Aristotelian Politics: Dangerous for Liberty? | Douglas B. Rasmussen | Cato Unbound
Nevertheless, what is it that legitimates a political/legal order? What is the nature of the connection between the ethical order and the political/legal order? There is a prima facie difference between claiming (i) that doing M is good or right (bad or wrong) and ought to be done (ought not to be done) and claiming (ii) that doing M ought to be politically/legally required (prohibited). These claims are not semantically equal, and (i) does not, by itself, imply (ii). Or, as Aquinas suggests: there are demands of justice that are morally binding and there are demands of justice that are morally and legally binding. Indeed, the datum explanandum of political philosophy is what, if anything, entitles one to move from the ethical to the political—from (i) to (ii). What is it that connects these two claims?
One begs the question if one simply assumes that the aim of the political/legal order is soulcraft. There are alternatives. Most importantly, there is the idea that defines the American political tradition—namely, establishing a political regime that secures individual rights.