A Materialistic Society: Force of Government

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We live in a very materialistic world and one in which money is very valuable to us. The people of the world all have to rely on money to survive, because money is the only thing that let us obtain the sources of survival. Food and housing is often a problem in our society, but the reason it is so hard to obtain them is because of lack of money. Bertrand Russell explains in Political Ideas about his view of force. The force, which he speaks of, is the “[m]aterial possessions [that] can be taken by force” (Russell 9). We currently live in a government in which our belongings can be taken away from us. “The essence of government is the use of force in accordance with law to secure certain ends which the holders of power consider desirable.” (Russell 28) The government has a power over us, but that power should be used against the force that takes away what we need. Russell compares materialism to creativity. To him creativity is “[s]piritual possessions [that] cannot be taken in this way.” (Russell 9) By creativity he means an emotion or originality, which usually lies inside someone. Russell explains how “[y]ou may kill an artist or a thinker, but you cannot acquire his art or his thought.” (Russell 9) In no way or form can this be taken away because it is not tangible. The reason a man’s creativity it is not tangible is because it lies “[o]ver himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” (Mill 9) Even John Stuart Mill in his piece On the Liberty he would agree that creativity is intangible. Unfortunately, our society has very little time for creativity. Our lives are ruled by institutions that can be harmful to the soul. ”Institutions…have a profound influence in molding the characters of men and women.” (Russell 15) The institutions have made us utterly dependable on material possessions. “At present our institutions rest upon two
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