Political Philosophy 101: Introduction and Forms of Government


INTRODUCTION

In the past one hundred years, our government has slowly turned away from the principles and wisdom of the Founders who established the United States of America and created the Constitution of the United States and its amendments, whose initial ten amendments referred to as the Bill of Rights. The corruption and the growth of power within the central, federal government that the original thirteen colonies feared has come about because an apathetic and absence of values, sometimes called morals has permeated the society whose responsibility was and is to protect and retain those principles established within the Constitution and its amendments. It is also because society has allowed ideologists of foreign politics and ideologies to be looked upon as an alternate improvement to that which was established as a constitutional republic.

The American people have developed apathy and distrust of its government, yet they continue to elect and support those who want to retain those unconstitutional powers established in the past fifty years, molding each generation into their political ideology instead of that which created the constitutional republic.

In the Presidential Election of 2012, the battle between those who have progressed towards a socialist, statist state and those who demand a return of liberties lost and reestablishment of the constitutional republic. However, the Republican Party, whose name was derived from the type of government, established by the Founders, have proved itself, as a political entity (organization) in the actions of its members, do not follow its professed political platform that would reform our government back to a constitutional republic. The GOP Political Platform of 2012 was entitled We Believe in America. However, the popular vote showed that Americans did not trust the alternate choice of political power in Washington, DC, as well as state elected offices. It is as I have written in previous articles that the American people choose the lesser of two evils. This phenomenon has been caused by a couple of major issues …

  • the American voter does not hold the primary elections as important as the national elections,
  • the American voter continues to vote for the very politicians and same ideology of freshman congressional members, who have created issues and problems we face; and
  • The American voters, as well as politicians, have not faced the reality that if something does not work; the issue reevaluated as to what solution would work. The latter being a mindset of “business as usual” being more comfortable than change.

As Ron Paul in his farewell speech to Congress and the American people clearly states, the federal government has superseded the Constitution’s limitation of federal powers and has refused to delegate certain authority back to the states, which is in reality back to the hands of the people. An example would be the educational system. The federal government views the degradation of our national educational system not as a problem of unconstitutional powers, but a problem requiring more funding. The federal government and most state governments have allowed a private entity, the trade union, to gain power through political connections and funding, over the government employee’s role in government, which in turn has increased the cost of government as well as helped in increasing the bureaucracy it now holds and continues to grow.

We the Peopleelect those who have little or no knowledge of political science, although a degree in that area should not be required – knowledge and respect for the Constitution and its amendments is required. Primarily we have elected lawyers, which theoretically one would think would be a good thing because their vocation is civic law, especially important when selecting Supreme Court justices at federal and state levels. However, lawyers are trained to seek loopholes, and they exercise that tool in seeking to achieve their political goals, disregarding the concepts of the constitutional republic for which our nation was founded.
This treatise, among several essays, meant to introduce fellow Americans to the overview of political science, Constitution 101, if you will. Knowledge of our Constitution and amendments is essential and we can gain that knowledge with no formal higher education, like Benjamin Franklin. It is time to self-educate ourselves and bring back important values and Golden Rule morality within our society – which can be accomplished with or without belief in any specific religion or none at all. The gist of all of this is to ignite a spark of interest into a flame of desire to wrestle back our government from the progressives who move toward the dissolving of our constitutional republic, whatever political entity they swear allegiance to. It has become increasingly more important in elections that people support political entities whose goal is gaining the majority, thus the power than it is to vote for, choose, constitutional-minded candidates. We the People should have first loyalty to the Constitution and its amendments, protecting it and ensure it is the foundation of all legislation and policies of our federal government.
Thus begins the Lighthouse Patriot Journal series to attempt to achieve those aforementioned goals …
According to the Wikipediaentry for Political Science:

Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government, and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state.[1] It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior. … Political science intersects with other fields; including economics, law, sociology, history, anthropology, public administration, public policy, national politics, international relations, comparative politics, psychology, political organization, and political theory. Although it was codified in the 19th century, when all the social sciences were established, political science has ancient roots; indeed, it originated almost 2,500 years ago with the works of Plato and Aristotle.[3]
Political science is commonly divided into three distinct sub-disciplines which together constitute the field:

Aristotle[384-322 BC] has been considered the “Father of Political Science”. The Founders of the United States, particularly Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams were students of classical ancient history, as it was an important part of the curriculum at colleges of the time. By studying ancient authors like Plato and his works – The Republicand Laws, The Politicsand Nicomachean Ethicsby Aristotle enabled their decision to choose a form of government that would work for the people.
In addition, the Founders examined the works of Polybius, Livy, and Plutarch who documented the rise of the Roman Republic. Polybius stated that Roman law is the medulla. [Aabriel Abraham (2002), Ventures in Political Science, Lynne Rienner Publishers, p. 29]
Traditional Eastern politics and government in India and Asia can be traced to the Rig-Veda, Samhitas, Brahmanas, Mahabharata, and Buddhist Pali Canon. In East Asia, Mohism (utilitarian philosophy), Taoism, Legalism, and Confucianismdominated.
In West Asia there was the works of the Rubaiyet of Omar Khayyam (Persia) and Middle Eastern Aristotelians (Avicenna, Maimonides, and Averroes) continued the tradition and ideology of Aristotle’s works.
The principles of established concepts of liberty that Founders of the United States applied are explained in the YouTube video entitled The Philosophy of Liberty.
The concepts and political philosophies of the Founders, lived during an age called Enlightenment, and in order for the present government, the people must initiate an enlightened age once again. We the People have allowed a minority of people, special interest groups, and economically powerful individuals and organizations to pollute the form and ideology of government created and established of the United States. It was all established around the nucleus of liberty.
French philosophers Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot were influential during the Age of Enlightenment. Thomas Hobbes had a theory of social contract, believing that a strong central power, like a monarchy, was necessary to rule the selfishness of the individual, but did not believe in the divine right of kings.
John Locke gave us Two Treatises of Government who also did not believe in the divine right of kings, but sided with Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle in that humans are happiest in a state of social harmony. According to Locke, an absolute ruler as proposed by Hobbes is unnecessary, for natural law is based on reason and equality, seeking peace and survival for man.
Thomas Jeffersonand John Adams were men of logic and students of the concept of natural law, and thus inserted in context of the Declaration of Independence to describe the stance of the American colonists and their wishes of liberty. Religion, which had dominated politics in the history of Western civilization since the ancient Greek and Roman governments, separated from state politics. In institutions of higher learning, social sciences became included with material sciences and politics became a science to be studied in overall education in order to produce enlightened generations that would protect and keep the constitutional republic that the Founders created. Divine power was recognized as the ultimate authority and the People the authority over government, designed to serve the People and not the people serving government as too many nations and states had previously maintained.
In 1787, Alexander Hamilton, founder and first Secretary of the Treasury, wrote:

The science of politics like most other sciences has received great improvement. [The Federalist Papers, Number 9 and 51]

Benjamin Franklinwas a man of many interests, and unlike the other Founders, like Thomas Jeffersonand John Adams, was self-educated and was part of the Enlightenment movement in the American colonies created into the United States. By the late 19th century, political science had become an integral part of university academic discipline with the creation of university departments and chairs with the title of political scientists for those who earned a doctorate in the field. In 1903, the American Political Science Association was founded and the American Political Science Review was founded in 1906 in order to distinguish politics from studies of economics and social phenomena. Later organizations established as “think tanks” were made up of members whose background in political science included economics, foreign affairs, and domestic society combined with psychology. Classification of political ideology, the three major ones being conservative, libertarian, and liberalismdivided these think tanks. For example of conservative think tanks in the United States, there is Heritage Foundation. Cato Institute is a convergence of Libertarianand Conservative political philosophy, based upon what the Founders, the Federalists, had established.
Government is defined as an administrative group of people from within the society who are provided authority to govern a political state.
The forms of government throughout human history are:
  • ANARCHY – a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of government authority.
  • COMMONWEALTH – a nation, state, or other political entity founded on law and united by a compact of the people for the common good. This was adopted by certain American colonial states under the jurisdiction of the British government, its monarchy and its parliament.
  • COMMUNISM – a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian, party holds power over the people. State controls are imposed with the elimination of private ownership of property or capital while claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people to form a classless society.
  • CONFEDERACY or CONFEDERATION – a union by compact or treaty between states, provinces, or territories that creates a central government with limited powers. The constituent entities retain supreme authority over all matters except those delegated to the central government. This was the form of temporary government enacted during the American War of Independence.
  • CONSTITUIONAL – a government by or operating under an authoritive document (constitution) that sets forth the system of fundamental laws and principles that determines the nature, functions, and limits of that government. The Constitution of the United States and its amendments is the foundation of our form of government.
  • CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY – a form of government in which the sovereign power of the people spelled out in a governing constitution. Democracy is not mention in the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution of the United States, although many Americans misconstrue this form of government as to what the Founders had in mind.
  • CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY – a system of government in which a monarch is guided by a constitution whereby his/her rights, duties, and responsibilities are spelled out in written law or by custom. This was the original choice of government for some of the founders; making George Washington the first monarch of the United States. However, President, formerly General, Washington would have none of it, and along with other founders insisted that the United States not have this form of government based upon its pitfalls proven in history. There is not any separation of powers so to speak and the endangerment of the constitution being ignored or changed unrecognizably.
  • DEMOCRACY – a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but which is usually exercised indirectly through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically renewed. This form of government was conceived and initiated by the ancient Greeks, but eventually proved to only be a government ruled by the mob; where the majority can dissolve the liberties and freedom of a minority.
  • DEMOCRACTIC REPUBLIC – a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them. Another form of government the Founders of the United States considered, but rejected as a whole ideology. As the Founders feared, democracy can change to pure democracy, consume itself, and then become an oligarchy or anarchy.
  • ECCLESIASTICAL – a government administered by a church. [See Theocracy]
  • FEDERAL (Federative) – a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided – usually by means of a constitution – between a central authority and a number of constituent regions (states, colonies, or provinces) so that each region retains some management of its internal affairs. Federative differs from a confederacy in that the central government exerts influence directly upon both individuals as well as the regional units.
  • FEDERAL REPUBLIC – a state where the powers of the central government are restricted and the component parts (state, colonies, or provinces) retain a degree of self-government. Ultimate sovereign power rests with the voters who choose their governmental representatives.
  • MAOISM – the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism developed in China by Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), which states that a continuous revolution is necessary if the leaders of a communist state are to keep in touch with the people.
  • MARXISM – the political, economic, and social principles espoused by 19th century economist Karl Marx. He viewed the struggle of workers as a progression of historical forces that would proceed from a class struggle of the proletariat (workers) exploited by capitalists (business owners), to a socialist “dictatorship of the proletariat”, to finally, a classless society – communism.
  • MARXISM-LENINISM – an expanded form of communism developed by Lenin from doctrines of Karl Marx. Lenin saw imperialism as the final state of capitalism and shifted the focus of workers’ struggle from developed to underdeveloped countries.
  • MONARCHY – a government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a monarch who reigns over a state or territory, usually for life and by hereditary right. The monarch may be either a sole absolute ruler or a sovereign, such as a king, queen, or prince, with constitutionally limited authority.
  • OLIGARCHY – a government in which control is exercised by a small group of individuals whose authority generally is based on wealth or power.
  • PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY – a political system in which the legislature (parliament) selects the government, a prime minister, premier, or chancellor along with the cabinet ministers, according to party strength as expressed in elections. By this system, the government acquires a dual responsibility: to the people as well as to the parliament.
  • PARLIAMENTARY-CABINET GOVERNMENT – a government in which members of an executive branch (the cabinet and its leader) are nominated to their positions by a legislature or parliament, and are directly responsible to it. This type of government can be dissolved at will by the parliament (legislature) by means of a no confidence vote or the leader of the cabinet may dissolve the parliament if it can no longer function.
  • REPUBLIC – a representative democracy in which the people’s elected deputies (representatives), not the people themselves, vote on legislation.
  • SOCIALISM – a government in which the means of planning, producing, and distributing goods is controlled by a central government that theoretically seeks a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor. In actuality, most socialist governments have ended up being no more than dictatorships over workers by a ruling elite. In addition, it usually fails economically.
  • SULFANATE – similar to a monarchy, but a government in which the supreme power is in the hands of a sultan or Caliph (head of a Muslim state – Islamic Caliph). The Sultan or Caliph may be an absolute ruler or a sovereign with constitutionally limited authority.
  • THEOCRACY – a form of government in which a Deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, but the Deity’s laws are interpreted by ecclesiastical authorities like bishops, mullahs, et cetera. A government subject to religious authority.
  • TOTALITARIAN – a government that seeks to subordinate the individual to the state by controlling not only all political and economic matters, but also the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population. This is what the United States government has been progressing towards and/or oligarchy through socialist ideology.
BIBLIOGRAPHY and SOURCES
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