Notes to POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY OF THOMAS AQUINAS

[1] "Power relates itself to both good and evil. Happiness, however, is the proper and perfect good of man. Hence, any happiness would more consist in the good use of power, which is by way of virtue, than in the power itself." (Translations, unless otherwise indicated, are of the author).

[2] Harry V. Jaffa, "Leo Strauss: 1899-1973," (Eulogy delivered at Bridges Chapel, Claremont, California, November 3, 1973), The Conditions of Freedom (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), p. 6.

[3] A brief bibliography of Thomas Aquinas might be useful: Josef Pieper, Guide to Thomas Aquinas (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986); Peter Kreeft, A Summa of the Summa (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990); James A. Weisheipl, Friar Thomas D'Aquino (Washington, D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1983); Brian Davies, The Thought of Thomas Aquinas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); G. K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday Image, 1956); Jean-Pierre Torrell, St. Thomas Aquinas, Translated by Robert Royal (Washington, D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996); Charles N. R. McCoy, "St. Thomas and Political Science," On the Intelligibility of Political Philosophy: Essays of Charles N. R. McCoy (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1989), pp. 24-38; Ernest Fortin, "St. Thomas Aquinas," History of Political Philosophy, Edited by Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey (Third Edition; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp. 248-75; James V. Schall, "Political Philosophy: Remarks on Its Relation to Metaphysics and Theology," Angelicum, Rome, LXX (1993), 487-503.

[4] "Law is a certain ordination of reason for the common good from the legitimate authority and promulgated."

[5] See James V. Schall, "Friendship in Aristotle," The Classical Bulletin, 65 (#3-4, 1989), 63-68.

[6] This point is argued further in my Reason, Revelation, and the Foundations of Political Philosophy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987) and At the Limits of Political Philosophy: From "Brilliant Errors" to Things of Uncommon Importance (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996).

[7] See James V. Schall, "The Death of Plato," The American Scholar, 65 (Summer, 1996), 401-15; At the Limits of Political Philosophy, ibid., Chapter 6, "Dwellers in an Unfortified City: Death and Political Philosophy," pp. 103-22, and Chapter 7, "The Death of Christ and the Death of Socrates," pp. 123-44.

[8] "It is not fitting that we think that some politics or prudence be the highest science, that is, the highest among the sciences. This could not be the case unless man were the best of those things that are in the world. Of the sciences, one is better and honorable than an other from the fact that it is a science about better and more noble things.... It is however false that man is the best of those things that are in the world: therefore neither politics nor prudence, which are about human things, are the best of the sciences." Thomas Aquinas, In Decem Libros Ethicorum Aristotelis ad Nicomachum Expositio (Italy: Marietti, 1964), L. VI, l. vi, #1186, pp. 325-26.

[9] "For when Thales left his house in order to consider the stars, he fell into a ditch; bewailing on seeing this, a certain old woman said to him, "You indeed, O Thales, since those things before your very feed you cannot see, what things in heaven do you think to know?" Anaxagoras, however, when he was rich and noble, left his paternal goods and dedicated himself to the speculation of natural things, not caring about political things, hence was reprehended as negligent, and said to him, "do you have no care of your fatherland?" He answered, "My fatherland is of great concern to me, I contemplate the heavens." Ibid., #1192, p. 326. The philosopher's true father land, in other words, is not his native land but the cosmos. We have already here intimations of the Stoic idea of the brotherhood of all man and of Augustine's City of God.

[10] "Since happiness is an operation according to virtue, it reasonably follows, that it is the operation following the very best virtue. Happiness is the best among all human goods, since it is the end of all. And since the better operation is of the better potency, it follows that the very highest operation in man is the operation of this power, which is the highest in man. And this, according to the truth of reality is the intellect." Ibid., #2080, L. X, l., x, p. 542.

[11] "Among all the operations of virtue, the most delightful is the contemplation of wisdom, as is manifest to and granted by all." Ibid., #2090, L. X, l. x, p. 543.

[12] Ibid., #2092-93, pp. 543-44.

[13] "The contemplation of the truth is an interior operation not proceeding to the exterior. And this the more someone is able to exist alone in speculating the truth, the more he will be perfect in wisdom. Because as such a one knows more things, the less he needs to be instructed and helped by others....

"We do not imply that society does not help contemplation, since as we said in the Eight Book, two persons simultaneously living together are better able to think and act. And therefore, he (Aristotle) adds, that it is better to be a wise man who has cooperators in the consideration of the truth, since sometimes one sees what it does not occur to the other, even though he be wiser....

"... For nothing accrues to a man from the contemplation of the truth except the speculation of truth itself. But from exterior operations, man always acquires something exterior to himself, for example, honor or benefit from others, which the wise man does not acquire from his contemplation, except accidentally, namely insofar as he teaches the contemplated truth to others, which teaching is an external act." Ibid., #2095-97, p. 544.

[14] "It is clear in political actions that there is not leisure in them; but beyond this very civil conversation, man wishes to acquire something else, for instance, power and honors or because in them is not found the ultimate end.... It is more fitting that someone wishes to acquire happiness by civil interchange for himself or someone else, so that the sort of happiness that one wishes to acquire by means of political life may be other than the political life itself. Thus, through the political life we seek that other life existing from it. This is speculative happiness, to which the whole of political life seems to be ordered." Ibid., #2101, p. 546.

[15] Ernest L. Fortin, "St. Thomas Aquinas," History of Political Philosophy, Edited by Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey (Third Edition; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 271.

[16] "Man should incline to immortality in so far as he can, and according to his whole capacity to live according to his intellect, which is the highest of those things which are in man, who indeed is immortal and divine. Although this highest element is small in size because it is incorporeal and most simple, and consequently lacks magnitude, nevertheless it exceeds very much, by the quantity of its power and preciousness, all those things which are in man." Aquinas, ibid., L. X., l. xi, #2107, pp. 546-47.

[17] Charles N. R. McCoy, "St. Thomas and Political Science," On the Intelligibility of Political Philosophy: Essays of Charles N. R. McCoy, Edited by James V. Schall and John J. Schrems (Washington, D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1989), p. 38.

[18] "If some power is the highest good, it follows that it should be a most perfect power. Human power, however, is most imperfect. For it is rooted in the wills and opinions of men, in which there is the maximum inconstancy. And so much the more is power esteemed, so much the more does it depend on the many. This dependency, however, also pertains to its weakness, since what depends on the many can be destroyed in a multiplicity of ways. Therefore, the highest good of men is not to be found in worldly power."

[19] Leo Strauss, The City and Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), p. 1.

[20] See James V. Schall, "Dwellers in an Unfortified City: Death and Political Philosophy," Gregorianum, 71 (#1, 1990), 115-39.

[21] It might be noted that the Blessed Mother in her response to the Angel at the Annunciation designates herself as "handmaiden" (Luke, 1:38).

[22] Strauss, The City and Man, ibid., p. 3.

[23] See Leo Strauss, "The Mutual Influence of Theology and Philosophy," The Independent Journal of Philosophy, 3 (1979), 111-18. See also James V. Schall, "A Latitude for Statesmanship? Strauss on St. Thomas," The Review of Politics, 53 (Winter, 1991), 126-47; "Reason, Revelation, and Politics: Catholic Reflections on Strauss," Gregorianum, 62 (1981), #2, pp. 349-66; #3, pp. 467-98..

[24] Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), p. 164.

[25] See Etienne Gilson, "What Is Christian Philosophy?" A Gilson Reader, Edited by Anton C. Pegis (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday Image, 1957), pp. 127-92; Josef Pieper, A Guide to Thomas Aquinas, Translated by Richard and Clara Winston (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991), pp. 147-60. These essays should be read in conjunction with Leo Strauss' famous essay "What Is Political Philosophy?" in What Is Political Philosophy? and Other Studies (Glencoe, IL.: The Free Press, 1959), pp. 9-55. See also James V. Schall, "What Is Medieval Political Philosophy?" Faith & Reason, XVI (Spring, 1990), 53-62.

[26] Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (Chicago: Regnery-Gateway, 1968), p. 21.

[27] See Etienne Gilson, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (New York: Scribner's, 1938); Josef Pieper, Scholasticism: Personalities and Problems in Medieval Philosophy (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964); Maurice de Wulf, Philosophy and Civilization in the Middle Ages (New York: Dover, 1953); Christopher Dawson, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday Image, 1991); Frederick D. Wilhelmsen, Christianity and Political Philosophy (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980); James V. Schall, Reason, Revelation, and the Foundations of Political Philosophy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987).

[28] See Jacques Maritain, "Relation of Philosophy to Theology," Thomism and Modern Thought, Edited by Harry R. Klocker (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1962), pp. 305-06. See also Ralph McInerny, Thomism in an Age of Renewal (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966); John F. Wippel, Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1984); Ernest L. Fortin, "St. Thomas Aquinas," in Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, Editors, History of Political Philosophy (Third Edition; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp. 248-75; One Hundred Years of Thomism, Edited by Victor B. Brezik, (Houston: Center for Thomistic Studies, 1981).

[29] Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing (Westport, CT.: Greenwood, 1973), p. 17.

[30] See Ralph McInerny, "Faith and Theology," St. Thomas Aquinas (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982), pp. 145-62.

[31] Josef Pieper, "The Purpose of Politics," Josef Pieper -- an Anthology (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), p. 121.

[32] See Charles N. R. McCoy, "The Marxist Revolutionary Idea: Philosophy Passes into Practice," The Structure of Political Thought (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963), pp. 291-310. See also Charles N. R. McCoy, "The Historical Position of Man Himself," On the Intelligibility of Political Philosophy: Essays of Charles N. R. McCoy, Edited by James V. Schall and John J. Schrems

(Washington: The Catholic University of American Press, 1989), pp. 86-99.

[33] See also Charles N. R. McCoy, "On the Revival of Political Philosophy," Intelligibility, ibid., pp. 131-49; Henry Veatch, Aristotle: A Contemporary Appreciation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974), pp. 3-20.

[34] See Andrew N. Woznicki, Karol Wojtyla's Existential Personalism (New Britain, CT.: Mariel, 1980); Karol Wojtyla, Toward a Philosophy of Praxis, Edited by Alfred Bloch and George T. Czuczka (New York: Crossroads, 1981). See also George Weigel, The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism (Washington: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1992).

[35] John Paul II, "Perennial Philosophy of St. Thomas," The Whole Truth about Man: John Paul II to University Students and Faculties, Edited by James V. Schall (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1981), p. 222.

[36] See James V. Schall, "On the Relation between Political Philosophy and Science," Gregorianum, 69 (#2, 1988), 205-23; "Truth and the Open Society," in Order, Freedom, and the Polity: Critical Essays on the Open Society, Edited by George W. Carey (Lanham, MD.: University Press of America, 1986), pp. 71-90.

[37] Harry Jaffa, "Leo Strauss, 1889-1973." The Conditions of Freedom: Essays in Political Philosophy (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), p. 6.

[38] See Ralph McInerny, "Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle," St. Thomas Aquinas, ibid., pp. 30-74; Josef Pieper, A Guide to Thomas Aquinas (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991), pp. 43-62; Etienne Gilson, "Greek Philosophy and Christianity," A Gilson Reader (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday Image, 1957), pp. 170-77.

[39] Pieper, Guide, ibid., p. 54.

[40] Ibid., pp. 54-58.

[41] William P. Baumgarth and Richard J. Regan, S. J., "Introduction," Saint Thomas Aquinas: On Law, Morality, and Politics (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988), p. xiv. See also Ernest L. Fortin, Political Idealism and Christianity in the Thought of St. Augustine (Villanova, PA.: Villanova University Press, 1972).

[42] See James V. Schall, "The Best Form of Government," The Review of Politics, 40 (January, 1978), 97-123.

[43] See James V. Schall, "St. Augustine and Christian Political Theory," The Politics of Heaven and Hell: Christian Themes from Classical, Medieval, and Modern Political Philosophy (Lanham, MD.: University Press of America, 1984), pp. 39-66. See also Charles N. R. McCoy, "St. Augustine," in History of Political Philosophy, Edited by Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey (Chicago: Rand-McNally, 1963), pp. 151-59.

[44] On St. Thomas, see James A. Weisheipl, Friar Thomas D'Aquino: His Life, Thought, & Works (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1983); G. K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), [G. K. Chesterton: Collected Works, Volume III]; Josef Pieper, The Silence of St. Thomas (Chicago: Gateway, 1957); Charles N. R. McCoy, "St. Thomas and Political Science," Intelligibility, ibid., pp. 24-38; Etienne Gilson, The Spirit of Thomism (New York: Kennedy, 1964).

[45] See McCoy, "Aristotle's Political Science and the Real World," Structure, ibid., pp. 29-61.

[46] See James V. Schall, Redeeming the Time (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1968), pp. 216-24; "Aristotle on Friendship," The Classical Bulletin, 65 (3 & 4, 1989), 83-88.

[47] See James V. Schall, "Truth, Liberty, and Law," Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs, Annual, 1989, pp. 59-74.

[48] See Stanley L. Jaki, The Road to Science and the Ways of God (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978); Chance or Reality (Lanham, MD.: University Press of America, 1986).

[49] See J. M. Bochenski, "Law," Philosophy -- an Introduction (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1972), pp. 9-19.

[50] See McCoy, "Natural Law, Law of Nations, and Civil Law," Structure, ibid., pp. 88-98; Yves Simon, The Tradition of Natural Law: A Philosopher's Reflections, Edited by Vukan Kuic (New York: Fordham University Press, 1965); Heinrich Rommen.The Natural Law (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1947).

[51] See James V. Schall, "Human Rights as an Ideological Project," The American Journal of Jurisprudence, 32 (1987), 47-61.

[52] See Raymond Dennehy, "The Ontological Basis of Human Rights," The Thomist, 42 (July, 1978), 434-63.

[53] See James V. Schall, "The Reality of Society according to St. Thomas," The Politics of Heaven and Hell, ibid., pp. 235-52. See also, San Tommaso d'Aquino: Doctor Humanitatis (Atti del IX Congresso Tomistico Internazionale) (Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1991).

[54] A number of recent studies on natural law are surprisingly relevant and interesting in regard to St. Thomas, see especially Henry Veatch, Human Rights: Fact or Fancy? (Baton Rouge" Louisiana State University Press, 1985); Russell Hittinger, A Critique of New Natural Law Theory (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1987); John Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Right (New York: Oxford, 1980).

[55] Pieper, "The Possible Future of Philosophy," Josef Pieper -- an Anthology, ibid., p. 178.

[56] Ibid., p. 179.

[57] Ibid., p. 179.

[58] See Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture (New York: Mentor, 1952); In tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity (Chicago: Franciscan Herald, 1973); James V. Schall, Far Too Easily Pleased: A Theology of Plat, Contemplation, and Festivity (Los Angeles: Benziger- Macmillan, 1976).

[59] "The end of the human law is the temporal tranquillity of the polity, to which end the law accomplishes its purpose by prohibiting exterior acts which can perturb the peaceful status of the city. The end of the divine law, however, is to lead men to the end of eternal happiness; which end indeed is inhibited by every sort of sin, and not only by exterior acts, but also by interior acts. And thus that which suffices to prohibit sin and inflict punishment, is not sufficient for the perfection of the divine law; but it is necessary that the law make man totally fit to participate in eternal happiness."

[60] See Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing (Westport, CT.: Greenwood, 1952), pp. 7-21; Ralph Lerner and Mushin Mahdi, "Introduction," Medieval Political Philosophy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1961), pp. 1-20.

[61] See Josef Pieper, Scholasticism (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), pp. 136-62.

[62] See Etienne Gilson, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (New York: Scribner's 1938); Leo Strauss, "How to Begin to Study Medieval Philosophy," The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism, Edited by Thomas L. Pangle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), pp. 207-26; Ralph McInerny, St. Thomas Aquinas (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1977); James V. Schall, Reason, Revelation, and the Foundations of Political Philosophy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987).

[63] See Yves Simon, A General Theory of Authority (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1980); Herbert Deane, The Political and Social Ideas of St. Augustine (New York: Columbia University Press, 1956).

[64] See James V. Schall, "Christian Guardians," The Politics of Heaven and Hell: Christian Themes from Classical, Medieval, and Modern Political Philosophy (Lanham, MD.: University Press of America, 1984), pp. 67-82.

[65] See Leo Strauss, "The Mutual Influence of Theology and Philosophy," in Faith and Political Philosophy: The Correspondence between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, 1934-1964, Edited by Peter Emberley and Barry Cooper (University Park, PA.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993), pp. 217-34.

[66] Leo Strauss alludes to this position in his Thoughts on Machiavelli (Glencoe, IL.: The Free Press, 1958), pp. 86, 176, 281.

[67] See Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (Chicago: Regnery, 1968).

[68] See E. F. Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed (New York: Harper Colophon, 1977), p. 38.

[69] See Paul Johnson, The Intellectuals (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988); E. Michael Jones, Degenerate Moderns (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993); James V. Schall, "The Problem of Intellectual Infidelity," Does Catholicism Still Exist? (Staten Island, N. Y.: Alba House, 1994), pp. 25-42.

[70] See James V. Schall, "The Mystery of the 'Mystery of Israel'," Jacques Maritain and the Jews, Edited by Robert Royal (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), pp. 51-71.

[71] Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, iii.

[72] Jacques Maritain, Notebooks (Albany, N. Y.: Magi Books, 1984), p. 280.

[73] David Walsh, "The Crisis of the Modern World: Nietzxche and Nihilism," World & I, ii (May, 1987), 564.

[74] See Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (Chicago: Regnery, 1968), pp. 83-84.

[75] See Henry Veatch, Human Rights: Fact or Fancy? (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985); James V. Schall, "Human Rights as an Ideological Project," The American Journal of Jurisprudence, 32 (1987), 47-61; "On Being Dissatisfied with Compromises: Natural Law and Human Rights," Loyola Law Review (New Orleans), XXXVIII (#2, 1992), 289-309.

[76] Leo Strauss, The City and Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), p. 7.

[77] The manner in which this relationsip works itself out is best traced in Charles N. R. McCly, The Structure of Political Thought (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963).

[78] Ibid., pp. 31-36.

[79] Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "How the Cult of Novelty Wrecked the 20th Century," American Arts Quarterly, 10 (Spring, 1993), 18-19.

[80] See Peter Shaw, "The Rise and Fall of Deconstruction," Commentary, 97 (December, 1991), 50-53.

[81]11 Gertrude Himmelfarb, "Telling It As You Like It: Post-Modernist History and the Flight from Fact," Times Literary Supplement, London, October 16, 1992, p. 12.

[82] Milan Kundera, Immortality, Grove/Weidenfeld, in The Wall Street Journal, July, 16, 1991.

[83] Josef Pieper, The Silence of St. Thomas (Chicago: Regnery, 1957), p. 38. See also, James V. Schall, "The Law of Superabundance" (Maritain), Gregorianum, Rome, 73 (#3, 1991), 515-42.

[84] Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli (Chicago: Glencoe, IL.: The free Press, 1958), pp. 85, 231-33.

[85] Richard H. Kennington, "Theories of Secularization and Their Relation to Modern Legitimacy," Lecture, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D. C., April 22, 1993, pp. 13-14.

[86] Himmelfarb, ibid., p. 15.

[87] Pieper, ibid., p. 110.

[88] Jacques Maritain, Approaches to God (New York: Collier, 1962), p. 24.

[89] Pieper, ibid., p. 63.

[90] Conversations with Eric Voegelin, Edited by R. Eric O'Connor (Montreal: Thomas More Institute Papers, 1980), p. 9.