For Aristotle, the good life is one of personal self-fulfillment. Man should
enjoy the values of this world. Using his mind to the fullest, each man should
work to achieve his own happiness here on earth. And in the process he should
be conscious of his own value. Pride, writes Aristotle—a rational pride in
oneself and in one’s moral character—is, when it is earned, the “crown of the
A proud man does not negate his own identity. He does not sink selflessly into
the community. He is not a promising subject for the Platonic state.
Although Aristotle’s writings do include a polemic against the more extreme
features of Plato’s collectivism, Aristotle himself is not a consistent
advocate of political individualism. His own politics is a mixture of statist
and antistatist elements. But the primary significance of Aristotle, or of any
philosopher, does not lie in his politics. It lies in the fundamentals of his
system: his metaphysics and epistemology.