Ideal State

Above all things, the concept of the ideal state is elaborated by a wide range of political philosophers. Every prominent author is disposed to construct a unique model of the perfect state grounded on his personal views and convictions. The thesis statement should be formulated as follows: The genuine model of Ideal State should be grasped as a fusion of two antitheses which incorporates both moral footholds of Plato’s Republic and personal strengths of the Machiavellian Governor. In order to substantiate the aforementioned thesis, a comparative analysis must be conducted. 

Plato, for instance, has managed to represent a profound as well as a complex conception of the ideal state depicted in the work “The Republic”. In this connection, it should be outlined that Plato emphasizes benefits of life in the society. He claims that “for justice is the order of the State, and the State is the visible embodiment of justice under the conditions of human society” (Plato 12). Therefore, it is possible to argue that the purpose of the state, in Plato’s opinion, lies in the good life and justice. Furthermore, it should be asserted that justice has the direct nexus with knowledge according to Plato.

Apart from the above, Plato asserts that the ideal governor of the state must be a philosopher. In order to substantiate the aforesaid proposition Plato makes attempts to investigate the nature of human beings. His discourse is directed towards investigations of the prerequisites for being spoiled. According to Plato, many people are spoiled and only few of them manage to evade spoiling (Plato 365). In this connection, Plato’s reasoning helps to explicate the hypothesis that a true philosopher must be a lover of not only a part of wisdom, but of the whole. In addition, a genuine philosopher is obliged to adore knowledge and be a true lover of the “vision of truth” (Plato 337). Also, a philosopher must be capable to apprehend discrepancies between just and unjust things, good and evil, and of other phenomena. In the final analysis, the sheer distinction between philosophers and non-philosophers lies in the ability of the former ones to discern absolute beauty from the artificial products (Plato 339). Taking into account the aforementioned characteristics, it should be claimed that only philosophers are potent to preside over the state in accordance with justice which is deemed the highest subsistent form in the world. According to Plato, if the statesmen are not philosophers, the negligence of their unaccustomed mind may feasibly lead the state towards degradation and self-destruction. In view of the above, the conception of the higher state will be materialized only if the individual justice in every citizen corresponds with the ubiquitous justice in the state. As far as the individual justice is concerned, it should be claimed that Plato associates the aforementioned justice with the proper functioning of such components of the soul (mind) as rational, concupiscent and irascible elements.

Besides, in accordance with Plato’s assertions, in the higher state “no man calls anything his own,” and there is neither “marrying nor giving in marriage, as well as “kings are philosophers” and “philosophers are kings” (Plato 8). According to Taylor, the first sign of the degradation of the ideal state into a “timocracy” is the acquisition of personal property by the two upper classes (Taylor 277).

Likewise, it should be emphasized that the statesmen’ focus on the development of education is one of the preconditions to the enhancement of the state. Plato convinces that when the higher state is developed there will be no interchangeable cycles in the political history. Therefore, Plato’s understanding of the ideal state should be generalized in the following points. At first, education should be censored in order to prevent the promotion of immorality by means of drama and poetry. At second, education should accentuate primarily on morality and philosophy in order to nurture the good society. At third, private property and marriage in the two upper classes should be taken under the state control. At fourth, the prudence of the state is embodied in the class of governors or guardians. At fifth, the courage of the state is provided by the Auxiliaries. At sixth, the individual justice of every resident makes impact on the ubiquitous justice in the state. At seventh, the individual justice may be properly manifested by way of consensus and correlation between rational, concupiscent and irascible fundamentals of the soul.

Apart from the above, it should be admitted that Machiavelli highly praises political arguments of Plato. Moreover, Machiavelli’s political research is considered to be affected by works of Plato and other philosophers of Ancient Greece. In this connection, it should be mentioned that the principle political ideas of Machiavelli are set forth in his work “The Prince”. Nevertheless, it should be differentiated between Plato’s apprehension of the ideal state and the Machiavellian’s one. As far as Machiavelli is concerned, it should be stated that the major endeavors that regards his investigations are aimed at the issues of the political power and ruler’s character. Also, Niccolo Machiavelli’s ideas have made an undeniable influence on the contemporary government (Jacobus).

To start with, it should be ascertained that the concept of goodness is interpreted by Machiavelli in a specific way. Contrary to Plato, Machiavelli discerns citizens’ goodness from the governor’s one. According to the author of “The Prince” successes in ruling should not be juxtaposed with the goodness of the ruler. Furthermore, the philosopher strives to exemplify the failure of goodness claiming, that Alexander the Great being a man of such great goodness has both presided over the empire during fourteen years and conducted a fair justice in order to save every man from undeserved death. Notwithstanding, the aforesaid goodness, he has been despised, betrayed and killed by his own entourage (Machiavelli 104). 

In view of the above, it is reasonable to presume that goodness does not guarantee power and, in Machiavelli’s opinion, the good person has no more authority by reason of being good. Hence, in contrast to the moralistic theory, Machiavelli suggests that only issues of acquisition and maintenance of power constitute the most essential task for the governor.

Likewise, Machiavelli denies significance of liberality as an attribute of power. According to the author of “The Prince”, the governor is incapable to exercise honestly the virtue of liberality because the necessity to maintain his reputation of a liberal ruler will cause total expenditure of his finances and further augmentation of the taxing policy in order to recollect money (Machiavelli 85). Furthermore, Machiavelli expresses confidence that the wise ruler should not be afraid of the reputation of being mean because in time he will be considered capable both to defend himself against all attacks and to participate in enterprises “without burdening his people” (Machiavelli 86).

In addition to the aforementioned arguments, it should be purported that Machiavelli addresses the issues of cruelty and clemency as well. In his opinion, every governor ought to be deemed clement and not cruel (Machiavelli 88). Nonetheless, the ruler should be mindful in order to prevent the wrong application of clemency. Cesare Borgia’s behavior may serve as an example of the reciprocal relationships between cruelty and clemency. According to Machiavelli, Borgia being cruel has managed to both reconcile Romagna and return it to peace and loyalty. In this connection, Borgia has become more merciful than the Florentines “who have permitted Pistoia to be destroyed” in order to escape a reputation for cruelty (Machiavelli 88). Thus, the ruler is suggested to be clement as well as cruel in the certain circumstances.

Likewise, the issue of renown in respect of the ruler is also discussed by the author of “The Prince”. According to Machiavelli, the governor ought to accentuate on the great enterprises and illustrate a fine example (Machiavelli 115). In addition, it should be claimed that the ruler’s reputation of a genuine friend or a downright enemy may enhance respect. In the final analysis, it should be stated that the ruler’s secretaries, in Machiavelli’s opinion, play a fairly important role in his political character. According to the philosopher, “the first opinion which one forms of a prince; and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him” (Machiavelli 120). In this connection, it should be assumed that capable and faithful entourage contributes to the ruler’s reputation of a wise governor.

In view of the above, it should be generalized that the principle characteristics of the Machiavelli’s ideal state are the following. At first, the strength of the state depends on the ruler’s character. At second, only proper application of power may assuredly assist the ruler in retaining safety and security in the state. At third, good laws in conjunction with the force comprise the manifold basis of a well-ordered political structure. At forth, the ruler must not be bound by the tenets of goodness and morality in order to apply cruelty if necessary. At fifth, the Machiavellian “lo stato” embodies particular features of a monarchy and a dominium which emphasizes the ruler’s ownership and control over the state.

In the final analysis, it should be supposed, that despite being affected by Plato, Machiavelli has elaborated his own original concept of ideal state which is quite contradictory to Plato’s one. According to Plato, an effective government may be exercised by the just rulers who highly appreciate moral virtues. Moreover, Plato provides no distinction between the private and public life. In Ancient Greece such phenomenon as the invasion of privacy never subsists. On the other hand, Machiavelli univocally defends immoral measures which may be undertaken by the governor in favor of his endeavors to do whatever is necessary to maintain the power in the country. In this connection, it should be ascertained that Plato dispraises such type of rulers who governs exclusively by might. Besides, discrepancies between Plato and Machiavelli’s characters of the ruler lie in the  approaches to the concept of virtue. In this connection, it should be admitted that Plato juxtaposes the virtue with morality while Machiavelli emphasizes non-moral and utilitarian dimensions of virtue. In addition, it should be stated that Plato in his conception of the ideal state elucidates tenets of the utopian idealism while the Machiavellian ideal state manifests features of realism.

After everything has been given due to considerations, it should be supposed that both concepts of the ideal state are imperfect regardless of being well-elaborated. As far as Plato’s republic is concerned, it should be emphasized that his state model is very over-idealized. Taking into consideration, that the contemporary society is very complex as well as dependent on the tenets of privacy, it is almost impossible to eliminate the verge between the private life and public affairs. Nevertheless, the factor of moral education in conjunction with a wise government may assist in overwhelming a wide range of social problems. On the hand, the Machiavellian concept of the ideal state offers more advantages than Plato’s one. The contemporary state may become very powerful and prosperous governed by the wise and caring ruler if properly based on arguments of Machiavelli. However, the misinterpretation of Machiavelli may result in creation of anti-democratic states similar to the Nazi Germany and the Fascism Italy.

Apart from the above, it should be proclaimed that the relevancy of the ideal state should be traced in the efforts to create a world government. According to Babic and Bojanic, the world governance is a fairly discussable issue correlative with the problems of peace and well-being in the world (Babic and Bojanic). In this connection, it should be claimed that the world governance should combine the best traits of the Plato’s ideal state and Machiavelli’s perfect ruling. It should be suggested that the world governors must embody characteristics of both moral and strong rulers. Reasonable fusion of the philosopher and the strategist may give birth to the ideal ruler. Therefore, it should be conceded that immorality and cruelty are not relevant traits.

It is possible to draw a conclusion that the ideal state must include both the moral ruling according to Plato and the reciprocity of law and force according to Machiavelli. The reasonable use of law and force makes the governor insuperable. Therefore, the thesis statement has been verified as true.