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Political Philosophers: K. Marx, N. Machiavelli and C. Mills

Words: 2207
Paper Type: Essay
Subject: Philosophy

After studying the various philosophers (Karl Marx,Machiavelli and Charles Mills) what is your political philosophy?

Since time immemorial, the nature of political activity together with how it should be conducted has been the leading questions asked by human beings. For example, the matter as attracted several heated debates in the western countries for more than 2000 years (Ebenstein & Alan 34).

Thinking about politics has been inevitable both in the past and in the present. Out of these debates, hundreds of philosophical thinkers have emerged. Among these philosophers are Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Karl Marx, Machiavelli, Charles Mills and many more.

These philosophers have tried to explore the nature and character of political activities. As depicted in these philosophers’ studies, political thoughts aim at tackling issues related to political life.

As such, political thoughts focus on several social issues such as social standards, moral codes, and principles (Roberts 45). In schools, the contributions of these political philosophers have been beneficial to students.

In this respect, this paper focuses on the contribution of three major political philosophers. These philosophers are Karl Marx, Machiavelli, and Charles Mills.

Through the paper, my thoughts on the purpose of the state, the role of the citizens, and the kinds of protection that should exist for the dispossessed are highlighted.

Purpose of the state

After reading the three philosophers’ arguments about the purpose of the state, I believe that the way people understood their theories did happen to other past revolutionary thinkers’ theories. As such, their theories on the purpose of the state were received with hatred.

It is only after the death of some that their theories were appreciated. For instance, I believe that the current bourgeoisie and opportunists exhibited in our unions are in line with Marxism’s theories (Ebenstein & Alan 56).

In my opinion, the current capitalist nations and unions were envisioned back by Marx in his definition of bourgeois democracies. Just as Marx visualized, I believe that the current western governments depict bourgeois democracies envisioned by Marx.

Even though these countries are under bourgeois democracies, it should be noted that they at times resort to repression contrary to Marx theories.

In my analysis of the above philosophers’ contribution to the purpose of the state, I do object with Machiavelli’s thoughts. According to Machiavelli, the government should formulate its own rules without the help of the citizens.

These rules are supposed to be formulated to fit the situation at hand. This implies that the philosopher was against the behavior where states abide by the people’s culture, laws, or values when formulating new laws.

To him, the state was supposed to come up with rules that tackle the immediate issues without paying any regard to exist values. In general, his theories uphold the use of excessive power by the state.

In my opinion, I do object his thoughts as they prioritize the interests of the state leaders at the expense of their followers. I believe that if Machiavelli’s thoughts are adopted by the current states, leaders have to instill fear in their followers for them to lead with little resistance.

In contrary to his thoughts, I believe that the state in itself exists to serve the interests of all citizens. However, Machiavelli’s thoughts on the purpose of the state will be relevant in countries led by dictatorial leaders.

As such, dictators have been able to rule successfully by use of extreme power. For instance, their leadership could not be possible without the use of power as a means to an end. In Machiavelli’s theories, this type of leadership is depicted.

By Charles Mills’ political, philosophical thoughts, I do believe that the purpose of the state should be to provide equal rights and opportunities to all citizens for them to pursue their dreams regardless of their race, religion, or background.

In his book, Mills argues, “Modern state is purely a prescriptive thought experiment (Mills 19).” Through these arguments, Mills believes that modern situations where the westerns dominate other states are because of white supremacy.

In my opinion, I believe that the current states should protect their citizens by revoking unfair acts, treaties, and other legal decisions that were passed in the past and seem to favor some races.

In this regard, the current states should realize that all citizens are equal and no race is inferior or superior when compared to the other.

The role of citizens

After analyzing the above philosophers’ thoughts on the role of citizens, I believe that citizens have several roles to play both in the government and civic life. These roles can be categorized into social roles, economic roles, and political roles.

Social roles include abiding by the state laws, upholding peace, respecting other people’s rights, protecting social institutions, and participating in community developments. I believe that all citizens should be given a fair chance to engage in these roles.

In democratic countries, citizens are allowed to engage in these social roles without any government interference. However, in non-democratic countries, citizens’ rights to participate in these roles have been infringed.

Other than social roles, citizens are also expected to engage in economic roles. These roles include the creation of wealth, ensuring that national wealth is equally distributed, and paying taxes. Through these roles, the citizens and the government can accrue their resources and revenues.

Therefore, I believe that economically successful countries have enhanced these roles. In these countries, citizens are fully aware that through their role of paying taxes their government can fund its services and expand its development projects.

On the other hand, I believe that countries, which lack behind economically have not enhanced these roles.

In these countries, most citizens do not pay their taxes as required. Equally, in these countries, governments do not distribute their national resources equally. In this regard, all citizens and governments should note that the success of the states depends on their economic roles.

Other roles that should be played by citizens include political roles. These roles include attending government meetings, participating in civil activities, and keeping the government in check.

Through these roles, the citizens would be able to elect appropriate leaders into leadership positions and ensure that the government becomes transparent.

By the above philosophers’ views about the role of the citizens, I believe that Marx’s view is relevant. As argued by Marx, all citizens must be empowered by the government for them to participate in the developments of the country.

Based on his arguments, citizens should be allowed to speak freely and be allowed to work fairly. On the other hand, Machiavelli’s arguments imply that all citizens are obliged to play their roles as government mandates. In general, he believes that citizens exist to work for the state.

Protections that should exist for the dispossessed

In his theories, Marx refers to primitive accumulation. Marx had envisioned a society where dispossession would come into play. As witnessed in the current western governments, I believe that dispossession has been in play since 1970.

For instance, western governments have adopted neoliberal policies. These policies are evidenced through increased privatization, financialization, government redistributions, and management and handling of disasters. Those who are dispossessed by disasters should be helped by the state.

Therefore, international communities should ensure that every state formulates laws aimed at protecting and helping the dispossessed. These individuals include refugees. In the case of the internally displaced persons, I believe that governments should formulate specific solutions.

Each government should set aside resources for the dispossessed individuals so that when people are internally displaced by disasters, substantial funds will be available to help them.

Equally, I believe that some individuals have been dispossessed through privatization. This occurs when the state privatizes public organization or firms. In the process of privatization, some individuals find themselves dispossessed.

In this regard, there should be specific laws to protect the victims of privatization. Notably, some few individuals have benefited from public properties through privatization.

As illustrated by Karl Marx in his theories, this approach has served the interests of the capitalist class at the expense of all citizens. In this regard, I believe that appropriate measures should be put in place to protect the dispossessed.

Through privatization, the government and the citizens can realize several benefits. However, appropriate measures should be put in place to prevent some individuals from suffering because of privatization.

By privatizing some state organizations, service delivery will be improved. Similarly, through the privatization of some firms, the government can improve its management and operations for the benefit of all.

Thus, to ensure the above benefits are realized the government should ensure that victims of privatization are fully compensated.

Respond to the arguments made by Stephen Nathansan in his book, Should We Consent to Be Governed?

A Short Introduction to Political Philosophy is a book written by Stephen Nathanson. In the book, Nathanson focuses on political philosophy.

Through the book, the author explains his thoughts on forms of governments, how government roles have been constrained by its citizens’ rights, and how national resources should be allocated.

Equally, in the book the author has depicted four models used in describing the relationships between the states and their citizens. These models are super patriotic, cynic, anarchist, and critical citizens.

After reading through this book, I noted that every citizen could assume one of the above models. This implies that in our responsibility to be governed we adopt one of the above models. By being cynical, an individual presumes that the government and its institutions are tools of oppression.

Similarly, by being super patriotic an individual accepts the government wholeheartedly. On the other hand, critical thinkers accept that the government should be in place but criticize its undertakings.

As noted by the author, as individuals grow up, they may change their positions on the above models. As such, Nathanson asserts, “During high school period most individuals are anarchists (Nathanson 23)”.

His arguments on high school students are valid because at this stage most individuals are against the government, administrations, and the authorities.

With thorough analysis, an individual will realize that after high school most of us change our perception of administrations, authorities, and the government.

Equally, according to the book most individuals in high school are not critical thinkers. In the high school stage, most individuals are still naive about the relationship between the state and the citizens. At this stage, the youths are more focused on their relationships and education.

In my opinion, high school goers tend to oppose the government and the authorities because they believe that these institutions exist to limit their behaviors. In reality, these institutions exist to serve the interest of all citizens regardless of their age group.

Out of these four models, I find critical citizen model as the most compelling relationship between the state and its citizens. The anarchist model would not be appropriate because in anarchist societies individuals fight for their interests rather than the interests of every citizen.

If this model is adopted, the interests of citizens in the governments will be confined to some few individuals. These individuals would be responsible for the formulation and implementation of most policies.

If the above model is adopted, it would be in line with Machiavelli’s theories where the government uses repressive rules to govern its citizens.

Through this approach, citizens would not be allowed to think on their own, as they have to submit to the will of some elites. From the above illustrations, it is apparent that the anarchist model is not appropriate.

Similarly, the super patriotic model would be an appropriate relationship with the government and its citizens. Super patriotic citizens will accept to be governed and would do their best for the benefit of the state. Although the author his against this model, I do find it appropriate.

In my opinion, this model will enable citizens to work for the interest of the state rather than for individuals. If this model were adopted, citizens would be loyal to the state.

Equally, through this approach, national resources would be distributed equally benefiting all citizens regardless of their class by Mills’ theories. In this model, the rich will be mindful of the poor, and the poor will be mindful of the rich.

Based on its description, this model would suit the communist societies and not the capitalist. This implies that the model has some repercussions. Through the model, democracy might be harmed.

Equally, by being super patriotic citizens might allow the government to operate unchecked. Even though this model might be beneficial to some extent, it might still be inappropriate compared to the critical thinking model.

Therefore, out of the four models critical citizen model is the most appropriate model. Notably, Martin Luther King exhibited this model. Luther believed in the existence of the government, but he often questioned its operations.

Through this, he was able to question several injustices that existed in the American government. This implies that with this model citizens would accept the existence of the government and question its operations to ensure that everything is done as required.

The model that will illustrate the relationship between the government and its citizens effectively is the most appropriate since it will benefit both parties.

All citizens will benefit because through their criticisms the government will be obliged to perform as required. The government will also benefit because through the citizen’s criticisms their operations will be smooth lined avoiding conflict with the citizens.

Works Cited

Ebenstein, William, and Alan O. Ebenstein. Introduction to political thinkers. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992. Print.

Mills, Charles W.. The racial contract. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997. Print.

Nathanson, Stephen. Should we consent to be governed?: a short introduction to political philosophy. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co., 1992. Print.

Roberts, Peri. An Introduction to Political Thought: a conceptual toolkit.. 2. ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012. Print.