As it is very important which person of

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As the state is the supreme or sovereign power deciding the rules of social life, it is very important which person of group has the power to make the rules, the extend of that rule making power, and limits to that power. Poggi believed that because coercion can be put into so many uses, it is critical that it should be exercised in as restrained and controlled manor as is compatible with its effectiveness. Hobbs for his part thought that the significance of this sovereign power lay precisely in the fact that it was supreme and uncontrolled, since nothing less would suffice to maintain order and prevent the ‘war of all against all’. Liberal thinkers have sought to check and control the power of the state, believing that an uncontrolled state is an arbitrary power source, capable of annihilating sources of progress and diversity and hence of destroying the variety of civil society.

Anarchists see the authority of the state as absolute and unlimited: law can restrict public behaviour, limit political activity, regulate economic life, interfere with private morality and thinking. When people are linked together by a common humanity, they have no need to be regulated or controlled by government: as Bakunin proclaimed, ‘social solidarity is the first human law, freedom is the second’.( James Joll and the Anarchists,1979,p2).

Anarchists have often sympathised with the famous opening words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s social contract, ‘man was born free, yet everywhere he is in chains’. From this perspective, social order arises naturally and spontaneously, it does not require the machinery of law and order. The idea of a happy primitive world, a state of natural in which, so far from being engaged in a struggle of all against all, men lived in a state of mutual co-operation. The fundamental idea that man is by nature good and that it is institutions that corrupt him remains the basis of all anarchist thought.

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So, as we have seen the definition of a state is hard to define, yet there is certain similarities between different types of states. The aim and objectives of a state is thought to keep law and order in place, so as to create harmony and a civilised society. However, Marx believes that the state is nothing more than a machine, in the hands of the privileged class, and exploitation of the worker. It maintains class rule through repression and coercion, and that the liberal-democratic state disseminates the belief that all citizens and that ‘everyone counts for one and no-one for more than one’ is something the state propagates as a means of defending the existing order.

The Marxist view compared with pluralist view, denies that the state is a neutral agency for policy formation which is equally responsive to the demands of various pressure groups of society. The liberals in contrast sees the state as a necessary evil whose sole purpose is to secure individual rights, including property rights, and whose power has to be restricted. The Anarchists, Both Bakunin and Proudhon exclude anthority from society, setting up extreme individualism. I believe that the state is a necessity, and that human nature can be selfish, greedy and have the thirst for power, and therefore there is a need for law and order. However, I believe that human beings are shaped by the society in which they live, therefore human beings can be made bad for example by a particular kind of social order. I believe from what I understand the state to be, is not a centralised web of power but a shared power with equal distribution which does reflect the will of the people.


B.Goodwin ( 1992) Using Political Ideologies

A. Haywood ( 1998) Political Ideologies

D.Miller (1984) Anarchism

A.Callinicos (1996) The revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx

J.Schwartzmantel (1994) The sate in contemporary society.

Categories: Government


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