February/2004 Hist. 2 sects 6,7,8
Government is something that every society needs. In order for people
to co-exist, there must be a sense of order and protection. However,
government is never perfect. Throughout history, men like Karl Marx and
Friedrich Engels tried to shape an utopian society and they had their own
views on the purpose of the government. These men believed that society was
based on two social systems, the Proletarian and the Bourgeoisie and that
the government was centralized between them. On the other hand; Thomas
Hobbes believed that the purpose of government was to restrain human
behavior so people can live in peace.
Thomas Hobbes formed the idea of “state”. Hobbes stated, ” A
strong government was essential to restrain human’s natural impulses to
improve their own lot by harming their neighbors”(p337. World
civilizations). Hobbes supported strict political actions and believed in
strong control over the people. He was not interested in moral bases, but
in a strong effective government. He believed that strong control by a
monarch was a political necessity. To Hobbes politics was based on the
desire of power and the fear of death. The social contract was based on men
who feared the superior and that is how lawmaking would be effective.
People who have fear of punishment from the superior force, will be
obedient and will live in a proper manner.
In moral philosophy Hobbes thought that civilization was based on
fear, not on natural
sociability. Although one’s actions are free, one’s will is not. He
believed that justification of punishment must be utilitarian, and
punishment is by nature retributive. Hobbes founded the theory of social
contract. The social contract is an agreement by men to surrender their
natural rights to live in a society in which they now live. Hobbes
maintained that by the social contract men had surrendered their natural
liberties in order to enjoy the order and safety of the organized state. In
theory, fear makes men surrender their “state of nature” and submit to the
absolute authority of a sovereign.
Hobbes philosophy was based on the world around him. He lived in a
different time from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx and Engels were
surrounded by European industrialization. Capitalism was spreading and
competition was rising. Industrial owners wanted to make more money and
they started to reduce the workers wages. This is how Marx and Engels
distinguished the idea that society was divided into two classes. ” Society
as a whole is more and more splitting up into two hostile camps, into two
great classes directly favoring one another: Bourgeoisie and Proletarian.”(
communist manifesto) this is how the term communism was established.
Thomas Hobbes believed that the purpose of government was made to
control peoples natural states and to create a social order. However, Karl
Marx and Friedrich Engels believed that the modern state manages the
affairs of the Bourgeoisie rather than the Proletarian. The working class
is overlooked and not taken care of. The lower class lives to find work and
that is the only way they will survive. Marx referred to the working class
as the “reserve army”. It consists of starving unemployed workers almost
ready to work for any wage. Their lives had very little meaning they were
just there for the Bourgeoisie to make money. ” He (worker) becomes an
appendage of the machine.” (Communist Manifesto)
Marx and Engels wanted to form a new way of life. They wanted the
Proletarian to revolt.
Capitalism had abused the working class long enough. A new government
needed to be established and it’s purpose was to protect the Proletarian
side. ” Communism is an inevitable reaction against the abuses of the
Bourgeoisie capitalism” (p.509 world civilizations). Proletariat had no
hope as long as the capital ruled. Karl and Friedrich spoke of eliminating
all other social governments so that communism would work. “They openly
declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of
all existing social conditions” (Communist Manifesto). Marx and Engels
wanted a “dictatorship of the proletariat” to be established. The main
point of the communistic government is to make everything equal and not
dependant on one another. But is seemed that communism was also serving one
group of people. Not everyone thought the communism was a perfect way for
people to exist.
The purpose of government is to serve the people. Which is why
democracy fits well for people’s standards. Government should not support
any individual class or group, it should support and protect all classes.
Thomas Hobbes did not believe in democracy, because he did not think people
should have minds of their own. People should not be driven by fear to
participate in government, they should have an understanding of why the
government exists and is it for the greater good. Of the people, for the
people, and by the people is a great concept. A government is formed to
protect and rule the people. So people should decide the best laws and
protection that fit their needs.
Hobbes was more for the superior rather than the people. He favored
monarchs to rule which explains why he opposed democracy. On the other
hand, Marx and Engels were more for the common people and the strugglers.
They lived in different times so the circumstances were not the same. But
they had completely different ideas on what the purpose of government was.
Communism is more leaning towards peoples rights, which is why it is better
than the social contract. However, there is very little room to progress in
a communistic government. There is nothing wrong with people having more
royalty than others. Instead of industrial workers revolting, they should
strike for better wages and better working conditions. A government should
be protecting workers rights to strike and ask for more. The ability to
progress in the economic field is important. People feel better about
themselves and the government’s economy will rise. This is why it is
important for the people to decide how the government should work for them.
In conclusion, Hobbes believed that people should fear the superior
so that the government will function properly. Marx and Engels believed
that the Proletariat should rule because they struggled so long from the
Bourgeoisie. But in the end, everyone of the people should decide how the
government should work for them. The purpose of government is to protect
the people and people should decide the best way for them to be protected.