More About Hudson County Politics

Hudson County Fact:
When several villages are united in a single complete community, large enough to be nearly or quite self-sufficing, the state comes into existence, originating in the bare needs of life, and continuing in existence for the sake of a good life. And therefore, if the earlier forms of society are natural, so is the state, for it is the end of them, and the nature of a thing is its end. For what each thing is when fully developed, we call its nature, whether we are speaking of a man, a horse, or a family. Besides, the final cause and end of a thing is the best, and to be self-sufficing is the end and the best.

Hence it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal. And he who by nature and not by mere accident is without a state, is either a bad man or above humanity; he is like the

"Tribeless, lawless, hearthless one, "
whom Homer denounces- the natural outcast is forthwith a lover of war; he may be compared to an isolated piece at draughts.

Aristotle: The Polis, from Politics
Paul Byrne described how the human gears are still in place that made up the Janiszewski Machine . Even Paul Byrne missed the point. The reality is like one of those trick pictures for children where at first glance you perhaps see a sylvan scene. But, as your gaze wanders over the image and the perspective shifts, the blazing eyes of a snarling wolf suddenly stare out at you.

What persists in Hudson County isn't the players. They come and go. How you play the game is what does not change.

The Greek polis was an urban center surrounded by farms that produced through slave labor. The owners of the farms did not live scattered throughout the countryside. They lived in the city. Because of this, Aristotle declared the polis to be the natural human environment. It's in this sense that man is a political animal.

The successful settlement on the New Jersey side of the Hudson was not independent family farms. The Indians massacred the first pioneers. The survivors lived in homes built inside of a fort. (The outline of the wall remains in Jersey City on Bergen Avenue, just south of Journal Square.) African slaves worked the farms.

To the horizon, north, west, and south, the residents of Old Bergen saw a continent's wealth. But, this had to be taken from the Native Americans. The colonists competed with each other. At the same time, they needed the help of fellow settlers. Too far away to be relied on were powers whose assistance was essential. But, outside interference also had to be avoided.

And these powers shifted like the wind. Corporate representatives might be recalled. The English seized power from the Dutch. The Dutch grabbed it back only to be ousted once and for all.

Here in a North American polis was set in motion a patient, conniving, jostling method of grabbing public property. Your enemies can disappear at any time. The same is true of your friends. Surviving, outlasting is the way to prevail.

This political dense forest still is the natural environment of Hudson County. Just as the imprint of the original fort is on today's street, the habits of the first settlers continue to mold the behavior of succeeding generations.