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Plato, the philosopher, was the first to work on the subject of idealism. Idealism deals with what constitutes a perfect human being, viewing him as one who contains both spiritual and material characteristics. Of the two, spiritual is considered the most important human aspect because it focuses on the mind and character but not the physical human body.
On the other hand, realism is thought to have risen towards the end of 19th century. It is often applied in different areas such as arts, international relations, law, among others.
This paper views realism as used in the last two areas, international relations and law. It is more of a thinking that focuses on the security of a country. It is naturally imaginary implying that it is made by man, and thus contains errors because man is well known in creating mistakes.
Realism theories range from classical, liberal, legal, to mention a few. The two, idealism and realism operate under certain principles. The following paragraphs deal with the basic principles of each.
Basic principles of idealism
A major principle in this philosophy holds that there is a mind powerful than that of human beings. It is often called the principle of universal mind. It is believed that there is a special man, greater than human beings, whose ability of thinking is better than that of all men.
The principle holds that this special person is invisible but has the power to influence the minds of human beings and that is why the principle views this special person as God, who creates people, gives them life and their present minds that help them think. The other principle views people as being holy. It says that the strength of the minds of people is greater by far compared to other animals. Basing on this, it constitutes the most important aspect of life, making people special than all other animals.
This philosophy is also built on the principle of the advantage of information and standards. It claims that people have more advantages compared to animals. They have a superior knowledge of things than animals. This is thought as a gift from God whom they believe exists and gives them the desires of their hearts including their desire of knowledge.
The other idealism principle says that real things originate from the mind and not from the common senses of people. It holds that the ability of people to think is what enables them make real things. Real things do not come by seeing, hearing, feeling, but through thinking.
Basic principles of realism
“Realism assumes that interest defined as power is an objective category which is universally valid but not with a meaning that is fixed once and for all. Power is the control of man over man “(Hans 7). One of these principles says that people are ruled by laws that are made by other people but not God.
This philosophy includes the principle that people should be respected in terms of their powers or academic knowledge. Therefore, the more educated or the more powerful a person is, in politics, the more respected he/she becomes.
Realism considers the lessons learned from politics enabling it to know what to and not to do in order for a nation to succeed politically. The principle of identity used in realism says that the laws governing a country cannot be separated from those governing the universe. The two are almost the same.
Realism depends purely on the nature of people and hence varies depending on the people. There are no realism principles which can be accepted by all people. They apply to some nations depending on their interests. According to Thompson, the common ways of thinking of people is subject to deviating from what is right to evil (Thompson 165).
This is what forms the basis of realism as determined by the people for the people. From the knowledge of the above principles and the provided hypothetical scenario, the following are the proposals of the two ministers.
The major cause of the calamity that the prime minister wants to be solved by the two other ministers is the oil in the province of Hegemonia that has been occupied by a foreign nation.
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Hegemonia oppresses the people of this province in order to move them away so that they can own the oil. Of the two ministers called to solve the problem, the defence minister applies the realism principles. This is because he believes that people have to follow laws made by other people and that is why he calling for a meeting of the U.N security council to create rules that will interfere with the trade of oil between the oppressed nation and other nations.
Because Hegemonia is powerful than the oppressed nation, it is respected more and this is why the laws made will be favouring them and not the other nation. This is a principle of realism that gives respect to powerful people.
On the other hand, the foreign minister applies the principles of idealism, based on godly reasons. She posits that friendship between the two nations can help solve the problem.
This is so because where there is friendship, there is no oppression and enmity. It will make the two, benefit by sharing the oil. It will also help stop the diseases and dangers brought to Xandu by the refugees because they will not be there because there will be no oppression to make them move to the place.
Basing on the knowledge of idealism and realism, idealism seems to be the most efficient when applied to solve a crisis. It produces a permanent solution where all benefit by sharing the resources available in a country. Should it be applied everywhere, then all countries will be at peace.
Thompson, Kenneth. “Politics among Nations.” 6th edition, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985, p. 165.
Hans, Morgenthau. ”Hans Morgenthau’s Principles of Political Realism.” New York: Word Press, 1999.