POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY Abstract
Politicsis known to influence the lives of citizens in any given countryhighly, but this is just but an effect. Intellectual giants havepondered the functions of politics, and varied answers have alwaysbeen presented. This paper is going to base its research on twoscholars, Nicollo Machiavelli, and Thomas Hobbes who have diverseideas on politics. The connections and distinctions between theirviews on human nature have been presented not living out the purposeof politics according to them. Machiavelli is described as apractical man because he made observations on the behavior of peopleand how they carried out things. It is in contrast to creating ahypothetical position to give explanations on reality like Hobbesdid. One of the areas in which they agreed on is the fact that peopletend to be self-interested even though their love of otherindividuals can either be won or lost
Politicsis known to influence the lives of citizens in any given countryhighly, but this is just but an effect. Intellectual giants havepondered the functions of politics, and varied answers have alwaysbeen presented. Two of the most influential philosophical minds thatprovided hypothesis unfolding concepts of political strategy,protections and human nature are Nicollo Machiavelli, and ThomasHobbes. Let’s look at the perceptions of these two scholars whohave a sharply contrasting philosophy thus illustrating the intricacyof getting to a definite conclusion on politics.
Theywere both aware that a sovereign leader is essential for nations tofunction effectively. Hobbes supposed that if people were able toanalyze politics from a scientific perspective, the conclusion madewould help in creating a permanent state of peace and for thisreason, the aim of his work was making political analysis morescientific. Machiavelli is described as a practical man because hemade observations on the behavior of people and how they carried outthings. It is in contrast to creating a hypothetical position to giveexplanations on reality like Hobbes did. He drew his conclusionsabout human nature from practical observation where after making ananalysis of people’s actions, he always looked for the commoncharacteristics. One of the areas in which they agreed on is the factthat people tend to be self-interested even though their love ofother individuals can either be won or lost. During flourishingtimes, trusting tends to be easy, but when conditions becomeunfavorable, they quickly become selfish and deceiving. WhenMachiavelli was writing The Prince for the Medici family, there wasconfusion due to the Italian wars. He shows how people were capableof doing good, but they only did that at the lead of theirself-interest. Hobbes was writing in the wake of civil war thus heput lots of emphasis on the inherent brutality of people.
Hobbesgives an illustration of a situation where two people are interestedin the same thing that they cannot both get and for this reason, theyend up creating enmity. He describes persons living in a state ofnature to be at war constantly, not able to discriminate betweenright and wrong and also lives in nasty, short, poor and brutalconditions. There are basic rules of nature essential to evadeconditions of war. Machiavelli does not think about the hypotheticalstate of nature like Hobbes does but his argument is based on theabsence of a hidden hand that naturally harmonizes all humanactivities dismissing the broadminded idea of intrinsic peace.
Thereis a high possibility that Machiavelli assumptions on politics wouldbe regarded controversial in the current world. In accordance to hisperception, there is no need for government to concern itself withcitizen rights, guarantee equal opportunities or administer justice. He emphasizes on one primary aim of politics which is preserving andenhancing political power. Indeed, the role of a prince is not togive a perfect political arrangement that assures maximum possibleliberty but rather a plan for retaining political rule in spite ofnecessary measures. He warns of the dangers that freedom can pose toa prince saying that if any person gets to rule a free city withoutcausing any destructions, this ruler should expect the city todestroy him1.Contemporarysociety frowns about the repression of freedom, but Machiavelliallows it if for some reason it’s going to preserve politicalpower. There is no point of possessing ethical and moral principles,but it is essential to appear to possess them. He says that a princehave to be feared as well as loved but to be on the safe side, beingfeared is better than being loved2.As per my perception, Machiavelli takes politics as a means ofadvancing the leader rather than the citizens
Followingthe ideas of Hobbes, politics should enable people to flee from awild natural state characterized by poverty, solitude, and brutalitythus enjoying benefits of an enlightened society3.He argues that man lives in a state of war and for this reason theconcepts of right and wrong, justice and injustice should not beaccommodated. In today’s world, these are among the ideas givenpriority. In the absence of common power, the law does not exist, andwith no rules, there is no justice as well, thus politics live tooppose nature’s barbarity.
Asan absolute sovereign of Hobbes, I would construct a democraticgovernment where I would rule by the people. This is becauseaccording to this scholar, politics should enable individuals cut thebonds of oppression. Some of the rights I would emphasize on includeequality in different sectors such as education, right to vote, andfreedom of expression. The citizens would be responsible forrespecting the government and obeying the rules. In the case of anycritics, I would declare that all people are equal before the law andthis freedom brings prosperity economically and socially. As a princedescribed by Machiavelli, I would rule in a dictatorship manner.Freedom of expression would not be allowed, and the government wouldnot be questioned despite what. Those who appear to be threats to thegovernment would be eliminated without question, and there would beno rights for the citizens. The most important thing here is to keepthe power thus I would be in authority for a long time. Critics wouldnot be allowed because everyone would do things my way withoutquestion.
Berridge,Geof Machiavelli: human nature, good faith, and diplomacy.Review of International Studies 27:539-556. 2012
NickSpencer. Machiavelli’sThe Prince: The Two Sides of HumanNature. 2013
Berns,Laurence,Thomas Hobbe, Leo Cropset, Joseph. Historyof political philosophy.Universityof Chicago. Pp.398-400. 2013
1 Berridge, Geof .Machiavelli: Human Nature, Good Faith, and Diplomacy. Review of International Studies 27:539-556. 2012
2 Nick Spencer. Machiavelli’s The Prince: The Two Sides of Human Nature. 2013
3 Berns, Laurence,Thomas Hobbe, Leo Cropset, Joseph. History of political philosophy .University of Chicago. Pp.398-400. 2013
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