Governance is a challenging issue throughout the world. This is mainly because people come from different cultures. Moreover, the varying cultures bestow different behaviors in them. Therefore, they have different perspectives about politics. Political philosophy explores links between societies and individuals. It tries to ensure that everyone is satisfied through good governance in society.
However, achieving good governance is the most difficult challenge in life. This is because it encompasses numerous variables. Society needs are many and diverse; it therefore requires critical thinking and deliberations in order to succeed. This paper will explore various political theories, their similarities and differences. It will also pick on the best political philosophy.
Over the years, different political theories have been proposed. These include socialism, liberalism, conservatism and anarchism, among others. These theories try to define relationship between societies and individuals. In this sense, the theories consider freedom, its limits, speech and action. Political theories consider situations when governments can act against their citizens and vice versa.
In essence, it encompasses people’s lives and governance. In this regard, several philosophers and theorists have come up with varying political theories aimed at achieving good governance. These are Plato, Marx, Hobbes and Locke, among others.
Their theories have a number of similarities although they diverge in many areas. Evidently, they chose these theories with a view to attaining a perfect society and governance. However, it is important to note that these thoughts have drawn a number of criticisms. This is attributed to diversity and individual needs, which varies.
Plato was a Greek philosopher who is credited with western philosophy. He is also credited with science in western world. Plato lived between 428 and 358 BC. His works were prominent in his period. They included philosophies in recurrent themes, metaphysics, among others. His political theory was based on meritocracy.
Meritocracy was based on the fact that an individual could not provide alone, he/she had to incorporate help of others. In this sense, Plato believed that good governance could only be achieved through metocracy. Moreover, he campaigned for paternalistic theory. According to Plato, a ruler should govern people and this ruler should be the smartest of all. He believed that two steps could be utilized to find this person (ruler).
The first step involves universal education, where everyone is subjected to some form of education, which evens out his or her natural advantages. After which, tests can be given to determine the smartest. Plato also believed that smart people could become smarter through hard study and intelligence. He therefore proposed that this person should become ruler or governor of society.
The governor is to dictate society values, and rule on among other issues right/wrong and right to choose good parents. In addition, the governor should not be allowed to own property, marry or farm. Moreover, he believed that an individual could rule irrespective of race or sex.
Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher. He lived between 1588 and 1679. He was popular for political philosophy, which is credited for western philosophy in politics. He believed in social contract theory, which emphasized the need for people to give up their rights and allow for governments. In essence, he believed in absolute sovereignty.
He also believed in some form of liberalism. According to him, human nature caused him/her to be selfish. Therefore, they needed a government that could protect them from others. He therefore believed in government for protection of people. However, he believed in a democratic government that would ensure good governance.
Hobbes believed that society would give up virtually everything to move out of state of nature. Moreover, he believed that all governments are good. Hobbes also believed that good laws help people while bad laws hurt them.
He also thought that a world without government would be detrimental to society as everyone would then do as he or she chooses. In essence, he believed that human nature could not allow them to rule themselves due to selfishness. Therefore, he chose government as the best option since it created order in society.
John Locke was an English Philosopher. He lived between 1632 and 1704. He was well known for liberalism thoughts, which gave him the famous name, father of Liberalism. Like Hobbes, Locke also had socialist contract views albeit with some modifications. He believed in human nature and considered them selfish. However, his belief on selfish nature of man was not absolute.
This is because of his liberal thinking which believed in a rational man. According to Locke, people had the capability of living without government. He thought that rational people had ethical principles that could enable them to govern themselves. He also believed that ethical principles could tell people what to do. He also diverged from Hobbes thoughts on social contract by saying that agreements had limits.
In essence, citizens would not give up everything; there are things they hold to whatever happens. He therefore emphasized that life without a government meant a state of nature.
He also believed that citizens and government were like two sides with demand. In that regard, the government could do things against citizens if their demands were not met. Similarly, citizens could also act against government to demand their needs. Even though Plato believed in best government, Locke did not.
Karl Marx was a German philosopher. He lived between 1818 and 1883. He was also an economist, historian, sociologist and journalist. He is credited for socialist revolution and had a significant role in social science. Some of his notable works were in communist manifesto and capital. His theories were known collectively as Marxism. In this regard, he held that societies would only progress through conflict of class struggle.
He was strongly opposed to capitalism. Marx also believed that socioeconomic systems were prone to clashes than socialism. According to him, self-destruction of capitalism was inevitable and people would come back to socialism. He criticized hypothetical philosophy as well as evaluating ideology and metaphysics.
He believed in human nature but stressed that it could be transformed through history and interaction with others and material objects. He believed that capitalism was based on two principles namely laws of supply and demand as well as survival for the fittest. He categorized social classes in capitalism. According to him, social class was hinged on the relationship between class and their means of production.
In this sense, proletariat sold labor power for salaries and therefore did not own means of production. He also pointed out that Bourgeoisie owned the means of production and therefore exploited proletariat. Moreover, small proprietors were known as Peti Bourgeoisie.
Those who had no stake in economic systems were considered as Lumpenproletariat. Landlords were considered important as opposed to peasants. He therefore identified stages of development namely, primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism and communism.
These theories have a number of similarities. These include belief in human nature as is seen with Hobbes, Locke and Marx. In this sense, the three theorists believe in human nature. It is also important to note that these group of theorists also believed in the fact that people are selfish. Another point of convergence in these philosophical thoughts was on government.
They all concurred that some form of government was necessary irrespective of the method. It can then be said that they had confidence in a society, which is governed albeit with different structures of governance. Another element of concurrence in these theories is on protection of people and property. Every form of governance proposed by the theorists was aimed at protecting people and their property.
Political philosophy theories have differences based on their structures and theorists. For instance, as much as the three theorists Hobbes, Locke and Marx believed in human nature, they differed on its influence. While Hobbes believed in human nature, he also insisted that they are selfish and this behavior could not allow them to govern each other.
On the other hand, Locke believes that as much as human are selfish, they also posses rational aspects, which enables them to note wrong things. Plato on the other hand did not believe in human nature, instead, he emphasized on metocracy. Moreover, even though Marx believed in human nature, he stressed more on the fact that they could be transformed through interaction with material objects.
These political theories also differed on the form of government. For instance, Marx gave stages of development in a society which transverses from primitive communism, through capitalism to communism.
On the other hand, Plato believed on a ruler or governor with all powers to dictate social values, right/wrong, among others. Contrariwise, Hobbes believed in an absolute sovereign government, which dictates and protects its citizens. This was also slightly different from Locke’s version; he believed that government had a trivial role to play in society.
It is also quite important to note that Plato considered governance to be based on intelligence. In fact, he believed that only the smartest could govern society. This thought is different from that of Hobbes who thought that man is selfish and therefore cannot manage himself, he insisted on a government for all irrespective of their thoughts. He believed that people would give up everything for governance.
On the contrary, Locke believed in a rational man, even though he could be selfish and therefore gave chance to a society without government. Marx on the other hand thought of transforming human nature and society that relates to means of production. In the process, he came up with various stages of development that defines system of government.
Plato believed in best government, which could be attained through universal education and tests, on the other hand, Hobbs and Locke did not. While Hobbs believed that all governments were good, Locke did not, instead he thought of it as an optional need.
However, Marx believed in classes defined by economic system. From all the theories above, it is very clear that Plato’s political philosophy emphasized heavily on dictatorial system in which one man decides everything. The system looks perfect and unrealistic since people give up too much rights and responsibility to governor.
From the given theories, it can be noted that they all have advantages and disadvantages. For instance, Plato’s theory promises a lot in terms of efficiency and perfection although this is unrealistic. Hobbes on the other hand gives a political system in which people are not trusted. Surprisingly, they are given opportunity to lead the government. This is quite difficult to understand as the same people who are selfish lead government.
Locke’s theory on the other hand gives chance to democracy and rationale of men. However, he also puts too much faith in people to be able to govern themselves. Marx on the other hand describes a political system through class, which is defined by economic systems. Therefore, I would choose Marx’s theory since it defines most contemporary governing systems and rewards hard work although it has disadvantages too.
Reasons for Choice
People come from diverse backgrounds. Just like the theorists, they have different philosophical thoughts on governance. Some people love aristocracy, where everyone does whatever they want. Others love variously capitalism, socialism and feudalism, among others. This discredits Plato’s system of governance, which expects people to have a single thought, which is forced on everyone by a dictator.
Moreover, it discredits Hobbs’ theory, which thinks that people can give up everything for a state of nature. This is untrue from experience since people tend to cling to some values, which are valuable to them. Moreover, not all governments are good, some commit atrocities on their citizens. Locke’s theory is also less attractive since it gives too much power to people in the name of ethical principles.
Therefore, it is Marx theory that realizes diversity and upholds it in relation to means of production. In this sense, it is obvious that we cannot have a perfect world. Again, we cannot have a self-governing society because we need protection against inversion. Therefore, the best political philosophy is Marxism.
The world is diverse with different cultures. Similarly, people have varying thoughts, which defines how they relate to environment. Society therefore requires a form of government that realizes these differences and upholds them for success. Otherwise, clashes can be realized in most societies with repressions and its repercussions.
Plato’s theory works on metocracy model, which emphasizes dictatorship by the smartest of all people. This is quite unrealistic since people have different skills and cannot accept dictatorship. Hobbes theory on the other hand believes that all governments are good and must be in place to create order. This is hypothetical since there are governments that perpetuate atrocities.
Locke shares Hobbs’ sentiments although he believes that people are rational. This is true although it must be considered that being rational is not an obligation and therefore people can do things against their principles for selfish reasons too.
Clearly, the only possible system is Marx, which accommodates various classes of people with regards to their means of production. This theory rewards those who work hard and tries to balance the chain of command. It should be noted that it also has its disadvantages, which include exploitation of the poor, among others.