The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one .... -- Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776) Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It has its origins in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. the mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of a civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together.
His belief in Democracy was understandable and is still held in a similar way today by many people. But while demorcracy does help immensely with the formation of a nation, Pericles failed to address that none of the positive attributes stemming from democracy would be possible without the positive actions of his people, with or without it. He didn't necessarily give credit
Diodotus was more of the wiser, older man that has seen a lot in his day; Diodotus was only looking for the future good of his country. Never once did he say that it was okay what the Mytilenians did, but that as a politician you should use them to better your country rather than just disposing of them to get an irrational state of justice. The question of the day did not seem to be whose side you were taking because both men were Athenians, but the question was which side of justice for Athens were you taking? It would be wrong for me being in my early twenties to side with Diodotus because I once heard a quote saying something along the lines that being twenty is to be liberal and to be forty is to be conservative. It may have no actual basis in this topic, but I perceive it as having enough time when you are older to think more wisely and act more conservatively.
The fact that visions of utopia have remained basically unchanged for so long is surely a testament to the nature of society. Are the moral voices we allow to guide us enlightened geniuses or well-read fools, and how (if at all) do their personal interests, upbringings and views affect their philosophies? Are individual thoughts separate from individual (and on a grander scale, social,) philosophies. Note: Most Utopian societies seem to have a hundred ways to die but only one way to live. Similarly, for any Utopia to be feasible, it must have a defining perspective.
I agree with his argument that people are manipulated in ways that are infinitely more refined than the methods used in the post-totalitarian societies. In a democracy, human beings may enjoy many personal freedoms and securities that are unknown to us, but in the end they do them no good, for they too are ultimately victims of the same automatism, and are incapable of defending the same automatism, and are incapable of defending their concerns about their own identity or preventing their superficial concerns about the their own personal survival to become proud and responsible members of the polis, making a genuine contribution to the creation of its
His idea of justice within society is a relatively equal society which benefits all. By having its members hidden under a “veil of ignorance” and naturally working under the fundamental principles of liberty and distributive justice, a society will benefit all of its individuals and grow as a whole to maximize potential. Rawls, in a way sees justice as the product of a progressing state of a balanced society. The more modern libertarian philosopher, Robert Nozick, carries a very different opinion of what justice is within a society. Unlike Rawls, Nozick sees flaws in the difference principle.
They view any inequalities, whether in income or educational attainment, as a sign of injustice. Such claims are misguided. Because we are all different, inequalities are the natural result of living in a free society. Whether through luck, skill, or determination, some men and women will always succeed more than others. And others will fail.
Jefferson supported ideas that were beneficial to the nation even if he had to compromise with the Federalists which caused him to be seen as a political compromiser. Morton Borden thinks Jefferson was a political compromiser because he made decisions that benefited the nation even though his Republican beliefs disapproved them. Borden states Jefferson’s presidency was marked by Federalist policies which encouraged the growth of central power. More specifically, Jefferson believed the Louisiana Purchase Treaty would greatly benefit the nation, but the constitution didn’t allow such acquisition of foreign territory. Jefferson being a strict constructionist approved the purchase, even though it went against his belief of strict construction, because he knew it would increase federal power and be a giant step towards democracy.
Wilson wanted borders to be returned to the least conflicting areas, and colonial subjects given a say in their government, and open and free trade for all. These ideas were indeed ideal for an ideal society, but coming straight out of a massively destructive global war, many people were not open to the idea of sovereignty for all. In a sense, Wilson’s ideas were too radical for the crowd. Conflicting opinions in the senate and in the public hindered
At any given time in history, however, philosophers and theologians and even politicians have and claimed that they have discovered that the best way to evaluate human actions and establish the most righteous code of conduct. You see, life is far too messy and complicated for there to be anything like a universal morality and an absolutist ethics. I know what you are thinking, “What about the concept of the Golden Rule?” The golden rule is great and all, treating everyone like you would like to be treated. But it disregards moral autonomy and leaves no room for the imposition of justice.In other words, we fucked up. Not just a little bit, but we fucked up big time.