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Why Must the Happiness of the State Be Prior to the Happiness of Individuals

Essay by   •  May 14, 2011  •  Essay  •  316 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,622 Views

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Historically, Plato was the first influential Marxist and his "Republic" radiates Marxist/socialist ideas throughout. If one accepts that the "state", "society", "group" is more important than the individual then the welfare of "the state" supercedes the welfare of the individual. If one doesn't accept this then the ideology taught by Plato is simply irrelevant, although it is still worth reading "The Republic" to appreciate where some of the modern notions come from.

One of the most extreme examples of how flawed this notion is was Nazi Germany. Hitler's entire ideological approach involved the idea that the state was everything and individuals existed only for the benefit of the state. True, so-called "socialist" principles are based on the idea of equality (which Hitler was unconcerned about) but the fact is that such equality quickly gives way to thugs who learn how to manipulate it to their own advantage.

In a Utopian society run by "philosopher kings", none of whom would ever even think of doing anything for their own benefit, such a Republic" might have a chance with true egalitarian principles as a basis. The fact is that such a society can't exist due to the nature of man (some men, that is).

I, personally, think that the ideology proposed by Plato, Marx, and anyone esle who claims to be a "true" socialist or egalitarian simply has no relationship to reality and is wishful thinking (which usually leads nowhere) - but I am aware that there are a lot of (mostly younger) people who will strongly disagree with me.

For a great read, and a cogent example of what can happen when men do not benefit from the fruits of their own labor (such fruits being usurped by society) read "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand - one of the most vociferously anti-Marxist/anti-socialist writers I have read (and appreciated). Much of what she says in the novel has great relevance today.

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