Page:Aristotle - The Politics, 1905.djvu/21

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the state requires (c. 10). But are the Many or the Few likely to be the better rulers ? It would be unreasonable to give the highest offices to the Many. But they have a faculty of criticism which fits them for deliberative and judicial power. The good critic need not be an expert ; experts are sometimes bad judges. Moreover, the Many have a greater stake in the city than the Few. But the governing body, whether Few or Many, must be held in check by the laws (c. n). On what principle should political power be distributed ? Granted that equals deserve equal shares ; who are these equals ? Obviously those who are equally able to be of service to the state (c. 12). Hence there is something in the claims advanced by the wealthy, the free born, the noble, the highly gifted. But no one of these classes should be allowed to rule the rest. A state should consist of men who are equal, or nearly so, in wealth, in birth, in moral and intellectual excellence. The principle which underlies Ostracism is plausible. But in the ideal state, if a pre-eminent individual be found, he should be made a king (c. 13).

cc. 14-18. The Forms of Monarchy.

Of Monarchy there are five kinds, (i) the Spartan, (2) the Barbarian, (3) the elective dictatorship, (4) the Heroic, (5) Absolute Kingship (c. 14). The last of these forms might appear the best polity to some ; that is, if the king acts as the embodiment of law. For he will dispense from the law in the spirit of the law. But this power would be less abused if reserved for the Many. Monarchy arose to meet the needs of primitive society ; it is now obsolete and on various grounds objectionable (c. 15). It tends to become hereditary; it subjects equals to the rule of an equal. The individual