Philosophical Foundation of Politics
1. Niccolo Machiavelli’s the Prince is an outstanding read for every individual who wants to have a different perspective on how politics is being realized. Reading Niccolo Machiavelli’s the Prince; a careful reader shall be able to have a better grasp of the true nature of politics that is much different than how we commonly understand it. The Prince had provided us a realist perspective and deeper view of how we see politics. In the modern world, most people are convinced that the people are the real champion of the republics.
Political leaders acquire their mandates from the people. In this sense, power is really in the hands of the citizens that put these political leaders in positions. However, as the Prince would try to teach us, political leaders possess the capability to control and manipulate the population using numerous techniques and special knowledge. Machiavelli’s the Prince is a revelation to the people that the power of a nation does not really reside on them.
Though cultural and societal arrangement and education of the modern world had convinced us that the people are the real basic political actors in any political community, the Prince will remind us that there will always be individuals who will be capable of controlling the people. The only difference now from yesterday is our activism against direct control and manipulation of our leaders. We do not want to feel that we are forced in doing our things. Today, political leaders managed to operate under the radar that still manage them to manipulate and control the people without the people knowing it.
From here, Machiavelli emphasized the amount of prowess or the skill that a political leader must possess. For Machiavelli, any political leader that wants to succeed in his her political career must be capable of numerous abilities and skills. These range from how they appear to the people up to the way they treat, reward and punish their constituents. The Prince emphasized the importance of knowledge, wisdom and accurate decision making for the success of any political leader. All in all, Machiavelli had provided us a salt to our super sweet conception of democracy and modern politics.
With his examples, thought experiments and historical analysis, it is very difficult to not consider his arguments. Though it is bitter and difficult to believe at first many of his claims, it will be rightful for us, as students of politics and philosophy to assess his claims in a neutral and philosophical manner for us to be able to come up to a conclusion that will help us in the future. Indeed, Niccolo Machiavelli’s the Prince is a must read for all the students who want to have a good grasp of the numerous schools of thought in political philosophy. 2.
The natural law as propositioned by Thomas Aquinas had provided us a framework on how to establish and maintain a political entity. The concept of the existence of the natural law states that deep within the mind of every human being, there are existing laws that were engraved on it in which they are naturally inclined to follow. Natural laws of human beings were put by the Divine Being for the sole reason of bringing the history of mankind towards the goal and aim that was prescribed by the Divine Being. As a student of politics, such conception of the existence of a natural law shall become an interest.
The existence of natural law implies that there is a universal set of laws in which we must base our societal arrangement. Aquinas argues that humans as a rational being possess the natural inclination towards such laws. For a political thinker and law maker, we can make use of such naturally engraved rule set of human beings in arranging our society. Since all human beings possess a natural disposition towards the respect and fulfillment of such laws, law makers and political thinkers will not encounter difficulty on making the citizens to abide in those kinds of laws.
In this sense, we can now formulate laws and rules that are not artificial or entirely outside human beings. In most cases, artificial laws that are only made possible by the law maker’s biases and caprices produce numerous disagreements and strife. Such disagreements will be theoretically impossible if all human laws were crafted over the foundations and framework of natural laws. Arranging a society using laws that are based on the very rules and laws that are engraved in the human psyche will definitely produce more law abiding citizens and more peaceful city or country.
Another important lesson that we can learn in Aquinas’ natural law is the importance of the concept of the larger framework which plays that concerns human behavior. As discussed, natural laws are the extension of the superior being’s eternal law. This eternal law is the general plan of the superior being for the universe. As an extension of such extensive and all-encompassing plan, the abidance on natural laws equates to the participation of human beings to a greater plan that is larger than life itself.
As stated before, this provides a greater sense of belonging and unity among all individuals that pass our race, color or nationality. As creatures who are one with the grand plan of the superior being, the world can attain peace and harmony as they acknowledge that all human beings are moving towards a single grand goal. 3. The works of Plato with the help of Socrates in many of his dialogues (e. g. The Republic) had taught us the importance of having a leader who possesses both intelligence and wisdom.
When Plato had discussed how extensive and intensive a leader should be trained, he stated to us the very vital role of a leader in the success and maintenance of any political entity. However, more important than the leader is the system itself that brings up such kinds of leader who is both physical, mentally and spiritually fit to run a city or a country. The rising up in power of such leader was made possible only through a system of political and cultural framework who acknowledges education as the strongest element in molding such leader.
Without such kind of system, it is difficult for us to come up with a viable leader that can lead a city or country towards progress. From here, the direction of discussion from the importance of good and intelligence political leaders shall be directed to the importance of education in any political system. As stated, this new focus is made possible by the more fundamental role of education in the political and societal development of a city and a country. What we can learn from Plato is simple yet profound.
If we are really serious in bringing and raising a city or country that is excellent in every aspect, we must give a great deal of importance on the education of our children. The rightful education of our young is the most important asset and investment of any political community. When we provide to our children a kind of education that is in line with our political and societal development, we are making the possibility of progress and development of our city or country in the future. Just like what Plato did, we must all give a great deal of importance on how we educate our youth.
From the moment they are born up to the moment that they are able to fight, Plato had taught that we must guide them for them to be good citizens that can provide development and progress to the city. What kind of education we must impose to our children? This is a simple question yet it is very complicated to answer. In the Republic, Plato had provided us numerous unusual ways of educating and developing our children. Though many of us may argue about the relevance of the particular teachings of Plato about the education of the future guardians (i.
e. sharing husband and wives, training in nudity), we can pick up numerous general ideas that we can still use in the construction of an educational system that will bring progress and development to the city or country. The first one that we can cite is the emphasis to the excellence of the vision of the political leaders. For Plato, the philosopher-king is ought to have the general vision of maintaining the harmony and peace of the city while at the same time educating its citizen towards a higher level of consciousness.
In our modern sense, a political leader must have a clear and good sense on where he or she wants to direct the city and country. This understanding of the goal of the city or country must be influenced by the intelligence, wisdom and most importantly reason. In this vision, the improvement of the society and the city in general must be in concern. It is also important that this vision accompanies a will to level up the understanding and consciousness of its people. Such development must not be religiously exclusive. It can be a step up in the philosophical, emotional or spiritual understanding of the people.
The other vital thing about education of the citizen is the importance of consciously teaching to the people of the holistic significance of their actions and duties. Plato had taught the people the importance of being a farmer, a warrior, a merchant or a leader in the general health of the city. Making people understand that they are living not only for their selves alone bring them a greater sense of unity and solidarity. As they understand that they are working for the overall vitality of the city and all the people with it, the sense of injustice and inequality could soon be vanished.
In this kind of arrangement, every individual is significant. No matter who you and no matter what you do, you all play an important and integral role that maintain the city. Plato and Socrates had indeed taught us very important lessons on how to run a city or a country. The real wealth of any political unit lies not on its natural resources or amount of gold in its treasury. It’s most important asset is deep within its citizen. Humans possess capabilities to develop, innovate and be creative. Whatever problem we may encounter as people, it can be solved by a thinking and well-educated citizenry.
Plato makes us realize that if we are to invest, we have to invest on our people. Our present and our future are dependent on how much we are able to educate our children. The time will come that we will pass our roles and positions to our sons and daughters and when that time come we do not want to pass what we work for to an empty hand and hollow mind that will ruin and destroy whatever we have. Works Cited Aquinas, Thomas/ Dyson R. W. “Saint Thomas Aquinas Political Writings”. 2002. Cambridge University Press. Aquinas, Thomas/ Dyson R. W.
“Saint Thomas Aquinas Political Writings”. 2002. Cambridge University Press. Classic Techology Center. Republic. 2000. Able Media. Web. Accessed 22 August 2010. Dunkle, Roger. The Classical Origins of Western Culture. 1986. Brooklyn College. The City University of New York. Web. Accessed 22 August 2010. Kemp, Kenneth. “The Moral Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas”. 2000. Thomistic Conference. Lithuania. Machiavelli, Niccolo & Marritt, W. K. (trans). The Prince. Constitution Society. 1938/ 1505,1515. Plato. Cooper, John (ed) Plato: Complete Works. 1997 Hacket Publishing Company. Cambridge.Sample Essay of PaperDon.com