Aristotle’s middle class

In Aristotle’s Politics Book IV, Chapter 12, he makes an important point, that if a society wants to progress and last, it must address the needs of and have a large middle class. If not, the political interest of the rich and the poor end up destroying any sense of political freedom.

The legislator should always include the middle class in his government; it he makes his laws oligarchical, to the middle class let him look; if he makes them democratical, he should equally by his laws try to attach this class to the state. There only can the government ever be stable where the middle class exceeds one or both of the others, and in that case there will be no fear that the rich will unite with the poor against the rulers. For neither of them will ever be willing to serve the other, and if they look for some form of government more suitable to both, they will find none better than this, for the rich and the poor will never consent to rule in turn, because they mistrust one another. The arbiter is always the one trusted, and he who is in the middle is an arbiter. The more perfect the admixture of the political elements, the more lasting will be the constitution. Many even of those who desire to form aristocratical governments make a mistake, not only in giving too much power to the rich, but in attempting to overreach the people. There comes a time when out of a false good there arises a true evil, since the encroachments of the rich are more destructive to the constitution than those of the people.

The question is who represents the middle class in the U.S.? Both parties stake claim to the middle class, but who (if either) really represents the middle class’s interests? Republicans claim to represent the small business owner by pushing for lower taxes and less government regulation. The reality is that the Republican party caters to corporate interests at the expense of the small business owner.

Democrats claim to support the interest of the middle class by supporting labor and minimum wage requirements, universal health care, etc. However, expansion of government payer programs seems to be more directed at the poor than at the middle class.

What’s your vote? Which party represents better the middle class? I believe the party that is truly concerned about relieving the burdens on the middle class without encumbering it with greater taxes and regulations is the party of the middle class and that party doesn’t exist.

One Reply to “Aristotle’s middle class”

  1. Aristotle also seems to be a liberal more than a conservative by his last statement: “the encroachments of the rich are more destructive to the constitution than those of the people.”

    In our country, both are going on. Which is more destructive to the constitution? Likely it is the overwhelming influence that money is having on the constitution (or make up and state of being) of the country.

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