ARISTOTLE VERSUS THE CHRISTIAN COMMONS

In our last article, we wrote the following:

The system is anti-commons.

Take back the inheritance of all for the sake of righteousness. Bring forth the Christian commons that is, by definition, to be free of greed, violence, and depravity and is based upon faith in God without testing.

We explained that the current system is selfish.

Let us consider Aristotle's comments on Plato's Republic from The Politics.

I

OUR PURPOSE is to consider what form of political community is best of all for those who are most able to realize their ideal of life. We must therefore examine not only this but other constitutions, both such as actually exist in well-governed states, and any theoretical forms which are held in esteem; that what is good and useful may be brought to light. And let no one suppose that in seeking for something beyond them we are anxious to make a sophistical display at any cost; we only undertake this inquiry because all the constitutions with which we are acquainted are faulty.

We will begin with the natural beginning of the subject. Three alternatives are conceivable: The members of a state must either have (1) all things or (2) nothing in common, or (3) some things in common and some not. That they should have nothing in common is clearly impossible, for the constitution is a community, and must at any rate have a common place - one city will be in one place, and the citizens are those who share in that one city. But should a well ordered state have all things, as far as may be, in common, or some only and not others? For the citizens might conceivably have wives and children and property in common, as Socrates proposes in the Republic of Plato. Which is better, our present condition, or the proposed new order of society.

II

There are many difficulties in the community of women. And the principle on which Socrates rests the necessity of such an institution evidently is not established by his arguments. Further, as a means to the end which he ascribes to the state, the scheme, taken literally is impracticable, and how we are to interpret it is nowhere precisely stated. I am speaking of the premise from which the argument of Socrates proceeds, 'that the greater the unity of the state the better.' Is it not obvious that a state may at length attain such a degree of unity as to be no longer a state? since the nature of a state is to be a plurality, and in tending to greater unity, from being a state, it becomes a family, and from being a family, an individual; for the family may be said to be more than the state, and the individual than the family. So that we ought not to attain this greatest unity even if we could, for it would be the destruction of the state.1

This all shows the argument is semantical, contextual. It also presupposes the ownership of women by men. It also offers the false choice between "our present condition, or the proposed new order of society," which new order is only that offered up by Socrates. Aristotle presupposes many faulty things.

We can see how Jesus handled both Socrates and Aristotle. Consider specifically Aristotle's following error:

The nature of a state is to be a plurality, and in tending to greater unity, from being a state, it becomes a family, and from being a family, an individual; for the family may be said to be more than the state, and the individual than the family. So that we ought not to attain this greatest unity even if we could, for it would be the destruction of the state.

This is the failure to grasp that the state's so-called plurality is the coercive joining of evil with righteousness, which are incompatible. The plurality of Aristotle is the instrument of slavery. It is the instrument of stealing from others what God has intended to be the provisioning of all and not just those who are so self-centered as to beat others into submitting to going without while brutes gorge themselves. This plurality is in furtherance of the Beast; however, we are to overcome such beastliness. We are to be wise man (Homo sapiens sapiens; having great wisdom and discernment).

The direction of Socrates was closer to the kingdom of heaven by far than was Aristotle's, but Socrates too missed the single vision of Messiahship. A man doesn't own his wife anymore than she owns him. They both own each other to the exclusion of others owning either of them as mates for producing offspring. The entirety of humanity is one flesh but not for purposes of feeding into selfish orgiastic sexual lust from which nothing good has ever come or ever will, because selfishness brings forth evil consequences.

Aristotle went on to posit the following:

And there is another objection to the proposal. For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it.

Well, change your spirit from selfish to unselfish, and then this will no longer be the case.

As for state "becomes a family, and from being a family, an individual," this is the whole point that is completely missed by Aristotle. God is an individual and the real state of being "well ordered."

Jesus's point is that this is a continuum. It is the micro and macro being consistent. It is the divine logic. The golden rule is based upon this. Good samaritanship is based upon it. Jesus said, "For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." (Mark 3:35). And the will of God is the real state, the perfectly ordered for one and all. It is perfect unity. It is perfect harmony. It is freely giving and sharing and good shepherding and good stewardship. It is that, that which is common to the greatest number has the greatest care bestowed upon it so that the greatest care is also bestowed upon each individual, of whom collectively Aristotle himself would be a part and greatly benefited in all ways if he and all the others would accept this and live accordingly.


FOOTNOTES:

1 "Aristotle's comments on Plato's Republic." The Politics. http://www.cavehill.uwi.edu/bnccde/PH19C/tutorial10.html. (last accessed: Monday, February 19, 2007). Return to text body.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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