The Wise Ruling and the Unwise Seeking Consent of the Masses

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The Wise Ruling and the Unwise Seeking Consent of the Masses

The most difficult thing for a regime to achieve is that of acquiring the best ruler, with the consent of the ruled. Aristotle acknowledges this in his works The Politics, and Caius Marcius Coriolanus faces this difficult task in the Shakespeare play The Tragedy of Coriolanus. We even see this same difficult task arise in contemporary politics, as the masses are wooed one way or the other with sound bites, and talk show appearances, by candidates who may not be the best leader for the republic. To this day I don't know if there is a real solution for this dilemma. There is, however, a better way to go about seeking the consent of the ruled then the route Coriolanus took, and there is a good way to go about achieving a threshold in our republic where we better our chances so that those who Know have the consent of those who do not Know, so that the common good can be achieved.

Aristotle believed that those who ruled must be wise. They must possess certain virtues and knowledge that can allow for him to rule for the common good. For someone to Know, he must understand man and the common good of man. Aristotle believed every man is by nature a political animal. Man must forge partnerships with other humans to live the good life. Man is not self-sufficient. It is these partnerships that provide for the basis of the polis or city-state. There is a natural hierarchy of partnerships that lead to the polis. The most basic is that of the family. Marriage is in essence a political partnership. There are certain tasks and duties that neither a man nor a woman can do without another therefore making marriage a necessity for the good life. Following the famil...

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If these actions, as described by Aristotle, are carried out then the best ruler will receive the consent of the ruled without compromising the uniqueness of the ruler. Had Coriolanus been moderate in his actions and applied Aristotle's belief of government and its relationship with man perhaps he would not have met his demise in the end. Aristotle's The Politics and Shakespeare's Tragedy of Coriolanus leave future generations with lessons on representative government. Coriolanus shows us how those deserving office should not go about seeking the consent of the ruled, while Aristotle provides a timeless observation of man and how government applies to his existence here on earth. If we apply these two schools of thought to today's governing process we will have a clear, and reasonable way for the wise ruler to have the consent of the unwise masses.

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