What Is a Successful Society?
umair haque

Aristotle and the US Society

Wow. I do so love something that makes thought chains appear in my head. I really appreciate the point of your writing: A society that is functioning as a society, expanding in the good things, inclusive of all people…is a society.

And we really don’t have a successful society, here in the US of A. One of the commentators suggested that to compare the US to other countries in terms of success (of society) is a fallacy, for various reasons: taxes, number of population, ya da ya da. I would suggest that all the reasons they gave why we cannot apply the Aristotlean view of society is EXACTLY why that view works beautifully for the USA. (And shows us seriously lacking.)

In a country that was BUILT on the concept of the American Dream: college education, house with picket fence, 2.48 children and a pet…should have MORE to offer its citizens than a smaller country which has, necessarily, less of the very same resources that (can) make a great society. America has been the goal of immigrants since the first Europeans landed on these shores. (What we did to the native peoples is a LONG write for another time.)

America has been identified as the “land of plenty” with “opportunity for all” and “success for those who work hard”. If that is the goal, then we are absolutely failing as a society. If you doubt me, then look around you. We have 47% of our population one major financial crisis away from poverty; 25% of our children go to bed hungry (or as it’s put, have food insecurity); 1% of the population holds about 38% of all privately held wealth in the United States. while the bottom 90% held 73% of all debt. According to The New York Times, the “richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent”. NINETY PERCENT of our citizens hold more debt and less money than the top ONE PERCENT. Does anyone else see the problem with that? (Rhetorical question.)

If America were a suit of clothes, we’d be falling apart at the seams, with big holes in strategic areas. We have MOST of the population working hard, but seeing the profits go to the very few, and most of the are not what you would call a “worker”. No, they have titles like “CEO” or “COO” or Chairman … or President. They sit in offices and listen to their money grow. And then they have the gall to mock and denigrate the workers whose efforts gave them their wealth. “Aren’t you glad that you have a job in these hard economic times?” has NEVER been a compassionate question.

Our infrastructure, all of the things we all need, like roads, schools, healthcare, all of these things are not given the priority they require within our Federal government. No, the “politicians” (supposedly “of the people”, elected by the people) are too busy making laws about women’s reproductive rights and abortion, things that MALE politicians should have absolutely NO say in — they don’t get pregnant, last time I checked — to actually do their work of making laws to HELP the population.

Frankly, not only does America not meet the requirements for an Aristotlean society, it doesn’t meet the requirements for a Platonic or Hegelian society either. Three strikes and you’re out. So feel free to go ahead and say it out loud: America fails as a society, on any rational measure you can use. Now the bigger problem is, how do we fix that?

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