Citizens Cain & Abel

The Dilemma of Soulcraft & the State

Does a good state depend on the existence of virtuous citizens, or only upon a good constitution and good laws? On this subject, the old books disagree.

Aristotle, in his Nichomachean Ethics and Politics, taught that constitutions and laws would be inadequate if the citizens lacked the key virtues: moderation, courage, justice. Those virtues were dispositions of the soul, arrived at through the habitual regulation of the passions. But habituation to virtue was not something that occurred naturally. It needed a system of support. The state, having an interest in the virtue of its citizens, must supply that support. It must provide public, compulsory education aimed at...


received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He writes on education, politics, religion, and culture.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #25, Summer 2013 Copyright © 2020 Salvo |


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