Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Aristotle: Politics Book VII ... Regarding R-rated movies, internet porn and marrying famous football players.

First, note that children are bad from birth:

"And as the body is prior in order of generation to the soul, so the irrational is prior to the rational. The proof is that anger and wishing and desire are implanted in children from their very birth, but reason and understanding are developed as they grow older."

and the core of the teaching:

"Indeed, there is nothing which the legislator should be more careful to drive away than indecency of speech; for the light utterance of shameful words leads soon to shameful actions. The young especially should never be allowed to repeat or hear anything of the sort. A freeman who is found saying or doing what is forbidden, if he be too young as yet to have the privilege of reclining at the public tables, should be disgraced and beaten, and an elder person degraded as his slavish conduct deserves. And since we do not allow improper language, clearly we should also banish pictures or speeches from the stage which are indecent. Let the rulers take care that there be no image or picture representing unseemly actions, ..."

Yes, the government is to enforce this ban on public indecency. As noted earlier, the education is to be taken over entirely by the government in the systems proposed by Plato and Aristotle, although they disagree on much else. Lest we think all this to be some perfect good, I will direct the attention towards 1 Maccabees where the Greek education came into direct conflict with Judaism.

As for marrying a professional athlete:

"The constitution of an athlete is not suited to the life of a citizen, or to health, or to the procreation of children, any more than the valetudinarian or exhausted constitution, but one which is in a mean between them. A man's constitution should be inured to labor, but not to labor which is excessive or of one sort only, such as is practiced by athletes; he should be capable of all the actions of a freeman. These remarks apply equally to both parents."

Book VIII goes into detail on the public education system including the need for gymnastics and music.


Delirious said...

We believe little children are innocent, and not capable of committing sin because they don't understand yet. This is the main reason that we don't do infant baptisms.

Looney said...

That view is fairly common among evangelical churches, but it seems to me that the orthodox Christian view is different.