Pericles, a key political figure of 5th century Athens states, “Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves.” The Athenians had no desire to follow what appeared as mediocre government, the Athenians pushed for the best form they could find. Arete, for Athens, meant every person had a voice in politics. Politics embraces the reason of the mind as well as the emotion of the heart. Therefore, the very essence of a good human being would lie in being a politically active person. While some, like Plato in his The Republic, thought it weak to give government into the hands of the common people, Pericles countered this argument with a compelling argument of greatness.
The only difference between a monarchy and an aristocracy is that in the first case virtue is centered in one person. But since the ideal conditions do not exist for an ideal state, one should think of the best attainable only. For example: extreme wealth makes one arrogant and incapable of buying and extreme poverty makes one slavish and incapable of commanding. According to Aristotle that the state ids the best where the middle class is strong. Aristotle calls such a state by the name of polity.
He justifies the need for democracy, aristocracy and monarchy depending on location. The three philosophers use their judgment and prior knowledge on each other’s work to validate an ideal society, especially for the uprising continent of America. Governments are an established institution in every society. Though there are multiple types of governments, their purpose is fundamental to determining the influence on a civilization. Thomas Paine opposes the ideology of government, stating that, “Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil,” (Paine 3).
In Plato’s Republic, Socrates comes to the conclusion that we need to have a strong just society that is in the right order. In Books IV, V, and VI, Socrates explains that every society needs to be built on justice, everyone needs to have an occupation, and what a male and female household should look like. These are my prerequisites to what I consider essential to create a just society. Because without these qualities in an established society, you can hurt an entire civilization. And to Socrates argument, with an ideal king will come forms of co-operated citizens of a city.
The majority becomes overtly more powerful and the minority’s dissenting opinion holds little ground. Within this type of rule, decrees are mandated by popular assembly, and judgement of guilt is decided by the majority, both of which are devoid of legislation and subject citizens to extreme partiality. Aristotle contends, that without laws, the tyranny of the majority acts as a perversion of rule. He articulates that in a democracy that allows the majority to hold absolute power, the faculties of government are overtaken and devoid of law which creates a state without a just form of
A. S. Ferguson (1922) suggests that the parable is indicative of how leaders “without a strong philosophical mind-set” manipulate the human population for their advantage. Thus, Plato bypasses Ferguson’s argument when he advocates the “philosopher-king” – the Aristocratic ruler. Surely, a “lawless” tyrant (Plato, 380 BCE) such as Gyges would be whiling to use propaganda in order to regulate the knowledge of a population. Famously, scientia potentia est -“knowledge is power” (Hobbes, 1651) – hence, by restricting the knowledge of a population one is eroding their power and protecting oneself (stated above). Rather ironically, in his description of “The Republic”, Plato describes the “old quarrel between philosophy and poetry”, leading to a total ban on the arts
Unfortunately, Thoreau delves too deep into this mindset and states that “a government is best which governs not at all”. Fortunately for all the citizens in our nation, we do not have an aloof government; if a government governs ‘not at all’ it ceases to be a government, and for all intents and purposes becomes an economic entity. Without the governance of political body, a society cannot progress; without prisons, without a military, and without national infrastructure, a nation cannot survive in the constantly changing international scene. Indeed, Thoreau condemns the United States for its position towards slavery several times throughout the essay; however, ironically, it is the United States government that ends this institution
1 INTRODUCTION Power and authority are the most important aspects of politics as such way of thinking comes a long way from the earliest thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle to mention few. They are the fundamental features of state in politics, focusing on who should have the power and authority over the people and who should rule them. During the time prior and after the birth of states, political authority has always been a major concern with regards to who should rule and how and who shouldn’t. Therefore this issues need to be addressed in a way that will at the end benefit the society. Plato is the thinker or theorist who came with addressing who should rule in a political environment in what Plato outlined that only Philosophers should rule.
He believed that justice was decided based on the interests of those with power. Rulers and governments would only make rules and laws that would benefit them and there was no justice except in favour of power. Again, the strong had complete control over what was considered right and wrong. Those in power would only introduce laws that would further their own agendas and those who dared to violate those laws were harshly punished in the name of justice. Thrasymachus clashed with Socrates in terms of ideology about justice.
The fact that one has the right to say and believe is the foundation for democracy to function. If no one dared to say their opinions, then it had become a dictatorship where only one opinion on how society and the country should work had been the “right”. If people dared to express their opinions, they will help improving the society one lives. Freedom of speech gives one the responsibility to consider what fits into different contexts, and it will make us better persons and people. Simply, people will feel safe in the society they live in.