9. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle’s Politics, VII
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9. The Mixed Regime and the Rule of Law: Aristotle’s Politics, VII

Professor Steven Smith:
I want to begin today with concluding Aristotle,
part three. Before I do,
however, could I just ask the people–yes, thank you so much.
And your neighbor, too? Would you mind?
Thank you so much. Just out of respect to Mr.
Aristotle. It’s mister to you.
I want to talk today about Aristotle’s discovery of
America. This will probably come as a
surprise to some of you that Aristotle discovered America,
but I will get to that in a minute.
In many ways for Aristotle, as it is for every student of
politics, the most serious, the most difficult issue one
confronts is the problem of faction.
How to control for factions. How to control for conflict
between factions. That is the issue addressed
especially in Books IV and V of the Politics,
where Aristotle goes on to describe by the term polity,
the regime that he believes most successfully controls for
the theme of faction. The essential feature of this
regime, the polity, which in fact he gives the name
politea, the generic Greek word for
regime. The polity is the regime that
represents, for Aristotle, a mixture of the principles of
oligarchy and democracy. Therefore, he says,
avoids dominance by either extreme.
By combining elements, as it were, of the few and the
many, polity is characterized by the dominance of the middle
class, the middle group. The middle class,
he says, is able to achieve the confidence of both extreme
parties where at least it is sufficiently numerous to avoid
the problems of class struggle and factional conflict.
“Where the middling element is great,” Aristotle writes,
“factional conflict and splits over the nature of regimes occur
least of all.” So Aristotle,
in a way, has discovered long before James Madison’s famous
article in Federalist Number 10, the remedy for the control and
containment, so to speak, of faction.
You remember, many of you if not all of you
who have read the Tenth Federalist Paper,
that Madison outlines a scheme for an extended republic,
he says, where numerous factions,
in many ways, check and balance one another,
compete with one another and therefore,
avoid the dominance of a single faction leading to the kind of
tyranny of the majority, the tyranny of the majority
class. Aristotle’s proposal for a
mixture of oligarchy and democracy seems,
in many ways, to anticipate,
2,000 years before the fact, Madison’s call for a government
where powers must be separated and where,
he says in Federalist Number 51, ambition must be made to
counteract ambition in order to avoid,
in other words, the extremes of both tyranny
and civil war. The inevitable conclusion that
I reach and I believe any sensible reader of Aristotle
would reach is that Aristotle, in fact, discovered the
American Constitution 1,500 or 2,000 years before it was
written. This may seem surprising to
you, since of course Aristotle lived long before.
But that may simply be our own prejudice to think that my
friend at the CUNY Graduate Center,
Peter Simpson, has argued in a paper that I
found quite convincing, that Aristotle had,
in fact, discovered the American Constitution.
I say, it may simply be our prejudice that he didn’t.
Aristotle writes, in Book II of the
Politics that the world is eternal and everything in it
has been discovered. The earth experiences,
he says, certain periodic destructions and cataclysms,
civilizations are reduced to barbarism only to recover and
grow again. If this theory,
you might say, of sort of cataclysmic change
is true, we cannot rule out the possibility that a constitution
like ours or even identical to ours existed at some point in
the ancient past, in the far distant past that
Aristotle knew about. Do you think that’s possible?
Well, why not? But Aristotle’s mixed
constitution differs from ours still in certain important
respects. Aristotle understands the mixed
constitution as a balance of classes–the one,
the few, and the many. He doesn’t so much insist,
as you will see in your reading, on the actual
separation of functions of government, putting them into
separate hands. It is enough for him,
he says, if each class shares in some aspect of the governing
power. But that leads to a further
difference. We tend to think of the
separation of powers doctrine as necessary for the security and
liberty of the individual, don’t we?
We usually think of individual freedom and security as the
purpose of the separation of power.
It is when political functions become concentrated into the
hands of, again, the too few hands that we risk
arbitrary government and the endangerment to the liberty of
the individual. But for Aristotle,
it is not the liberty of the individual so much as the
functioning or functional well-being of the city that is
the highest priority. Individual freedom may be,
at best, a desirable byproduct of the Aristotelian mixed
regime, but individual freedom is not
its defining or principle goal. For anyone interested in this
difference, I suggest you contrast or compare Aristotle’s
account of mixed government to Book XI of Montesquieu’s
Spirit of the Laws or to some of the central Federalist
papers to see the way in which Mr.
Aristotle revised, in some ways,
the wisdom of Madison. You could compare them in some
way that I think would be valuable.
Not only did Aristotle understand the importance of the
separation of powers doctrine and the kind of balance of
factions as a way of controlling conflict and struggle,
but he also understood the importance of property and
private property and commerce for a flourishing republic.
We didn’t really pause to talk much about this,
but in Book II, you remember,
he criticizes at considerable length Plato’s Republic
for the excessive unity it demands of its citizens.
Socrates demands for common ownership of property,
at least among the auxiliary class.
But Aristotle claims that the city is not naturally one.
That is to say, a certain diversity is
necessary to make up a city. Where all property is held in
common, it is more likely to suffer from common neglect than
it is from common ownership. He clearly understands,
in many ways, the virtues of private property
and of commerce. It is evident,
Aristotle writes, that as it becomes increasingly
one, as it becomes increasingly unified–the city–it will no
longer be a city. A city is, in its nature,
a multitude. As it becomes more of a unity,
it will be like a household instead of a polis and a
human being instead of a household.
There we see in Book II, Aristotle offering his
criticism of the claims for the sort of excessive unification of
centralization, concentration of property.
Yet, despite his awareness of the importance of commerce and
the importance of property, the aim of the city,
he tells us, is not wealth,
is not the production of wealth.
In that way it would be useful to make a contrast between
Aristotle and someone like Adam Smith, the great author of
The Wealth of Nations. If wealth were the purpose of
politics, Aristotle writes, the Phoenicians,
you might say, in the ancient world–the
Phoenicians were the commercial people par excellence–the
Phoenicians would be the best regime.
But he denies that. Aristotle could never endorse
the view stated by a famous American president that the
business of America is business. The political partnership,
he says, must be regarded for the sake of noble acts performed
well. Wealth, property,
he tells us, exists for the sake of virtue,
not virtue for the sake of wealth.
Just as Aristotle would have been critical of the American
tendency to regard government as for the sake of business or for
the sake of the economy, he also criticized beforehand
the American tendency to organize into clubs,
what we call political parties which exacerbate rather than
control political conflict. These political clubs or
parties use their influence to incense the populous,
using their power to whip up dangerous passions that tend to
make American politicians closer to demagogues than to statesmen.
He would also regard the peculiar American practice of
elections, rather than the Greek practice of appointing political
offices by lot. He would regard elections as
merely exacerbating the tendency to demagoguery,
where each person seeking office plays shamelessly to the
mob, promising all manner of things that they know they will
not and cannot deliver. Think of almost anybody you
like. Furthermore,
while the American regime in many ways is,
in principle, open to all and prides itself
on a belief in equality, no doubt Aristotle would remark
that its offices are, in fact, open only to the rich
and to leaders who can acquire the support of the rich,
making it rather an oligarchy in the guise of a republic.
So Aristotle was not without his own critique of the American
constitution and American political culture.
There is, obviously, much in the American regime
that Aristotle would have found admirable,
even though it does not conform to his idea of the best regime,
which is the subject of the last two books of the
Politics, Book VII and VIII.
Aristotle is very sketchy here about the structure,
the institutional structure, the make-up of the best regime,
acknowledging the best regime is one where the best men rule.
That is to say, it is a kind of aristocracy or
an aristocratic republic. I want to talk about this
regime a little bit now, what Aristotle understands to
be the requirements or the fulfillments,
the necessities, of this aristocratic republic.
In these parts of the Politics,
Aristotle offers a serious challenge to existing Greek
traditions and patterns of political education.
Every bit, in many ways, is far reaching as Plato’s
Republic. In the first place,
he tells us the purpose of the best regime, the purpose of
Aristotle’s Republic is directed not to war, but in fact to
peace. The citizen of the best regime,
he says, must be able to sustain war if duty requires,
but only for the sake of peace and leisure.
Again, a critique not only of Sparta, but also of Athens and
its imperialistic ambitions. Second, Aristotle understands
the purpose of leisure when he says the end of the regime is
peace and the purpose of peace is leisure.
He doesn’t understand by leisure simply relaxation,
enjoying your private moments, enjoying your vacation time.
Leisure does not simply mean rest or inactivity,
but leisure is necessary for education or what he sometimes
calls by the term philosophy. By philosophy,
he seems to suggest not so much the capacity for abstract or
speculative thought, but rather a kind of liberal
education that he regards to be the preserve of what he calls by
the term the megalopsychos,
literally, the great-souled person or the great-souled man.
Mega, megalo, being our terms for great and
psychos, related to our word psyche,
soul. The great-souled person,
the great-souled man, the gentleman is,
in many ways, for Aristotle,
the ideal recipient of this form of education,
of liberal education and also, in some respect,
the ideal or perfect audience or readership of the book
itself. We can begin to see it is clear
how Aristotle’s best regime differs from Plato’s
intransigent demand for the rule of philosopher-kings.
The megalopsychos, the gentleman,
whatever else he is, is not a philosopher in the
strict sense. Sociologically,
Aristotle makes clear that the megalopsychos,
unlike the philosopher, is a person of some inherited
wealth, chiefly landed property, but whose way of life will be
urban. He will be a member of what we
might call the urban patriciate. In the Nicomachean
Ethics, Aristotle provides us with a vivid list of the
psychological and even physical characteristics that such a
person must possess, this megalopsychos.
Such a person, he says, exhibits a sort of
lofty detachment to the more or less petty things that weigh
most of us down. Aristotle tells us he is slow
to act, unless something of great importance is at stake.
He repays favor with interest so as not to be under any
obligations to others. The gentleman,
he says, speaks his mind without fear or favor,
somewhat like the New York Times, because to dissemble
would be beneath him. He may occasionally hurt
others, but this is not done out of deliberate cruelty.
In addition, Aristotle tells us such a
person will possess beautiful but useless things,
suggesting the possession not only of wealth,
but of a kind of cultivated aesthetic sense.
As if that weren’t enough, Aristotle tells us that the
megalopsychos walks slowly,
because to hurry is undignified, is tall and speaks
with a deep voice. Very clear about who,
again, the ideal statesman or reader, potential statesman the
reader of this book would be. Most importantly,
you might say, what distinguishes the
gentleman as a class from the philosophers is a certain kind
of knowledge or practical intelligence.
The gentleman may lack the speculative intelligence of a
Socrates, but he will possess that quality of practical
rationality, of practical judgment necessary
for the administration of affairs.
Aristotle calls this kind of knowledge, this kind of
practical judgment, he calls it by the term
phronimos, that I have on the blackboard.
The person who possesses it is the phronimos,
a person of practical judgment. Again, a term that captures
something of our meaning of common sense,
practical wisdom, the capacity for judging,
the capacity for judgment, which is not the same thing,
obviously, as speculative or philosophic intelligence.
The phronimos is the person who is able to grasp the
fitting or the appropriate, the appropriate thing to do out
of the complex arrangements that make up any situation.
Above all, such a person embodies that special quality of
insight and discrimination that distinguishes him or her from
people, again, of more theoretical or
speculative cast of mind. How is this quality of
phronimos, of judgment,
of practical wisdom, of horse sense,
how is it acquired? Aristotle tells us that this
kind of knowledge is a kind of knowledge most appropriate to
politics. Again, it is neither–and he
wants to be clear about this–it is neither the theoretic
knowledge aimed simply at abstract truths,
nor is it the productive knowledge, what he calls
techne, the productive knowledge used
in the manufacture of useful artifacts.
What is it, then? It is a knowledge of how to act
where the purpose of action is acting well.
You might say it is less a body of true propositions than a
shrewd sense of know-how or political savvy. This kind of knowledge entails
judgment and deliberation, the deliberative skill or the
deliberative art. We only deliberate,
Aristotle says, over things where there is some
choice. We deliberate with an eye to
preservation or change, to making something better or
to preserve it from becoming worse.
This kind of knowledge will be the art or craft of the
statesman concerned above all with what to do in a specific
situation. It is the skill possessed by
the greatest statesmen, you might say,
the fathers of the constitutions,
as it were, who create the permanent framework in which
allows later and lesser figures to handle change.
This is the kind of political skill and wisdom,
again, possessed of the founders of cities,
the legislative founders of regimes.
Aristotle’s Politics is a book about the kind of
knowledge requisite for that kind of skill.
This quality of practical judgment phronimos,
practical wisdom, was developed,
I think, in a beautiful essay, without any explicit reference
to Aristotle, by the English political
philosopher Isaiah Berlin. Anyone here ever heard of
Isaiah Berlin? Not one of you?
Famous, famous English philosopher, died a number of
years ago in the late ‘90s. This, I hope,
will be an inspiration to–you should read Isaiah Berlin.
In any case, he wrote a wonderful essay
called Political Judgment.
In it he asks, “What is the intellectual
quality that successful statesmen possess that
distinguishes their knowledge from all other forms of
rationality and knowledge?” He writes as follows.
I’m going to quote him. “The quality that I am
attempting to describe is that special understanding of public
life, which successful statesmen
have, whether they are wicked or virtuous.
That which Bismark had or Talleyrand or Franklin Roosevelt
or, for that matter, men such as Cavour or Disraeli,
Gladstone or Ataturk in common with the great psychological
novelists, and something which is
conspicuously lacking in men of more purely theoretical genius,
such as Newton or Einstein or Bertrand Russell or even Freud.”
So there, too, like Aristotle,
he distinguishes a kind of practical skill possessed by the
greatest minds, political minds at least,
and says it’s quite different and from what he calls the great
psychological novelists, from that possessed of the
greatest philosophers and scientists.
“What are we to call this capacity?”
Berlin continues. He writes, again, as follows.
“Practical reason, perhaps is a sense of what will
work and what will not. It is a capacity for synthesis
rather than analysis, for knowledge in the sense in
which trainers know their animals or parents their
children or conductors their orchestras,
as opposed to that in which chemists know the contents of
their test tubes or mathematicians know the rules
their symbols obey. Those who lack this quality of
practical wisdom, whatever other qualities they
may possess, no matter how clever,
learned, imaginative, kind, noble,
attractive, gifted in other ways they may be,
are correctly regarded as politically inept.”
There, Berlin tells us something about the character of
this political knowledge that Aristotle describes as
phronimos. Again, how is this knowledge
acquired? Are we just born with it?
Do some people just have it or is it a product of experience?
Aristotle doesn’t say, but I think the answer is
clearly some of both. It is a quality,
as I agree with Berlin, possessed by some of the great
psychological novelists. I mention the names of Tolstoy,
Henry James, and perhaps the greatest of
all, Jane Austen,
if you want to know a novelist who employs this great skill of
judgment, discrimination and practical
reason. It is also a virtue of great
statesmen. Principally,
Berlin mentions Bismark, Disraeli, Franklin Roosevelt.
I would also add the names of Pericles, Lincoln,
and Churchill. Read their works.
Study their histories. They provide a virtual
education in statecraft, in how to negotiate affairs in
precisely the way Aristotle would have us do.
That leads me to the larger question, you might say,
which is posed throughout Aristotle’s work as a whole.
What is Aristotle’s political science?
What is it for? What is he attempting to do?
Already you could say to ask this question is to state a
claim. Does Aristotle have a political
science, a science of politics? Again, if so, what is it about?
To begin to answer this question, you might say even
begin to think about it in the right way,
requires that we stand back from Aristotle’s text for a
while and ask some fundamental questions about it.
What does Aristotle mean by the political?
What is the goal or purpose of the study of politics,
and what is distinctive about Aristotle’s approach to the
study of political things? Today, the term “political
science” stands for one among a number of different disciplines
that we call collectively the social sciences.
This not only includes political science,
but economics, sociology, anthropology,
psychology, among others. Each of these disciplines seeks
to give us a handle on a distinctive set of human actions
and interactions. Economics deals with the
transactions involving the production and distribution of
wealth, sociology with the transaction
governing status and class, anthropology with the domain of
culture, and so on. What is it that political
science studies and what is its relation to the other
disciplines? The core of political science,
at least according to Aristotle and to this degree I’m very much
an Aristotelian, what distinguishes it from all
other studies is the concept of the regime, of the
politea. The regime, for him,
is not one branch of human activity among others,
it is the fundamental principle or ordering principle that makes
all the others even possible. This is why Aristotle does not
regard the study of politics as one social science among others.
It is rather what he calls the master science that determines
the rank and place of all the others within the polity.
His study of the regime, that is to say the underlying
constitutional principles that govern each order is what
distinguishes Aristotle from the other social scientists.
When you came into this class in the beginning of the
semester, you may have thought you were just signing up for a
class in political science. You did not know,
perhaps, that you were coming in to study what he calls “the
master science,” the science of sciences,” in some respects.
It is that priority that Aristotle attributes to the
regime that I think is what distinguishes his kind of
political science from that of today.
Today, you might say political scientists and social
scientists, they’re more modest in ascribing priority to any
particular branch of knowledge. With, I should say,
the possible exception of the economists, who often will
believe that economic motives and transactions provide the key
to all possible human behaviors. Who knows, maybe they’re right,
but Aristotle would deny it. For Aristotle,
however, politics has a priority to all the others,
because as he has argued, man is the political animal.
To be a political animal means first to possess speech or
reason that allows us to participate in a community or a
way of life governed by shared standards of justice and
injustice. Aristotle’s political science
presupposes, in other words, a certain conception of human
beings as linguistic animals who are capable not only of living
together–so do a range of other species–but rather sharing in
the arrangements of rule. It is our logos,
our reason that makes a community possible and also
expresses or creates, you could say,
a certain latitude or indeterminacy in how our
behavior distinguishes us from other species.
It is precisely, he believes,
this latitude that makes political communities not only
sites of agreement over shared standards,
but also, as he says, sites of moral contestation
over justice and injustice. Politics is about conflict and
conflicts over justice. To be a political animal,
for him, is to engage or to be engaged in this ongoing
conversation and debate over the very nature of justice,
to refuse to participate in that conversation,
to declare oneself an outsider to it,
he says, is either to be below humanity or above it.
To be human is to be part of that conversation. The centrality Aristotle
ascribes to politics forces us to consider another question,
namely what is the purpose of this study?
Why do we engage in it? At first glance,
this seems to be overwhelmingly obvious–to gain more knowledge.
But knowledge of what and for what?
Most people today are attracted to the study of politics because
they are interested in things they’ve read about in newspapers
or seen on TV. Things like elections,
political leaders and parties, different causes to which they
may feel some attraction, interested in wars and
revolutions that they see or have heard about.
It is to learn more about these things that we come to the study
of politics. It’s as true now as it was in
the time of Aristotle. Aristotle certainly recognized
that the accumulation of political knowledge,
you might say the gathering of data, the organization of facts,
is very important. Books III, IV,
V of the Politics shows the empirical side of
Aristotle’s politics. Again, let me just pose the
question. What is this knowledge for?
What does Aristotle intend to do with it or want us to do with
it? Politics, political science,
he tells us in the Ethics again,
is not a theoretical subject in the matter of physics or
metaphysics or mathematics. That is to say,
its purpose is not knowledge for its own sake.
However important the study of politics may be,
it exists not for the sake of knowledge,
but for action, as he tells us,
for praxis, is his word for action.
Political science exists for the sake of the human good and
the opening sentence of the Politics confirms this.
He says, we see, everyone does everything for
the sake of some apparent good. All action, all human behavior
is aimed at achieving some type of good, is all aimed at action.
All political action aims at preservation or change.
When we act, we seek to preserve or to
change. All political action,
you might say, is guided by the idea of better
or worse. It implies a standard of better
and worse and this implies some idea of the good by which we
judge. So it follows,
at least Aristotle believes so, that the study of politics is
not, again, for the sake of
knowledge for its own sake, but knowledge that serves the
regime. It helps to make it better or
prevent it from becoming worse. Its goal is not just to know
more, but to know how and this requires not only theoretic
acumen, but political judgment and the
kind of practical knowledge that Aristotle discusses at length. This quality of practical
judgment and reflection is, again, somehow unique to the
political art or the political skill Aristotle tells us.
It is the ability not only to keep the ship of state afloat,
but allows the greatest statesmen to guide the ship,
to steer it safely to port, that is to say the kind of
knowledge needed by the statesmen.
Aristotle’s political science, then, is ultimately the supreme
science of statecraft, a term that again we don’t hear
much about–statecraft or statesmanship.
It’s regarded perhaps by today’s political science as too
value laden, too subjective to speak of statesmanship or
statecraft. This, too again,
is a word that carries distinctive and strong
connotations. Who is a statesman?
What are the attributes of the statesman?
I’ve spoken a little about the attributes that Aristotle
believes are essential to the megalopsychos,
the greatest of the statesmen. This will be quite different,
for example, from the qualities we will see
beginning on Friday and next week that Machiavelli and later
Hobbes or Locke, believe are necessary for the
great founders or statesmen. Plato and Aristotle give their
own vision–the philosopher-king,
the great-souled man or megalopsychos.
But the statesman, again, to the highest degree is
the founder of regimes, laws, and institutions.
They provide the constitutional framework within which we,
later figures, operate.
So if Aristotle’s political science is an education for
statesmanship, you might say what are its
methods? What are its distinctive
methods? How do we educate a statesman?
How do we educate potential statesmen?
What are its methods? This is a question asked,
you might say, of every mature science.
It is possession of a method that distinguishes a mature
science from simply a jumble of facts,
hearsay, inspired guesses, or a random collection of
insights and observations. Without a distinctive method
for obtaining and organizing knowledge, we are all just
groping in the dark. So what is the distinctive
method of Aristotle’s Politics?
To some degree, Aristotle refuses to play the
methodologist’s game. In a well-known passage from
the Ethics, he says that our discussion
will be adequate if it achieves clarity within the limits of its
subject. If it achieves clarity within
the limits of its subject. In other words,
he seems to be saying it is wrong to demand methodological
purity in a subject like politics where there is always
great variety and unpredictability.
It is the mark, he says, of an educated person,
presumably a liberally educated person, not to demand more
precision than the subject matter allows.
But that formulation seems, in many ways,
to be question begging. How much precision does the
subject allow? How do we know?
There will always, he suggests,
appear to be something ad hoc about the methods used
in the study of politics. We will have to let the method
fit the subject, rather than demanding the
subject matter fit a kind of apriori method.
To insist on that kind of methodological purity,
he implies, would be to impose a false sense of unity,
a false sense of certainty or absoluteness on the study of
politics, which is variable and contingent and always subject to
flux and change. Even while Aristotle may deny
that there is a single method appropriate to the study of
politics, he proposes a set of common
questions that political scientists have to address.
He lays out these questions at the very beginning of the fourth
book of the Politics. He lists four such questions.
The political scientist, he says, must have a grasp of
the best regime, given the most favorable
circumstances. Second, he tells us,
the political scientist must consider what kind of regime
will be best under less than optimal circumstances.
Third, the political scientist must have some knowledge of how
to render any regime, no matter how imperfect it may
be, more stable and coherent. Finally, the political
scientist must know something about the techniques of reform
and persuasion, what we might call the area of
political rhetoric by which existing regimes can be brought
closer to the best. Taken together,
these four questions are intended to guide inquiry,
to shape and direct inquiry. They are not intended to yield
sure or certain results, but to guide and inform
statesmen and citizens in the business of decision-making. Bearing in mind that political
science is a practical science, a science of judgment,
a science aimed at directing action under specific
circumstances and situations, it is important,
Aristotle finally suggests, that the language of political
science express the common sense or ordinary language of
political actors. There is virtually no jargon in
Aristotle’s Politics. Aristotle’s political science
stays entirely within the orbit of ordinary speech.
Such language does not claim to be scientifically purged of
ambiguity, but rather adopts standards of proof appropriate
to people in debates and assemblies,
in courts of law, in council rooms and the like.
The language of Aristotelian political science is the
language of man, the political animal.
You will never hear him speaking in terms of dependent
or independent variables. You will never hear him using
technical jargon, artificially imported into the
science of politics or the study of politics from the outside. What most distinguishes
Aristotle is that his language is addressed emphatically to
citizens and statesmen, not to other political
scientists or philosophers. It has a public orientation.
It is publicly directed. It is public spirited.
It is concerned with the common good.
Contrast that with today’s political science. Today, it seems,
political scientists are more concerned with advancing the
abstract truths of science and claims about creating a
methodologically rigorous and pure science of politics,
where Aristotle is more concerned with the regime. Modern political science,
in many ways, claims to stand above or apart
from the regime, to be objective,
to be disinterested, as if it were viewing human
affairs from a distant planet. Aristotle takes his stand from
within politics and the regime of which he is a part.
Of course, we all know contemporary political
scientists are not neutral. They frequently insert their
views, values we call them, value judgments we call them.
They insert them into their discussions.
These values are regarded by them as purely subjective,
again, their own value judgment so to speak,
and not strictly speaking a part of the science of politics.
But we all know, do we not, that most
contemporary political scientists tend to be liberals.
Their values are liberal values. This raises a question.
Whether the relation between contemporary political science
and liberalism is merely accidental or whether there is
some intrinsic, some necessary connection
between them. One might do well to ponder
which political science is really more
scientific–Aristotle’s, which is explicitly and
necessarily evaluative and that offers advice and exhortation to
the statesmen and citizens about how to care for their regime,
or contemporary political science that claims to be
neutral and nonpartisan, but which smuggles its values
and preferences in always through the back door.
On this very partisan note I conclude.
On Friday, let me just remind you, Il Principe.
We’ll study Machiavelli.

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