With the 2016 election season down to its final week, Christendom’s Dr. John Cuddeback has written a special article on elections and politics, through the lens of Aristotle. An exclusive piece for the popular First Things, Cuddeback calls on people to bring attention back to friendship, family, and the local community, all as a means of bringing a renewal to the broader society.
Cuddeback, a popular speaker on ethics and friendship nationwide, begins his article by pointing out a fundamental flaw in today’s society: the notion that differences regarding fundamental principles of human nature and morality are not a threat to social and political life.
“It is not a matter of chocolate and vanilla. Difference in taste can add spice to life. But difference about fundamental realities is a hindrance to living in community—and to friendship. No amount of wishing it weren’t so, or of well-intentioned efforts to overlook differences, can change the hard truth…the proof is all around us. If people think differently they will act differently. And community and friendship are about living together, sharing a common life,” writes Cuddeback.
With this in mind, Cuddeback tries to provide a way forward out of the mess caused by classical liberalism, and finds it in the writings of Aristotle. In his famed Nicomeachean Ethics, Aristotle offers a practical approach, calling on each man to lead his children and friends towards virtue when a political community fails to do so.
“Such attention to friendship, family, and local community does not entail an abandonment of the broader political process. On the contrary, building such cells of excellence is a fundamental requirement for the renewal of the broader polity. Smaller communities with shared vision and practices are healthy, and thus they tend to grow and divide. Since they are vibrant cells, they are also cells that can share a vision—the very vision that can unite and animate the broader community,” writes Cuddeback.
While today’s society, full of confusion over the most fundamental human issues, can seem bleak, such an avenue provided by Aristotle can offer hope again. The political community may be neglecting society, but if every person lives out the basic truths of natural law and shares them, then there is a chance for a renewal in society, according to Cuddeback.
To read this article in its entirety, please click here.