Questions: Best Regime in a Political System 1: We discussed three ways of approaching the history of political thought. Briefly explain them, and make a case for which approach you prefer. In addition, please address the following question in yourresponse: what, if anything, should we expect to learn from ancient political thought? 2: Aristotle gives […]
Different dominions worldwide use varied political ideologies to achieve maximum efficiency among citizens. As such, political theorists and philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato seek to define the most significant depiction of what constitutes an efficient regime and its impacts on its people. Although the philosophers’ theories are idealized, their variants increasingly become relevant in modern-day politics as the world continues to globalize and political tensions rise. Aristotle and Plato highlight the importance of free speech, the understandings of revolutions, and democracy that explain the occurrences in the political scene today. While Aristotle maintained a practical political ideology, Plato advocated for an ideal regime concept; however, both theorists reflect on modern-day leadership in countries that struggle to uphold freedom of speech, attain a perfect democracy, and control revolutions.
Aristotle and Plato approach the concept of political theories differently. Aristotle bases his ideal regime on an inductive and rationalist view when analyzing people as political animals. The scholar opinioned that the best state comes from attaining the essential supply of the necessities of life (Somerville and Santoni 72). The population is a significant factor when analyzing a perfect regime, as the citizens’ number, size and character play a crucial role in a state (Aristotle 72). However, as man exists in groups larger than households to form political communities, communication becomes critical in finding the best practical regimes in society (Aristotle 48). Furthermore, Aristotle argues that the best government can only exist when a state attains a population sufficient for the good life in a political community (Aristotle 72). As such, Aristotle’s ideal regime comes based on the practicality of a state meeting its needs by having an appropriate population.
On the other hand, Plato describes the ideal regime as a system of political regimes from a republic based on his observations of five political regimes, which he ranked from best to worst. The government types described by Plato include aristocracy, democracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny, which he ranked from best to worst (Plato 26). In Plato’s works, aristocrats are the best administrators, while he considers other regimes inferior (Somerville and Santoni 26). In an aristocracy form of governance, philosopher-kings rules their subject with wisdom and reasoning. Furthermore, Plato argues that a philosopher king is a good man, thus creating a state of happiness. Aristocracy represents an ideal regime where a philosopher presides over people wisely.
Aristotle criticizes some of the ideologies raised by Plato in the Republic, which do not conform to his arguments about revolution. In The Republic of Plato, Socrates mentions that revolution does not lead to any significant impact on the first or perfect state as it is natural for men and rulers to become immune to education and, consequently, cannot be made virtuous (Aristotle 65). However, Aristotle questioned why the change only conforms to ideal states and not to all the others or everything that exists (Aristotle 65). Additionally, as The Republic of Plato argues that the impact of time changes all things, Aristotle questions whether all things that did not start together can truly change as one. These arguments form several questions that Aristotle poses in The Republic of Plato as he disagrees with some of the issues raised.
Aristotle’s political theories can help to understand the functioning of human societies and the social participation of persons in political communities. As Aristotle opined that individuals have a natural social impulse to live together even when they do not directly rely on each other, we can understand the globalization of the contemporary world from his ideologies (Somerville and Santoni 48). In one argument, Aristotle pointed out that humanity exists as the only species endowed with the power of speech for a reason, and the ability is intended to bring out the expedient and inexpedient, as well as the just and unjust (Somerville and Santoni 48). Since the increased integration of the world’s cultures with globalization leads to raised political tension, society cannot underestimate the power of communication to resolve conflict and bring understanding. Thus, Aristotle’s political theories can help solve some of the modern conflicts between states or among them that continue to emerge in the twenty-first century increasingly.
The arguments from The Republic of Plato concerning revolutions can shed light on the incidents of citizen protests that have hit many nations in recent years, leading to some impacts on the economic, political, and social scenes. The sentiments on the role of oligarchical regimes in pushing people to revolutions can be interpreted as at the heart of modern-day revolutions (Somerville and Santoni 30). Nations such as Lebanon face civilian unrest as people call for an overhaul of the entire political representation they accuse of not serving the public (Chulov). The protests are part of a larger string of revolutions, including the Arab Springs, which occurred recently, with some still ongoing. Consequently, from Plato’s argument, society can understand the causes of the unrest, where political systems resembling oligarchy push good men to revolutions.
Similarly, The Republic of Plato also shares some compelling arguments on democracy, which can be relevant in the contemporary democratic world. Democracy is referred to as one of the political regimes in Plato’s theory that also follows as the second last stage of political change before tyranny (Somerville and Santoni 26). While democratic governments come based on the people, by the people, and for the people, varying forms of leadership exist even in democratic nations across the globe. For instance, the Ugandan President took power after a military coup in 1986 and still rules over the democratic government to date (Gettleman). However, the president gets accused of using oppressive tactics to crush his opposition and remain in power. An argument made in The Republic of Plato explains that democracies formed through hostile takeovers from previous regimes are likely to be ruled autocratically, limiting the perceived freedom of the democratic people (Somerville and Santoni 31). Thus, Plato’s and Aristotle’s political theory help explain why democracies take different forms in the modern world.
Modern politics and governments vary in terms of leadership systems, but the broader concept of social justice is reflected in most societies around the world. In both democratic and hereditary political regimes, the role of freedom of speech is upheld to help ensure that the truth is known and the ruling class is held accountable to its citizens (Larson). Similarly, Aristotle pointed out the power of speech in highlighting the truth, yet modern political regimes always fight against the freedom of speech. Most governments feel threatened by the power free speech holds against their leadership, as it can swing their people against them by exposing their atrocities. Thus, scenes like the information censoring and murder of journalists and human rights activists have become famous in the modern world, pointing out the system’s failure to uphold justice.
Furthermore, modern political systems can get depicted as oligarchical and tyrannous systems masked as democratic regimes where the actual citizens have little say in the running of a nation’s affairs in most countries. As The Republic of Plato pointed out, the morphisms of political regimes involve five regime types, although the change seems to be happening quietly internally in modern nations worldwide (Plato 26). As the old democratically elected leaders in countries such as Russia and Uganda refuse to leave power at the end of their terms, the frontrunners change the entire political systems and laws to hold on to power (McKenzie). However, these nations still hold on to a sense of democracy in that elections always go on in the political arenas. As such, contemporary politics in the modern world appears to be irrational.
Aristotle’s practicable political ideologies differed from Plato’s ideal regime; nonetheless, their political theories reflect on the modern-day leadership in countries that struggle to uphold freedom of speech, implement the perfect democracy and manage revolutions. While Plato’s ideal regime comes from philosophical leadership, Aristotle conceived a practical system consisting of an optimum population and attaining the necessities of life. In the modern political arena, Aristotle and Plato’s theories help build an understanding of our political systems and the resulting inefficiencies. As such, society can judge the performance of their leaders based on their ability to uphold the ideologies of democracy or their leadership values.
Chulov, Martin. “Lebanon’s Mass Revolt Against Corruption and Poverty Continues.” The Guardian, 20 Oct. 2019, www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/20/lebanons-mass-revolt-against-corruption-and-poverty-continues. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
Gettleman, Jeffrey. “Instead of Democracy, Uganda Moves Toward Dictatorship Light.” The New York Times, 17 Feb. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/world/africa/uganda-firmly-under-one-mans-rule-dusts-off-trappings-of-an-election.html. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
Larson, Christina. “Royal Hush: Why Thailand’s Curbs on Free Speech About the Monarchy Could Prove Self-Defeating.” The Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/10/31/royal-hush-why-Thailands-curbs-on-free-speech-about-the-monarchy-could-prove-self-defeating/. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
McKenzie, Sheena. “Full List of Russian Oligarchs Released by US.” CNN, 30 Jan. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/01/30/politics/full-us-list-of-Russian-oligarchs-with-Putin-ties-intl/index.html. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.
Somerville, John, and Ronald Santoni. Social and Political Philosophy. Anchor Books, 2013.
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Published On: 15-02-2018