only nobles. They owned a horse. They fought in wars. And when they did well, they might receive special bonuses from their king (see later for more details) including land and a title.

The rights of the peasant

Let me show you what happened if you hunted on the terrain of a nobleman or king. In the light of human rights and human equality.

Medieval Hunting was one of the most popular sports enjoyed by the Medieval lords and Nobility. Hunting had always been enjoyed by the English Nobility as it provided training for war because of the tracking skills, weapon usage, horsemanship, and courage that were all required in Medieval warfare. Both men and women engaged in hunting. A variety of animals found living wild in England were hunted.

One of the Sumptuary laws was the Forest Law which related to gaming and hunting. The Forests of England were normally owned by the reigning monarch. In Medieval times there were an estimated sixty nine royal forests. Only the monarch or his servants hunted in the forests.

The strict Medieval Forest Laws reserved the rights of hunting to the ruling class and were hated and resented by the lower classes. Punishments for breaking Medieval Hunting Laws were severe. Peasants accused of poaching were liable to hanging, castration, blinding or being sewn into a deerskin and then hunted down by ferocious dogs.

It says “England”, but this was for most countries in Europe.

The mere suspicion of you hunting in the forest “owned” by a “nobleman” might get you killed. Human rights: none. As you were considered less than human.

Nobility: leeches and assholes

In short: nobles thought they are special. To upkeep this illusion, they usually needed something more than just display of power and wealth. First to define nobility.

Nobility is a social groupwhich possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary (e.g. precedence), and vary from country to country and era to era.

In short: you do not have to be rich to be noble. Some other noble/high born person can anoint you and lift you up to that status. You do not have to posses specific treats. Being born as a child of a noble is enough to be one. It is a birth-right (“hereditary”).

How did you get there? (All below from WikiPedia, Noble privileges)

Usually privileges were granted or recognised by the Crown in association with possession of a specific title, office or estate. Most nobles’ wealth derived from one or more estates, large or small, that might include fields, pasture, orchards, timberland, hunting grounds, streams, etc. It also included infrastructure such as castle, well and mill to which local peasants were allowed some access, although often at a price. Nobles were expected to live “nobly”, that is, from the proceeds of these possessions.

What did it get you?

On the other hand, membership in the nobility was usually a prerequisite for holding offices of trust in the realm and for career promotion, especially in the military, at court and often the higher functions in the government and judiciary.

Now remember that “higher functions in government” part. I will come back on that.

You did not work.

Work involving manual labour or subordination to those of lower rank (with specific exceptions, such as in military service) was either forbidden (as derogation from noble status) or frowned upon socially.

Who did do the work?

European nobles typically commanded tribute in the form of entitlement to cash rents or usage taxes, labour and/or a portion of the annual crop yield from commoners or nobles of lower rank who lived or worked on the noble’s manor or within his seigneurial domain.

In brief:

  1. You became a noble — By king’s decree or whatever. Because you fought so well in war, or sucked up hard enough or something something.
  2. You were appointed land — Because. Nobles. King. Land.
  3. On that land already lived people — Who worked the land, lived there, had live stock
  4. You asked tribute — Or taxes. Because. People living on your land. That land that was yours. Given. So anything on that land: yours!

Now remember, that you could kill anyone who hunted on “your” land. Without any trial. Because. Peasants. Not really human beings because not Noble or Royal and thus not protected by law. Remember Aristotle? See any recurring pattern here?

Let’s take a look and compare this to Aristotle a few thousand years earlier (“Politics”, books I to VII):

[…] citizens must not lead the life of mechanics or tradesmen, for such a life is ignoble [not noble in quality, character, or purpose; base or mean], and inimical [Injurious or harmful in effect. Unfriendly; hostile] to virtue. Neither must they be husbandmen, since leisure [Freedom from time-consuming duties, responsibilities, or activities] is necessary both for the development of virtue and the performance of political duties.

[…] the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master. For he who can be, and therefore is, another’s and he who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature.

[…] the noble are citizens in a truer sense than the ignoble, and good birth is always valued in a man’s own home and country. Another reason is, that those who are sprung from better ancestors are likely to be better men, for nobility is excellence of race.

[…] the ruling class should be the owners of property, for they are citizens, and the citizens of a state should be in good circumstances; whereas mechanics or any other class which is not a producer of virtue have no share in the state.

[…] he who is by nature not his own but another’s man, is by nature a slave; and he may be said to be another’s man who, being a human being, is also a possession. And a possession may be defined as an instrument of action, separable from the possessor.

Summarizing it for you:

  1. Peasants — Peasants are dirty, filthy, uneducated people almost similar to animals. Also: they do manual labor. (Bah!)
  2. Nobles/kings — Nobles and kings are white snowflakes, “from better ancestors” and “therefore better men” and also “from excellent race”.
  3. Got the land? Bonus!
    1. All produce from that land — Without (your) labor! For free!
    2. For free: additional peasants! — Or, let’s call them by their proper name, since they are treated like objects: slaves

Conclusion: Nobles were assholes and thieves who treated people like slaves

Now there are romantic books with dreamy things about dreamy girls who happen to be from noble families or kidnapped by nobles and taken to the castle to be raped loved and discarded become the wife. Also the Elves in Tolkiens “Lord of the Rings” can be considered Nobles, with that “pure bred” bullshit and their high stature and pooha.

In short: old Nobles and Kings are very likely in most cases all assholes. Thieves. Slave-owners.

Continued

There is a lot more to explore and I am running out of time mostly as I had to do my re-reading of Aristotle since I lost another post on Aristotle’s wonderful “politics”.

Things to explore in the next post(s) in this same “Aristotelian Politics universe”:

  1. Repetition of this pattern in the Industrial Revolution and the Catholic church (including the pope’s decree on “Them not Christians. Slavery/butchery/oppression and theft = OK. Love (NO HOMO!) and blessings, teh Pope”)
  2. Politics until 1950 and repetition of this pattern
  3. Colonization and repetition of this pattern
  4. Missionary-work and repetition of this pattern
  5. Credit crisis and the unbalance in the persecution of people who make illegal copies compared to other crimes
  6. Public schools and their impact on the knowledge-divide between elite and common people
  7. Changes in law, labor conditions and the (very late) emergence of human rights
  8. How much of European history would not have happened without Aristotle (do we see similar structures of “politics” in other cultures?)

Concluding for now

Aristotle represents a certain way of thinking that is toxic. While he described it, he did not invent his own Politics. He just reflected his time and his culture and his own views on all things, which was racist, sexist and that of the oppressor.

What I try to do here is to address a specific way of thinking and see how much this echo’s through history and European thinking.

It is going to be an interesting ride, I think.

One last thought: Democracy and Oligargy

Book III, Part VIII

The argument seems to show that, whether in oligarchies or in democracies, the number of the governing body, whether the greater number, as in a democracy, or the smaller number, as in an oligarchy, is an accident due to the fact that the rich everywhere are few, and the poor numerous. But if so, there is a misapprehension of the causes of the difference between them. For the real difference between democracy and oligarchy is poverty and wealth. Wherever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few or many, that is an oligarchy, and where the poor rule, that is a democracy.

Imagine that. According to this definition most of us are living in an Oligargy. Unless you think our democratic process is really “democratic” and our governments are not bought by money from corporate lobbyists.

Well.

At least it is better than living in a dictatorship. Good night and sleep well.

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