I believe that the only way order can be reached in a democracy is when the citizens follow the rules established by the state, peacefully change the rules of the state they do not agree with

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This I Believe

“Achieving order is the ultimate goal in any democratic form of government. Order is a state in civil society where the rights and survivorship of the citizens are protected and maintained,” says Doctor of Political Science, Peter Kierst (Kierst Lecture). Civil societies are created when sovereigns leave because order does not exist in the state of nature. According to Thomas Hobbs, although the state of nature is free, it is a violent place where humans are cruel to one another (Kierst Lecture). Consequently, to achieve order in a civilization, law must be enforced. However, order isn’t always reached in a democracy because over time and as leadership changes, laws lose legitimacy to the citizens. I believe that the only way order can be reached in a democracy is when the citizens follow the rules established by the state, peacefully change the rules of the state they do not agree with, and leave the state when they no longer want to follow the rules of the state.

While I believe that order is an achievable goal in a democracy, there are likely those who think differently. There are those who believe that order will never exist in a society because there is no way to peacefully change laws in a society—that the only way for citizens to change unjust laws is through violence and riots. In addition, those who are prescriptive readers of Machiavelli would suggest that order cannot be maintained because all citizens will not always follow the laws of the state and the few will ruin it for the many who do abide by the laws. As Machiavelli describes in his work The Prince, “. . . anyone who would act up to a prefect standard of goodness in everything, must be ruined among so many who are not good” (Machiavelli 229). As long as the few continue to ruin it for the many, order cannot be achieved in a democracy. In addition, it is not just citizens who ruin order for the many; leaders can disrupt order as well. Machiavelli states, “He ought not to quit good courses if he can help it, but should know how to follow evil courses if he must” (Machiavelli 233). From this it can be asserted that order will never be maintained because laws are always unjust because they are enforced by corrupt leaders.

While those who oppose the idea that order can be maintained in society make valid assertions, historic figures and historic events can refute those assertions. First, examples led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Socrates which demonstrate that that laws can be changed peacefully dispute the idea that violence and rots are the only way to change unjust laws. Both Socrates and Dr. King used philosophical, non-violent, means to achieve change in laws. Secondly, when citizens choose to longer follow civil laws of the state they are breaking a contract with the state in which citizens make when they give up their sovereignty to be governed by the state. If the wish is to no longer be governed by the state, they may return to the state of nature. Lastly, when unjust laws are enforced by corrupt leaders, citizens in a democratic society have the privilege to replace leaders who are no longer protecting the rights and survivorship of the citizens.

Laws, rules and restrictions are established to protect the citizens in a society. When humans leave the state of nature to live in a civil society and endeavor to leave their barbaric rituals behind, often times their natural animal instincts of survival of the fittest remain. Humans, like all animals, have a natural instinct to acquire land and possessions (Kierst Lecture). Violence is the result when one human wishes to acquire the possessions of another. In nature, the fittest will take possessions from the weak. Therefore, the weakest must submit to the strongest. This however, this is not true in a civil society. Civil societies protect the rights of all citizens, not just those who are fit. The only way to protect the rights of everyone is to create rules that apply to all citizens. Therefore, in a democratic society laws apply to all citizens and are created to protect the rights of everyone. Order is then achieved when the citizens of the state obey the laws of the state. As Plato states in The Crito, “he who is a corrupter of the laws is more than likely to be a corrupter of the young and foolish portion of mankind” (Palto 243). Order is not achieved when people do not follow the laws because they inspire others to break the laws as well, creating chaos.

Order can still be achieved in a democracy when citizens do not agree with the laws of the society through peaceful means of change. Citizens create a society when they give up their sovereignty to form a government. Since government is formed by people, laws must reflect the views of the people and since citizens create society, they also can change society. The most effective way to change society and achieve order is through peaceful means as demonstrated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was an advocate for changing discrimination laws through non-violent means, such as sit-ins and protests. He used words and symbolic demonstrations to change unjust laws in the southern part of the United States. Although he wanted the government to change, he never used violent means that would cause disorder. He states in his work, Letter from a Birmingham City Jail, “In no sense do I advocate ending or defying the laws as the rabid segregationist would do. This would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty” (MLK 249). Here, Dr. King defends those who seek to change unjust laws, as long as they do it in non-violent ways. Dr. King defines the difference in just and unjust laws as “any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust” (MLK 248). Citizens have the right to change laws which they feel no longer protect the rights and survivorship of humans. By changing unjust laws peacefully, citizens prevent revolts and, therefore, preserve the order of the society.

When citizens do not want to change unjust laws or abide by the current laws, the only way to maintain order is for those opposing citizens to leave the society. Plato demonstrates this rule for leaving the state in his work, The Crito. In The Crito, Socrates depicts the Athenian laws by stating, “any Athenian by the liberty which we allow him, that if he does not like us when he has become of age and has seen the ways of the city, and made our acquaintance, he may go where he pleases and take his goods with him” (Plato 241). Socrates goes on to say “he who has experience of the manner in which we order justice and administer the state, and still remains, has entered into an implied contract that he will do as we command him” (Plato 241). Socrates states here that when a citizen joins a democracy and they learn the rules of the democracy they have the option to leave if they do not intend to follow the rules. However, if a citizen chooses to stay and remain a part of the society, they are implying that they will obey the rules of the society. Therefore, order will be restored when members of a society leave a democracy when they no longer wish to follow the implied contract they made with the society.

Sovereign who participate in the state of nature are transformed into citizens when they give up they sovereignty to be protected by a government. Therefore, it is the job of the government to maintain order among the citizens so that the rights of the citizens can be preserved. John Locke believed in a human being’s right for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (Kierst Lecture). However, in the state of nature, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness cannot be achieved because of the natural human instinct is to weed out the weak. Governments are created to maintain the rights of all citizens through laws, enforcement of those laws, and punishment. Democracy can preserve order when the following are achieved: First, when citizens abide by the rules of the state, second, when citizens peacefully change unjust laws, and lastly when citizens leave the state when they no longer wish to follow the rules of the state. This is what I believe.

Works Cited

In Class Handout. Niccolo Machiavelli. The Prince. Bruce Carroll’s English 102

Section 20 Class. UNM. April 2009.

In Class Handout. Plato. The Crito. Bruce Carroll’s English 102

Section 20 Class. UNM. April 2009.

In Class Handout. Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from Birmingham City Jail. Bruce

Carroll’s English 102 Section 20 Class. UNM. April 2009.

In Class Lecture. Dr. Peter Kierst’s Politica Science 110 Section 001 Class. UNM.

February 2009.

List of Argumentations
1.) Definition

2.) Definition

3.) Hypothetical Situation

4.) Example

5.) Deductive Reasoning

6.) Example

7.) Example

8.) Deductive Reasoning

9.) Factual Data / Expert Testimony

10.) Deductive Reasoning

11.) Example

12.) Example

13.) Personal Testimony

14.) Definition

15.) Definition

16.) Example

17.) Hypothetical Situation

18.) Deductive Reasoning

19.) Factual Data

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