Alliances and inside dope are two of the ways people derive power from friendships, which is why tyrannies are sometimes so hostile to them. Private affiliations of all kinds are a countervailing force against the great weight of government, but Aristotle reminds us that friendship also maintains the state. Friendships, after all, entail mutual regard, respect for others, a certain amount of agreeableness, and a willingness to rise above the ties of kinship in order to knit society into a web of trust and reciprocation—qualities more likely, in a state, to produce Denmark than Iraq.
The Wilson Quarterly: America: Land of Loners? by Daniel Akst