To begin a new month’s investigation of a new topic, it’s important to begin again from first principles.
Again, the thread of the first three months of this year is to interrogate the topics of ethics, economics, and politics — in that order.
That scaffolding comes from the classical Greek tradition, in which thinkers like Aristotle determined that human nature was to live together, and that living together in society required that people learn to “rule” (or govern) first themselves, then their households, then their polity.
That sequence makes intuitive sense. If we truly are social by nature, then our fates are somehow bound together. And if our fates are bound together, then our adequacy to the progressively greater tasks of governing ourselves, our homes (and resources), and our communities will have progressively greater effects on the fate of society.
For if we cannot govern ourselves, we might harm another in word or deed. But if we cannot govern our money or politics — or if people who cannot govern themselves nonetheless control great wealth and power — the effects quickly and clearly scale to the level of the polis and perhaps beyond.
And so, let’s begin.