Freedom Center Symposium: Fred Miller
Topic: Aristotelian Statecraft
Is Aristotle’s theory of statecraft relevant to modern politics? It would seem not, since Aristotle contends that the proper aim of government is the promotion of virtue (as he understands it) and his own “best constitution” involves many features that appear highly illiberal to moderns (including slavery, political disenfranchisement of women, and various restrictions on individual freedom). Miller argues, however, that Aristotle’s political theory includes a general theory of statecraft which can be separated from his own view of the purpose of government. This Aristotelian statecraft represents a “middle way” between Platonic utopianism and Machieavellian Realpolitik. Aristotle’s theory can offer practical guidance even to those who espouse political ideals very different from his own, including even an advocate of the libertarian minimal state.