Politics (Great Book Reading Project)

There is so much worth commenting on in the opening pages of Aristotle’s Politics that it is difficult to choose just one or two things to discuss here. For now, I will confine myself to a thought that occurred to me while reading this and which links Aristotle’s ideas to events in the modern world. This is the notice I took of Aristotle’s linking of the family and the state.

While it is difficult to discern the direction in which causality flows, there can be little doubt, from an objective historical perspective, that the erosion of the traditional family in the modern world has been coincidental with a dramatic increase in state power. This is especially true of the increase in state control of matters which formerly were the prerogative of church, community, and family. The very existence of such things family courts and public schools testify to the truth of this proposition.

In the light of the relationship between the family and the state in the modern world, Aristotle’s discussion of the family as the most basic unit of the state here is quite fascinating and illuminating. What do you make of the relationship between the two in the light of Aristotle’s comments on the matter?

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