Sunday, November 02, 2008

Aristotle and Anthony Kiedis on politics

"I take in an interest in the world, my country, people, but I don't know if I'd call it politics," Kiedis said. "That word has a [negative] connotation because I'm not a politician but I'm a person that likes to participate in life in this country." Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers qouted from Rebel Yell in

Compare this to Aristotle's definition of politics from the "Nichomachean Ethics".a

"We observe that even the most highly esteemed of the faculties, such as strategy, domestic economy, oratory, are subordinate to the political science. [7] Inasmuch then as the rest of the sciences are employed by this one, and as it moreover lays down laws as to what people shall do and what things they shall refrain from doing, the end of this science must include the ends of all the others. Therefore, the Good of man must be the end of the science of Politics. [8] For even though it be the case that the Good is the same for the individual and for the state, nevertheless, the good of the state is manifestly a greater and more perfect good, both to attain and to preserve.1 To secure the good of one person only is better than nothing; but to secure the good of a nation or a state is a nobler and more divine achievement."
Aristotle Nichomachean EthicsAristotle in 23 Volumes, Vol. 19, translated by H. Rackham. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1934.

Aristotle makes ethics an end unto itself but also the science that informs how people live together, which he in turn defines as Politics. This opposes the narrow view of politics as a horse race between partisan interests. Mr.Kiedis is smart both substantively and rhetorically in how he describes politics and his relationship to it.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster