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Plato

HetriestoshowthatGodistheperfectbeing,thepurestandbrightest,alwaysthesame,immortalandtrue,towhom weshouldlookinordertoknowourselvesandbecomepureandvirtuous(585be).God,andnothumanbeings,isthe measureofpoliticalorder(Laws,716c). ForPlato,makingdecisionsabouttherightpoliticalorderare,alongwiththechoicebetweenpeaceandwar,themost importantchoicesonecanmakeinpolitics Firstly,althoughfreedomisforPlatoatruevalue,democracyinvolvesthedangerofexcessivefreedom,ofdoingasone likes,whichleadstoanarchy.Secondly,equality,relatedtothebeliefthateveryonehastherightandequalcapacityto rule,bringstopoliticsallkindsofpowerseekingindividuals,motivatedbypersonalgainratherthanpublicgood.

2.Aristotle Manisapoliticalanimal,Aristotleobserveshumanbeingsarecreaturesoffleshandblood,rubbingshoulderswith eachotherincitiesandcommunities. AccordingtoAristotle,itisthepossessionanduseofpracticalknowledgethatmakesitpossibletoliveagoodlife. Ethicsandpolitics,whicharethepracticalsciences,dealwithhumanbeingsasmoralagents.Ethicsisprimarilyabout theactionsofhumanbeingsasindividuals,andpoliticsisabouttheactionsofhumanbeingsincommunities,althoughit isimportanttorememberthatforAristotlethetwoarecloselylinkedandeachinfluencestheother. 3.St.ThomasAquinas Thepoliticalphilosophyof Thomas Aquinas (12251274),alongwiththebroaderphilosophicalteachingofwhichit ispart,standsatthecrossroadsbetweentheChristiangospelandthe Aristotelian political doctrine thatwas,in Aquinastime,newlydiscoveredintheWesternworld. Afterdefininglawasanordinanceofreasonforthecommongood,madebysomeonewhohascareofthecommunity, andpromulgated.(ST,III,90.4),Aquinasexplainsthattheentireuniverseisgovernedbythesupremelawgiverpar excellence:GrantedthattheworldisruledbyDivineProvidencethewholecommunityoftheuniverseisgoverned byDivineReason. FollowingthePhilosopherAquinasbelievesthatpoliticalsociety(civitas)emergesfromtheneedsandaspirationsof humannatureitself.Thusunderstood,itisnotaninventionofhumaningenuity(asinthepoliticalteachingsofmodern socialcontracttheorists)noranartificialconstructiondesignedtomakeupforhumannaturesshortcomings.Itis, rather,apromptingofnatureitselfthatsetshumansapartfromallothernaturalcreatures.Tobesure,politicalsociety isnotsimplygiven bynature.Itisrathersomethingtowhichhumanbeingsnaturallyaspireandwhichisnecessaryfor thefullperfectionoftheirexistence. 4.NiccoloMachiavelli HeformulatedhisowntheoryofeffectivegovernmentinatreatiseknownasThePrinceandhebasedhisideal PrinceonCesareBorgiaslife.Hefamouslyassertedthatgoodrulerssometimeshavetolearnnottobegood,they havetobewillingtosetasideconcernsofjustice,honesty,andkindnessinordertomaintainthestabilityofthestate. Customarily,thenameMachiavelliwasasynonymforthedevil.ThemythofthecorruptimmoralityofNiccolo Machiavelli(14691527)haslastedformanycenturies,thedescriptionMachiavellianbeingusedtodayforanyone whoisseenslylytomanipulateagivensituationtotheirownadvantagebymeansofshrewdpoliticalinsight. 5.Voltaire Hefeltthatthebourgeoisie,ortherulingclassofacapitalistsociety,wasineffective.Healsothoughtthataristocracy wascorrupt,andthatcommonerswereignorant.Hedistrusteddemocracy,andwasverycriticalaboutotherpeople's ideas. .DespiteVoltaire'spassionforclarityandreason,hefrequentlycontradictedhimself.Thushewouldmaintaininone placethatman'snaturewasasunchangeableasthatofanimalsandwouldexpresselsewherehisbeliefinprogressand thegradualhumanizationofsocietythroughtheactionofthearts,sciences,andcommerce.Inpoliticsheadvocated reformbuthadahorroroftheignoranceandpotentialfanaticismofpeopleandtheviolenceofrevolution. 6.ThomasHobbes HavinglivedthroughtheperiodofpoliticaldisintegrationculminatingintheEnglishCivilWar,hecametotheviewthat theburdensofeventhemostoppressivegovernmentarescarcesensible,inrespectofthemiseries,andhorrible

Likehisworkinzoology,Aristotlespoliticalstudiescombineobservationandtheory.

calamities,thataccompanyaCivillWarre.

Hobbesisfamousforhisearlyandelaboratedevelopmentofwhathascometobeknownassocialcontracttheory, themethodofjustifyingpoliticalprinciplesorarrangementsbyappealtotheagreementthatwouldbemadeamong suitablysituatedrational,free,andequalpersons. Ingeneral,Hobbesaimedtodemonstratethereciprocalrelationshipbetweenpoliticalobedienceandpeace.

7.BarondeMontesquieu MontesquieuwasoneofthegreatpoliticalphilosophersoftheEnlightenment.Insatiablycuriousandmordantlyfunny, heconstructedanaturalisticaccountofthevariousformsofgovernment,andofthecausesthatmadethemwhatthey wereandthatadvancedorconstrainedtheirdevelopment.Heusedthisaccounttoexplainhowgovernmentsmightbe preservedfromcorruption.Hesawdespotism,inparticular,asastandingdangerforanygovernmentnotalready despotic,andarguedthatitcouldbestbepreventedbyasysteminwhichdifferentbodiesexercisedlegislative, executive,andjudicialpower,andinwhichallthosebodieswereboundbytheruleoflaw. Montesquieubelievedthatallthingsweremadeupofrulesorlawsthatneverchanged.Hesetouttostudytheselaws scientificallywiththehopethatknowledgeofthelawsofgovernmentwouldreducetheproblemsofsocietyand improvehumanlife.AccordingtoMontesquieu,therewerethreetypesofgovernment:amonarchy(ruledbyakingor queen),arepublic(ruledbyanelectedleader),andadespotism(ruledbyadictator).Montesquieubelievedthata governmentthatwaselectedbythepeoplewasthebestformofgovernment.Hedidhoweverbelievethatthesuccess ofademocracyagovernmentinwhichthepeoplehavethepowerdependeduponmaintainingtherightbalanceof power. DespiteMontesquieusbeliefintheprinciplesofademocracy,hedidnotfeelthatallpeoplewereequal.Heapproved ofslavery.Healsothoughtthatwomenwereweakerthanmenandthattheyhadtoobeythecommandsoftheir husband.However,healsofeltthatwomendidhavetheabilitytogovern. 8.JohnLocke Lockebelievedthattheoriginalstateofnaturewashappyandcharacterizedbyreasonandtolerance.Inthatstateall peoplewereequalandindependent,andnonehadarighttoharmanother's"life,health,liberty,orpossessions. Rightsofpropertyareveryimportant,becauseeachpersonhasarighttotheproductofhisorherlabor.Lockeforecast thelabortheoryofvalue. 9.JeanJacquesRosseau RosseauwasaGenevanphilosopher,writer,andcomposerofthe18thcentury.Hispoliticalphilosophyinfluencedthe FrenchRevolutionaswellastheoveralldevelopmentofmodernpolitical,sociological,andeducationalthought.Perhaps Rousseau'smostimportantworkisTheSocialContract,whichoutlinesthebasisforalegitimatepoliticalorderwithina frameworkofclassicalrepublicanism.Rousseauclaimedthatthestateofnaturewasaprimitiveconditionwithoutlaw ormorality,whichhumanbeingsleftforthebenefitsandnecessityofcooperation.Associetydeveloped,divisionof laborandprivatepropertyrequiredthehumanracetoadoptinstitutionsoflaw.AccordingtoRousseau,byjoining togetherintocivilsocietythroughthesocialcontractandabandoningtheirclaimsofnaturalright,individualscanboth preservethemselvesandremainfree.Thisisbecausesubmissiontotheauthorityofthegeneralwillofthepeopleasa wholeguaranteesindividualsagainstbeingsubordinatedtothewillsofothersandalsoensuresthattheyobey themselvesbecausetheyare,collectively,theauthorsofthelaw. 10.JohnStuartMill MillwasanEnglishphilosopher,politicaleconomistandcivilservant.Hewasaninfluentialcontributortosocial theory,politicaltheory,andpoliticaleconomy.Hehasbeencalled"themostinfluentialEnglishspeakingphilosopher ofthenineteenthcentury".JohnStuartMill'spoliticalphilosophyisnotableforwhatNietzschecallsits"offensive clarity"concerningsuchthemesastheprimacyofsocialutilityandthe"goldenrule."Inorderforasocietytobe "civilized"orworthdefending,Millbelieves,itmustenableustolivetogetherasequalsunderlaw.Ontheotherhand,

forsuchasocietytobeindividuallyrewardingandindividuallydefensible,itmustbefree.

11.AdamSmith SmithwasaScottishmoralphilosopherandapioneerofpoliticaleconomy.AdamSmithisconsideredtobethefather ofeconomics.Beforehim,economicswasstudiedaseitherabranchofpoliticscalledpoliticaleconomyorasanareaof philosophy.EconomicswasbornasadistinctdisciplinewiththepublicationofSmith'sWealthofNationsin1776. AmongthemostimportantandenduringcontributionstoeconomicthoughtwasSmith'sexplanationofthebeneficial workingsofthefreemarket.

12.KarlMarx In1867KarlMarxpredictedthedemiseofcapitalism.Hedidn'tsayjustwhencapitalismwouldexpire,buthedid explainwhyandhow.AccordingtoMarx,capitalismhadtobereplacedbecausetheevolutionofsociety'sinstitutions isanaturalandinevitableprocessofhistory.Thisevolutiontakesplaceasaresultofclassstrugglethestruggleof lowersocioeconomicclassesoverthematerialfruitsofproduction.Capitalismitselfistheproductofthestruggle betweenlordsandserfsinfeudalsocietyandbetweenguildmastersandjourneymeninprecapitalisticsociety.The evolutionintocapitalism,insteadofsomeotherformofsocialcontract,wasduetothearrivalofmachinesandthe factorysystem.Thissynthesisinturncreatedtwonewcontendingforces:thecapitalistclassorbourgeoisie,which ownsthemeansofproduction,andthewageworkersorproletariatclass,whichhastosellitslabortosurvive. Marxseizedonthelabortheoryofvaluetoexplainwhylaboristhesourceofallsurplusvalue(profit)whichis appropriatedbythecapitalistsandinvestedinmoremachinery.Thisincreasingaccumulationofcapitalequipment, accordingtoMarx,resultsinincreasingoutputwithasmallerlaborforce.Asaresult,theworkersdonothaveenough purchasingpowertoremovefromthemarketallofthegoodsproducedbytheincreasingstockofcapital,andcyclical depressionsofincreasingseveritywilleventuallyleadtoarevolution. 13.ImmanuelKant InPerpetualPeace:APhilosophicalSketchKantlistedseveralconditionsthathethoughtnecessaryforendingwarsand creatingalastingpeace.Theyincludedaworldofconstitutionalrepublics.Hisclassicalrepublicantheorywasextended intheScienceofRight',thefirstpartoftheMetaphysicsofMorals(1797). "Kant'spoliticalteachingmaybesummarizedinaphrase:republicangovernmentandinternationalorganization.In morecharacteristicallyKantianterms,itisdoctrineofthestatebaseduponthelaw(Rechtsstaat)andofeternalpeace. Indeed,ineachoftheseformulations,bothtermsexpressthesameidea:thatoflegalconstitutionorof"peacethrough law."...Takensimplybyitself,Kant'spoliticalphilosophy,beingessentiallyalegaldoctrine,rejectsbydefinitionthe oppositionbetweenmoraleducationandtheplayofpassionsasalternatefoundationsforsociallife.Thestateis definedastheunionofmenunderlaw.Thestaterightlysocalledisconstitutedbylawswhicharenecessaryapriori becausetheyflowfromtheveryconceptoflaw.Aregimecanbejudgedbynoothercriterianorbeassignedanyother functions,thanthosepropertothelawfulorderassuch." Heopposed"democracy,"whichathistimemeantdirectdemocracy,believingthatmajorityruleposedathreatto individualliberty.Hestated,"...democracyis,properlyspeaking,necessarilyadespotism,becauseitestablishesan executivepowerinwhich'all'decidefororevenagainstonewhodoesnotagreethatis,'all,'whoarenotquiteall, decide,andthisisacontradictionofthegeneralwillwithitselfandwithfreedom."Aswithmostwritersatthetime,he distinguishedthreeformsofgovernmenti.e.democracy,aristocracy,andmonarchywithmixedgovernmentasthemost idealformofit.

14.WilhelmFreidrichvonHegel InclosingthisaccountofHegelstheoryofthestate,afewwordsonatheoryandpracticeproblemofthemodern state.IntheprefacetothePhilosophyofRightHegelisquiteclearthathisscienceofthestatearticulatesthenatureof thestate,notasitoughttobe,butasitreallyis,assomethinginherentlyrational.Hegelsfamousquoteinthisregardis Whatisrationalisactualandwhatisactualisrational,wherebytheactual(Wirklich)Hegelmeansnotthemerely existent,i.e.,astatethatcanbesimplyidentifiedempirically,buttheactualizedorrealizedstate,i.e.,onethat correspondstoitsrationalconceptandthusinsomesensemustbeperfected.LaterintheintroductionoftheIdeaof thestateinparagraph258,HegelisatpainstodistinguishtheIdeaofthestatefromastateunderstoodintermsofits historicaloriginsandsaysthatwhilethestateisthewayofGodintheworldwemustnotfocusonparticularstatesor onparticularinstitutionsofthestate,butonlyontheIdeaitself.Furthermorehesays,Thestateisnoidealworkof artitstandsonearthandsointhesphereofcaprice,chance,anderror,andbadbehaviormaydisfigureitinmany respects.Buttheugliestofmen,oracriminal,oraninvalid,oracripple,isstillalwaysalivingman.Theaffirmative, life,subsistsdespitehisdefects,anditisthisaffirmativefactorwhichisourthemehere.Theissue,then,iswhether theactualstatethesubjectofphilosophicalscienceisonlyatheoreticalpossibilityandwhetherfromapractical pointofviewallexistingstatesareinsomewaydisfiguredordeficient.Ourabilitytorationallydistillfromexisting statestheiridealcharacteristicsdoesnotentailthatafullyactualizedstatedoes,orwill,exist.Hence,thereisperhaps someambiguityinHegelsclaimaboutthemodernstateasanactualizationoffreedom. 15.VladimirLenin Leninbelievedinthedictatorshipoftheproletariat,ledbytheCommunistparty.HisbeliefsstemfromMarxism, whichheinterpreted,revisedandfurtherdevelopedinthecontextoftheagrarianRussianEmpire(asopposedtothe industrializedEurope).HisbeliefsarereferredtosummarilyasLeninism.MarxismLeninismwastheofficialideology oftheUSSRuntilitsdeclineanddissolutionin1991.

16.AdolfHitler Intermsofpoliticaltheories,HitlerannouncedhishatredinMeinKampftowardwhathebelievedtobethetwinevils oftheworld:CommunismandJudaism,andhestatedthathisaimwastoeradicatebothfromthefaceoftheearth.He alsoannouncedthatGermanyneededtoobtainnewsoilcalledlebensraumwhichwouldproperlynurturethe"historic destiny"oftheGermanpeoplethisgoalexplainswhyHitlerinvadedEurope,bothEastandWest,beforehelaunched hisattackagainstRussia.Hitlerpresentedhimselfasthe"bermensch",frequentlyrenderedasthecrude"Superman" (overmanisthemoreappropriateterminitsoriginalcontext),thatthebasicallyapoliticalFriedrichNietzschehad referredtoinhiswritings,especiallyinhisbook,'ThusSpokeZarathustra'.