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Politics

Politics

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ROBERT F. HORTON

The word "politics" is so ambiguous and covers
so many varying notions that it may be prudent to
offer a definition of it, in order to save the reader the
vexation of not knowing what is the subject of dis-
cussion. The term is here used in this sense: the
application of a man^s religion to the life of the State,
It may be objected that such a definition begs the
question in some of the issues which will be raised.
Perhaps it does. It may seem to imply that if a
man has no religion he can have no politics, which
certainly would seem to be a paradox.
BY ROBERT F. HORTON

The word "politics" is so ambiguous and covers
so many varying notions that it may be prudent to
offer a definition of it, in order to save the reader the
vexation of not knowing what is the subject of dis-
cussion. The term is here used in this sense: the
application of a man^s religion to the life of the State,
It may be objected that such a definition begs the
question in some of the issues which will be raised.
Perhaps it does. It may seem to imply that if a
man has no religion he can have no politics, which
certainly would seem to be a paradox.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Feb 10, 2014
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POLITICS BY ROBERT F. HORTON The word "politics" is so ambiguous and covers so many varying notions that it may be prudent to offer a definition of it, in order to save the reader the vexation of not knowing what is the subject of dis-cussion. The term is here used in this sense: the application of a man^s religion to the life of the State, It may be objected that such a definition begs the question in some of the issues which will be raised. Perhaps it does. It may seem to imply that if a man has no religion he can have no politics, which certainly would seem to be a paradox. But it must be remembered that, according to the present writer's view, every one must have a religion; every one must have some idea of the Power to which we owe our existence, must have some mental attitude towards the Power, and must shape the conduct of life accordingly. This view we have of the Power behind and above things, our attitude towards It — or Him — and the conduct which results therefrom, is our religion. Now, according to the definition, politics is the application of this religious principle
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in us to the life of the State. I am not pleased with 93 POLITICS 93 this definition because it is my own, but becausCi whatever may be said against it, it is pregnant and leads to results. With the reader's permission, therefore, I will spend a little time on its defence. Aristotle wrote his "Politics" as the necessary sequel to his "Ethics." The ethical life which he delineated could only be lived in a polis (irdki^) or State. The political organism not only resulted from the ethical principles, but was in its turn the essential condition of their working. Jowett passes on Aristotle the criticism that he did not sufficiently distmguish between ethics and politics. With the modem mind, on the other hand, the difficulty is to connect the two. In some modem States politics would seem to be the negative of ethics. And even
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in the best of modem States many persons would seriously maintain that a man can be morally good and have nothing to do with politics at all. But Aristotle defined man as "a political animal," not remembering that several species of insects, such as ants and bees, would come under the same defini-tion. His good man was before all things the citizen of a good State ; the good man's goodness was largely the excellence of his life as a citizen. Now, our definition affirms the same relation between religion and politics that Aristotle main-tained between ethics and politics. Aristotle would not quarrel with the contention, for with h^m, as with modem ethical societies, ethics takes the place of religion. Of this truth God is a witness to us, for 94 GKEAT ISSUES He is happy in His own nature. In like manner the State which is happiest is morally best and wisest; and the courage, justice, and wisdom of a State are
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