Reasons for Revolutions: Wanting To Be Equal Vs. Wanting Just More

Aristotle, Politics 1302 a

“We have already happened to discuss the reason why people are predisposed towards a revolution. People who desire equality rise up in strife when they believe that they have less even though they are allegedly equal to those they oppose. But those who want inequality or their own superiority imagine that even though they are unequal that don’t have more but merely an equal amount. (Of course, these feelings may exist both justly and unjustly. People who are in a lesser position engage in strife in order to become equal; those who are merely equal, do it to become superior.”

Τοῦ μὲν οὖν αὐτοὺς ἔχειν πως πρὸς τὴν μεταβολὴν αἰτίαν καθόλου μάλιστα θετέον περὶ ἧς ἤδη τυγχάνομεν εἰρηκότες. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἰσότητος ἐφιέμενοι στασιάζουσιν ἂν νομίζωσιν ἔλαττον ἔχειν ὄντες ἴσοι τοῖς πλεονεκτοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ τῆς ἀνισότητος καὶ τῆς ὑπεροχῆς ἂν ὑπολαμβάνωσιν ὄντες ἄνισοι μὴ πλέον ἔχειν ἀλλ᾿ ἴσον ἢ ἔλαττον (τούτων δ᾿ ἔστι2 μὲν ὀρέγεσθαι δικαίως, ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἀδίκως)· ἐλάττους 30τε γὰρ ὄντες ὅπως ἴσοι ὦσι στασιάζουσι, καὶ ἴσοι ὄντες ὅπως μείζους. πῶς μὲν οὖν ἔχοντες στασιάζουσιν, εἴρηται.

 

Plutarch, Solon 94

“The city was following the laws, but they were already expecting a revolution and longing for a different kind of government, not because they were hoping for equality, but because they would have more in a revolution and they would rule over their opposition in every way.”

ὥστε χρῆσθαι μὲν ἔτι τοῖς νόμοις τὴν πόλιν, ἤδη δὲ πράγματα νεώτερα προσδοκᾶν καὶ ποθεῖν ἅπαντας ἑτέραν κατάστασιν, οὐκ ἴσον ἐλπίζοντας, ἀλλὰ πλέον ἕξειν ἐν τῇ μεταβολῇ καὶ κρατήσειν παντάπασι τῶν διαφερομένων.

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