Plato and Aristotle Contrasted and Applied to Statesmanship Education
A quality liberal arts education is power. True education gives us profound knowledge about human nature and tremendous ability to sway people and attract them to our cause.
Such influence can be dangerous. A liberal arts education is much like fire; one can either harness and control the power to bend the course of nations for good, or one can be caught up in a conflagration of power lust and be destroyed.
True statesmen and stateswomen are not afraid of power; they recognize power as morally neutral and understand when, how, and why to use it appropriately. At critical junctures, the statesman must choose to wield excessive political influence in order to do the right thing.
However, much as the genius treads a fine line bordering on insanity, so does the statesman walk the delicate line between statesmanship and tyranny.
Just as the statesman must be cognizant of the long-term consequences of forms and policies, so too must he be conscious of his personal, innermost motives so as to be able to judge himself accurately.
What are the factors that determine whether a person will become a statesman or a tyrant? Although books could be written to answer this question on various subjects ranging from education to habit, the answer is profoundly simple.
Whether a person becomes a statesman or a tyrant is determined simply by their viewpoint in regards to the people.
A tyrant views the masses from one of two perspectives: he either sees them as obstacles in the way of his rise to power and glory that must be crushed at all costs, or he sees them from a condescendingly benevolent standpoint as inferior, childish subjects that have need of a caring master.
Either way his view is from the top looking down.
The tyrant who advocates the first view never considers the misery and slavery of the people as he implements whimsical policies, while the despot engendering the second perspective focuses on the misery of the people but only to gratify his arrogant, false sense of philanthropy.
The tyrant is a social engineer who views human beings as experimental subjects to manipulate and mold to his ideal conceptions. To a tyrant, government is and should be an offensive force utilized to coerce their subjects to stay in line.
The first perspective of despotism is usually enacted by power-hungry elites, or politician types, while the second is perpetrated by bureaucratic intellectuals.
The politicians usually flourish in periods of anarchy or under monarchical structures, while demagogic bureaucrats flourish in democratic societies and governments.
The violent politician wants power, fame, and wealth for himself; the wolf-disguised-as-sheep bureaucrat pontificates on programs to provide security for the masses, which ultimately translates into slavery for them and control for him.
A statesman views people from one of two perspectives, and usually from both: He sees them on a level plane as equal individuals — not equal in terms of capability or natural talent, but equal in the sense of intrinsic worth; and he sees them from the eyes of a humble, sincere servant looking up as he metaphorically washes their feet.
He looks at the people eye-to-eye with respect and dignity, and he looks up at them reverently as precious souls capable of divine achievement.
He understands the truth written by C.S. Lewis that,
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously — no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”
A statesman — whatever his religious persuasion — believes and lives the “Golden Rule” and is just as concerned with how a particular theory or policy affects others as it does himself. Statesmen do not experiment with people; rather, they possess a deep understanding of human nature and they experiment with forms that coincide with, yet elevate, that nature.
Implicit in their vision of the ideal is that it must be voluntary, not forced. Understanding that government is force, they use government merely as a negative, defensive force to protect the inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, and use other private, voluntary, and societal forms to influence, not coerce, human beings to achieve higher levels of virtue, justice, and happiness.
Aside from theological and mythological sources, the first historical dichotomy of which we speak, that of freedom versus force, was illustrated in the differences between Plato and Aristotle.
Plato, using the voice of Socrates in his dialogues of The Republic, was the quintessential patronizing bureaucrat and viewed the people looking down from a supposedly enlightened, philosophical perch.
The Republic, the first known blueprint for compulsory social engineering, details a utopian society led by enlightened Philosopher Kings and strong Guardians of the people.
Plato argued that justice should be the end, or the goal of society, and that to achieve a just society we must train just leaders from youth. Plato’s prescribed training for the societal guardians included music for the soul and gymnastics for the body. Music to Plato was essentially a liberal arts education including fictional stories, theology, mythology, history, speaking and writing, melody, rhythm, and song lyrics, art and artisanship with a focus on grace and beauty, temperance, courage, liberality, magnificence, and politeness.
What Plato meant by gymnastics was good exercise and a strict diet including straight meats and vegetables, no sauces, sweets, processed foods, or alcohol. Plato also recommended that the guardians in training receive tests that would gauge their responses to physical dangers and pleasures, the opportunity of power and/or gain, and service.
It is imperative to note that Plato recommended this liberal arts education for the leaders of society only, maintaining that the citizenry at large should be assigned one occupation and focus on that and that alone. He wrote that the guardians must be strong and vicious when defending the people against outside threats, yet placid and temperate when dealing with their own subjects.
Plato also specified that the guardians and the auxiliaries (young rulers in training prior to becoming guardians) were to have no familiarity with sensual relationships, and that the lifestyle of the guardians was to consist of common, military-style housing, having wives and children in common, and maintaining equality of men and women in the workplace.
He wrote that the guardians should not own property, that they should live on a small, fixed salary, that they should be able to enter stores or private homes for meals at will, that they must not touch, wear, or own gold or silver, and he also wished to impose a strict breeding program to ensure that the best genes would be perpetuated.
Plato believed that the ideal society was one in which the leaders are experts on justice, everyone in the state is an expert in one thing only, and all citizens and guardians alike do graceful, beautiful work and nothing ugly.
Plato’s ideal is on a theoretical level and detached from reality, yet the practical reality is that it requires force and compulsion to implement, and it requires that the philosopher kings and guardians be superhuman and above the destructive elements of human nature.
What he describes in conceptual terms is, practically speaking, power-hungry intellectuals who define justice and then use bullies to enforce their conception of justice upon an insignificant, proletarian populace.
In book two of The Republic, Socrates and Glaucon are debating about how to best protect their ideal city and wonder if the citizens should fight wars, or if a separate body should oversee defensive operations. Socrates concludes,
“Then, my friend, we want a still larger city; not a little larger, but a whole army larger, that it may go out and fight against all attackers in defence of those we have described and for all we have.”
“Why, aren’t the people enough?” Glaucon wonders.
“No,” answers Socrates, “for you and we all made that clear when we were moulding [italics added] the city. I think we agreed…that it was impossible for one man to exercise many arts well. The struggle of war is an art isn’t it?”
“Very much so,” answers Glaucon.
“If so,” Socrates continues, “must we care for the art of shoemaking but not for the art of war?”
“Oh, no,” Glaucon responds.
“Well, we forbade [italics added] the shoemaker to try to be a farmer or weaver or builder; he was to make shoes, that the work of shoemaking might be properly done for us [italics added]. Just so we sorted out the others, according to their natural gifts; each was to leave other things alone, and to spend his life on this one occupation and to lose no chance of doing his work well; and is it not most important that the business of war shall be well done?”
He then goes to conclude that a separate body, the guardians, must be trained to protect the city. In the first place, their division of labor translates into slavery, and secondly, human beings are not capable of producing leaders whose job it is to protect the citizens who do not ultimately turn on the very citizens that they were charged to protect, especially in the absence of good laws and checks and balances of power.
Plato even goes so far as to advocate a strictly controlled breeding program for the guardians. In book five he writes,
“Then holidays must be provided by law, when we shall bring together the brides and bridegrooms, and there must be festivals, and hymns must be made by our poets suitable to the weddings which come about. But the number of weddings we will leave the rulers to decide, so that they may keep the number of the men as far as possible the same, taking into account war and disease and so forth, in order to keep the city from becoming either too large or too small as far as possible.”
“The children of the good, then, they will take, I think, into the fold, and hand them over to certain nurses who will live in some place apart in the city; those of the inferior sort, and any one of the others who may be born defective, they will put away as is proper in some mysterious, unknown place.”
If you think that this sounds good in theory, read the anti-utopian novels Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and The Giver by Lois Lowry in which the realities of Plato’s deceptive theory are described in detail.
One of the critical flaws of Plato’s thinking is to believe that the happiness of the society of the whole is what matters most, as opposed to the happiness of the individual. In book four of The Republic, a fellow debater, Adeimantos, is critical of the state that Socrates is describing and remarks that the guardians will be unhappy with the lifestyle previously described.
“…what we had in mind when we founded the city was not how to make one class happy above the rest, but how to make the city as a whole as happy as it could be. For we believed that in such a city we were most likely to find justice, and injustice again in the worst managed city; then we might examine them and decide the matter which we have been searching all this time….we are moulding the happy city; we are not separating a few in it and putting them down as happy, but we take it as a whole.
“Suppose we were putting colour on a statue, and someone came up and found fault because we did not put the finest colours on the finest parts of the figure, for the eyes, a most beautiful part, have, he says, been tinted dark, not crimson. We should think it a reasonable answer to give him if we said, “Don’t be silly! Do you think we ought to paint such a beautiful pair of eyes that they don’t look like eyes at all? So also the other parts? But look and see if, by giving all the parts their proper treatment, we are making the whole beautiful! Just so now, don’t force us to tack on such happiness to the guardians as will make them anything but guardians. We could indeed just as well order the farmers to dress in purple and fine linen, and hang gold chains about them, and till the land for their pleasure; we might make the potters put their wheels away, and recline on couches and feast, and have drinking matches at the fire, and send the cup round to the right, and make their pots when they felt so disposed; and we might make all the others live in bliss in that sort of way, and then expect the whole city to be happy! Don’t preach to us like that; for if we obey you, farmer will not be farmer, and potter will not be potter, and no other class of those which make a city will have its proper form.”
It is appalling that Plato would dare to compare an inanimate statue to the free desires of free men, as if men were but chattels belonging to and living for the happiness of the state.
As for the fear that farmer will not be farmer, etcetera, we pose the familiar question, “Does the individual exist for the state, or the state for the individual?”
How does Plato expect the state as a whole to be happy and just if the constituent individuals are not happy and do not have justice dealt them?
A state is only as happy as the individuals are happy. If a farmer is unhappy as a farmer, let him be a potter, let him be a physician, let him rise the level of his dreams, aspirations, exertions, and persistence! In short, let him be free to choose and pursue his own happiness!
To illustrate vividly the practical consequences of Plato’s theory, we have but to look to historical examples of leaders who have implemented and/or expounded on his “ideals.” The world’s most egregious authoritarians, including Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao Tse-Tung all believed in and implemented Plato’s ideas in some form or another, while Marx, Hegel, Hobbes, and Nietzsche were intellectuals who elaborated on the same controlling concepts.
The intellectuals, including Plato, viewed the people looking down from the abstract, lofty heights of intellectual snobbery, while the dictators looked down at the, in their eyes, insignificant masses that they decimated under their merciless, imperious boots.
Aristotle, on the other hand, while not infallible, took a much more humble view of the people and wished to create a society more conducive to freedom and to elevating the entire populace.
As is detailed in his book Politics and contrary to Plato’s society, Aristotle believed that all citizens should be educated and be taught five critical subjects: war for the sake of peace, business for the sake of leisure, things useful for the sake of things honorable, happiness through virtue, and harmony of good nature, habit, and reason.
He believed that good, widespread education would lead to good laws and good leaders, which would lead to virtue among the leaders and society generally, and virtue would ultimately lead to happiness. He rejected the principle of a divine right to rule, arguing that all men should be equal before the law.
In book seven of Politics he writes,
“If some men excelled others in the same degree in which gods and heroes are supposed to excel mankind in general, having in the first place a great advantage even in their bodies, and secondly in their minds, so that the superiority of the governors over their subjects was patent and undisputed, it would clearly be better that once for all the one class should rule and the others serve. But since this is unattainable, and kings have no marked superiority over their subjects, it is obviously necessary on many grounds that all the citizens alike should take their turn of governing and being governed.”
Not only did Aristotle understand the duality of the nature of man, he also did not seek to force or manipulate man to change for the better; rather, he was willing to let humans choose to be what they wanted to be, while using proper forms to protect their right to choose.
Aristotle was the first that we know of who understood that governments fail when all of the power to legislate, execute the laws, and judge the laws is in one person or one group of people precisely because of human nature, and thus he discussed, at least conceptually, the idea of a polity, or mixed government.
A polity, he taught, having the goals of good people and good laws would cull the good and discard the bad from the simple forms of government including monarchy, democracy, aristocracy, and oligarchy.
A polity would separate the three branches, or functions of government, into three distinct, autonomous offices controlled by different groups of people.
Unlike Plato, Aristotle believed that individual happiness was more essential than communal happiness in the ideal state. Knowing that men seek their own happiness and satisfaction, he refuted Plato’s idea of communal wives, children, and property.
In book two of Politics, he writes,
“For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill; as in families many attendants are often less useful than a few. Each citizen will have a thousand sons who will not be his sons individually, but anybody will be equally the son of anybody, and will therefore be neglected by all alike.”
He then continues,
“…when the citizens till the ground themselves the question of ownership will give a world of trouble. If they do not share equally in enjoyments and toils, those who labour much and get little will necessarily complain of those who labour little and receive or consume much. There is always a difficulty in men living together and having things in common, but especially in their having common property.”
Aristotle showed that he understood that virtue and charity are obsolete when they are not voluntary when he wrote, also in book two,
“…there is the greatest pleasure in doing a kindness or service to friends or guests or companions, which can only be rendered when a man has private property. The advantage is lost by the excessive unification of the state. Two virtues are annihilated in such a state: first, temperance towards women; and secondly, liberality in the matter of property. No one, when men have all things in common, will any longer set an example of liberality or do any liberal action; for liberality consists in the use which is made of property. Such legislation may have a specious appearance of benevolence; men readily listen to it, and are easily induced to believe that in some wonderful manner everybody will become everybody’s friend, especially when some one is heard denouncing the evils now existing in states, suits about contracts, convictions for perjury, flatteries of rich men and the like, which are said to arise out of the possession of private property. These evils, however, are due to a very different cause–the wickedness of human nature. Indeed, we see that there is much more quarreling among those who have all things in common…”
One of Aristotle’s errors, although a common belief held in his age, is the doctrine that slavery is a natural and even necessary state, although his arguments in favor of slavery could be interpreted to mean nothing more than a natural aristocracy of merit, rather than forced enslavement.
In book one he writes,
“For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing, not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.”
He even admits that those against slavery have a valid argument.
“We see then that there is some foundation for this difference of opinion, and that some actual slaves and freemen are not so by nature, and also that there is in some cases a marked distinction between the two classes, rendering it expedient and right for the one to be slaves and the others to be masters: the one practicing obedience, the others exercising the authority which nature intended them to have. The abuse of this authority is injurious to both; for the interests of part and whole, of body and soul, are the same, and the slave is a part of the master, a living but separated part of his bodily frame. Where the relation between them is natural they are friends and have a common interest, but where it rests merely on law and force the reverse is true.”
Obviously, forced slavery is incontrovertibly morally wrong and impracticable, yet if we twist his argument slightly to place it in a positive light, he is describing a free market where the division of labor is voluntary and each citizens is able to choose their own vocation.
Although volumes could be written about the differences between the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, the crucial distinguishing factor lies in how each viewed the people.
As has already been shown, Plato looked down upon them, however benevolently, yet Aristotle viewed them as equals. Their individual philosophies flow from this critical distinction.
Because Aristotle viewed the people as equals (at least the freemen, if we are to be completely objective), he did not seek for power over them; rather, he sought to protect their freedoms by devising a checked and balanced polity to prevent abuses of power.
Plato wished to concentrate all the power among two ruling bodies: the philosopher kings and the guardians. Both men were manifestly brilliant men with tremendous potential for good or ill.
Both understood the intricacies and complexities of human nature. Simply because of their outlook, one chose the easy route of controlling the people, while the other embraced the complexities, made an in-depth scientific study of politics and government, and did his best to allow the people to exercise their freedom to choose while still maintaining peace and order; in other words, Plato wanted order for the sake of power and control, while Aristotle wanted order for the sake of freedom and protection.
Plato wished to play Playdough with the souls of men, while Aristotle simply wanted to build a better, safer playground.
Warrior vs. Populist Tyrants
Thus we find a definite method of determining if an aspiring leader will become a statesman or a dictator based upon their perspective of the people.
A further question must be answered yet, which is, “Which is more dangerous to the freedom of the people, the unequivocal, power-hungry politicians who declare their intentions from the beginning, or the ambiguous, esoteric yet zealous bureaucrats who pompously proclaim their virtuous desires to make the people secure and happy?”
Fully admitting the impossibility of placing such a question under the scrutiny of a scientific study, I am forced to answer from instinct and intuition, which tells me that it is far more crucial to recognize, identify, and dispute the deceitfully benevolent intellectual than the Machiavellian aspiring dictator.
Human nature is such that when we are clearly, strongly, and immediately threatened we will fight fervently to protect our own interests.
Yet if we are lulled into complacency over long periods of time, and even extending generationally, with promises of food in our bellies, comfortable places to live, and secure jobs, we will eventually embrace wholeheartedly the seductive, deceitful, and chimerical promises of imaginary security.
Patronizing intellectuals are beguiling social chefs, lulling their unaware subjects into cold water on the malicious stove of their pet theories, and slowly heating up the water until they rule omnipotent and render their subjects lifeless, sniveling subservients who look up to them to provide every need and desire.
Alexander Hamilton displayed his understanding of this when he wrote in The Federalist Papers,
“…a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.”
James Madison also spoke of this danger when he wrote, from the same work,
“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
In the classic on slavery, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the vicious authoritarian Simon Legree buys the pious Uncle Tom among other slaves and is on a boat heading home. He engages in a conversation with a southern gentleman and describes his depraved method of handling his slaves.
“Use up, and buy more, ‘s my way; makes you less trouble, and I’m quite sure it comes cheaper in the end,” he explains.
“And how long do they generally last?” asks the gentleman.
“Well, donno; ‘cordin’ as their constitution is. Stout fellers last six or seven years; trashy ones gets worked up in two or three. I used to, when I fust begun, have considerable trouble fussin’ with ‘em and trying to make ‘em hold out, doctorin’ on ‘em up when they’s sick, and givin’ ‘em clothes and blankets, and what not, tryin’ to keep ‘em all sort o’ decent and comfortable. Law, ‘t wasn’t no sort o’ use; I lost money on ‘em, and ‘t was heaps o’ trouble. Now, you see, I just put ‘em straight through, sick or well. When one nigger’s dead, I buy another; and I find it comes cheaper and easier, every way.”
The stranger turns away and seats himself next to another gentleman who had been listening to the conversation.
“You must not take that fellow to be any specimen of Southern planters,” the first explains to the other.
“I should hope not,” comes the reply.
“He is a mean, low, brutal fellow!” says the first gentleman. “And yet your laws allow him to hold any number of human beings subject to his absolute will, without even a shadow of protection; and, low as he is, you cannot say that there are not many such,” the second man responds.
“Well,” says the first man, “there are also many considerate and humane men among planters.”
And here we arrive at the key point, in the second man’s response.
“Granted, but in my opinion, it is you considerate, human men, that are responsible for all the brutality and outrage wrought by these wretches; because, if it were not for your sanction and influence, the whole system could not keep foot-hold for an hour. If there were no planters except such as that one,” he says, pointing to Simon Legree, “the whole thing would go down like a mill-stone. It is your respectability and humanity that licenses and protects his brutality.”
Such is the danger of the apparent credibility of intellectual demagoguery.
Intellectuals inevitably seek to capitalize on the potent seduction of “The Inner Ring,” that dark, unfulfilling cavern in all of humanity that seeks to be wiser, more intelligent, more charming and likeable, more powerful and feared, than other fellow men. It is for this purpose that they disguise their insidious intentions under the dark cloak of esoteric and cabbalistic ideologies — it strokes the vanity of the few supposedly “intelligent” enough to decipher the cryptic code, who then become sycophant followers of a sick leader.
On the fringes of this newly-formed inner ring are the weaklings seeking to be strong by association, the groveling minions who do not even understand the abstruse code but play “The Emperors New Clothes” so as not to be found wanting in wisdom and intelligence.
These parasitic subordinates then become sadistic pawns to do the dirty work for the intellectual kings and knights in a grim battle of chess for the souls of men; in this manner the intellectuals keep their hands ostensibly clean from the awful stain of blood and sin, while themselves maintaining an air of impeccable compassion for the masses.
After all, wrote C.S. Lewis,
“Of all passions the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.”
The exaggerated truculence of these undiscerning disciples is given as an offering to their mortal allegiance; blindly, they heed not the soft whisperings of conscience, for their perverted morality is based on mere acceptance.
Such flagrant abuses and perversions of power emanating from the fecund soil of intellectual hubris are clearly and incontrovertibly evil, a fact no doubt easily apparent to almost all young aspiring statesmen and stateswomen.
Yet evil is shrewd, cunning, and patient, and its most potent danger lies not perpetrating blatant atrocities, but slight, gradual, and specious counterfeits of truth, light, and goodness.
When good people are attacked by evil, they will fight boldly, nobly, and heroically, but when simple-minded good people are infiltrated by evil disguised as good, most do not possess the wisdom borne of experience to extirpate it at its inception.
Evil governments and men are easily defeated and corrupted by plainly evil methods and men, yet evil must work more cautiously, meticulously, and moderately upon free governments and just men, camouflaging its diabolical intentions under a cloak of feigned altruism.
Hence, of all of the dangers most inimical to free governments, false philanthropy is the subtlest, yet unequivocally the most malignant.
Evil is even able to utilize truly honorable men and women in its incessant fight against free governments, by coaxing them to use the wrong methods to achieve the right ends.
Wrong methods always, without exception, lead to wrong ends, regardless of how pure and noble the desired ends. Evil, then, seeks not only evil comrades, but is also constantly on the lookout for simplistically virtuous souls to employ in its unrelenting fight for control; good-intentioned souls who can be coaxed to use government as a charitable institution, thereby giving the government unwarranted power over the people in the form of dependence.
The people don’t need another dictator to control them, or another philanthropic intellectual to make them secure in their slavery; these are a dime a dozen.
What they need is a humble servant with the power and the will to ensure their freedom governmentally, and to serve and uplift them societally.
The world does not need more good-intentioned yet simple-minded voters, either conservative or liberal. What it needs is people of strong mind, willing heart, and courageous spirit who are willing to pass through the purging fires of complexity, and capable of coming out pure, undefiled, and incorruptible on the other side.
The line between good and bad, true and counterfeit is more often than not convoluted, ambiguous, and equivocal.
Ours is the challenge to recognize good from evil, light from darkness, to rake the coals of history and humanity to find the burning embers of truth. Hence, the tendency to judge by a close-minded standard of black and white is a simplistic and dangerous pedantry and will lead in many cases to judge that which is good as evil, and vice versa.
The art if statesmanship is to see the complexity beyond simplicity, to ascertain what is not immediately apparent, to strike at the root and ignore the leaves, and to implement policies based on long-term consequences. Aspiring statesmen and stateswomen must be constantly aware that most things are not what they seem.
Education is power. We must make the choice to either control that power, or be controlled by it. If we fail to make that choice consciously and deliberately, it will be made by default, and the probability is that a decision by default regarding a thing so portentous will err on the side of the latter.
In our teenage years, we were often given the advice to decide on moral questions before we were placed in a situation of temptation. We must apply the same advice to our education.
Decide now to control power. This choice of which we speak hinges upon one crucial point: one’s view of the people. As tempting and easy as it is, a view from the top looking down will inevitably lead one to bureaucratic politics at the very least, and tyranny at the worst, and not statesmanship.
Choose now to view the people as equals, and never fall into the trap of benevolent condescension. Choose not to be a master, but a servant.
“Do what you may,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, “there is no true power among men except in the free union of their will…”