Best Form of Government: Philosophy Argument
The suitability of particular form of a government in a given country depends on specific factors (Abizadeh, 2011). For example, the forms of government practiced in certain countries are influenced by the past governmental structure of the country, the country’s geographical region, the external influence, number of citizens, natural resources and size of the state (Fankhauser, Gennaioli, & Collins, 2014). The debate on which the best form of government has been going over decades. It is difficult to determine the best form of government since; different forms are meant to serve different interests (Fred, 2011). Besides, each form of government has its own merits and demerits. However, the suitability of different forms in different contexts does not justify all forms of government as the best. There are forms of the government that are more beneficial than others. For example, the democracy and monarchy have been voted as the best forms of government than others. Among the two forms of government, the research has shown that democracy is the most beneficial form of government compared to monarchy and others. However, the philosophical point of view does not recognize the two forms of government as the best. For example, Plato and Aristotle explore the best form of government from a philosophical point of view, and as a result, they vote for aristocracy as the best government. Plato answers the question of the best government the best. Besides that Aristotle advocates for aristocracy as the best government, he emphasizes on mixed government. Based on the Plato and Aristotle’s philosophical position on the best government, Plato appears to have coined the best definition. Plato solely prefers aristocracy as the best government. He goes ahead to compare aristocracy with other forms government to emphasize on its effectiveness. Plato maintains that aristocracy is the best form of government and calls for the governments to employ appropriate mechanisms to make sure it is maintained. On the other side, Aristotle also prefers aristocracy as the best government. Nevertheless, he advocates for the mixed government in the event the best government (aristocracy) turn into the next stages. According to Aristotle, the mixed government will address core interests of the citizens. There is no doubt that both Plato and Aristotle philosophical positions vote for aristocracy as the best government. However, Plato is solely for the aristocracy while Aristotle advocates for the mixed government. Therefore, Plato defines the best government the best.
As depicted above, the best form of government can be explained from the positions of two Philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. In advocating for the aristocracy, Plato argues that there are amazing forms of government that strive to bring equality between the unequal and equals (Allen, 2006). However, these forms of government bring some disorder that calls for the intervention of other tactics to resolve them. At this juncture, Plato strives to put across that there is no particular stable form of government since each form is likely to develop into the next stage and even for the aristocracy government to stand there must be a political will and right people must be allowed to run the government. According to Plato, aristocracy is the best government when compared to other four forms of government, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny (Allen, 2006).Plato illustrates aristocracy as the best government since it exercises political governance. In fact, he called it the government of the best. This type of governance gives education and excellence the priority whereby the achievement of these two objectives is governed by the observance of equality (Allen, 2006). If aristocracy is not well maintained it transforms into the government of honor or timocracy, the first form of government that Plato compares with the aristocracy. The government of honor is a form of government whereby the leader is more involved in improving the welfare of the subjects, hence granting him or her the honor. Based on Plato Republic premises, timocracy stage of government is important because of the inequality and chaos that exist among the people hence calling for the intervention of the state (Allen, 2006). However, Plato disputes timocracy government because he believes it gives room for the rich to mistreat the poor.
The timocracy form of government develops into an oligarchy. Plato outlined that oligarchy is the government of the few, the rich who rules over the majority poor (Allen, 2006). Therefore, its benefits cannot match those of aristocracy. Oligarchy government arises as a result of the inequality and chaos that lead to accumulation of a lot of wealth among the few individuals in the society. As a result, the nation loses its respect that is supposed to guide its excellence. The loopholes created by the oligarchy form of government gives an avenue for the rich to rule and suppress the marginalized, a trait that does not exist in the aristocracy government. The few rich are always afraid of the majority poor. Therefore, they will employ deterrence strategies that hinder the poor from prospering for the fear that once they marginalized are empowered they will turn against them (rich) and as a result, the nation will become a weak state. This form of government has been proven to contribute to the extreme poverty that brings high levels of illiteracy and crime (Allen, 2006).Once the majority poor feels oppressed by the rich, they will advocate for the democratic form of the government which according to Plato is one of the worst forms of government. Plato believed that democracy is the form of government whereby every individual in the society wants to be rich. (Allen, 2006). The birth of this government comes as result of the poor who feels suppressed and engage in revolutions that end up killing or exiling the rich rulers. The poor come up with the new government in which the freedom is their priority. Plato perceives this form of government as disadvantageous. For example, democracy government disregards the law whereby nobody wants to be ruled (Allen, 2006). Despite that, the democratic government has a ruler who is, of course, richer than the rest of the population and as a result, the subjects perceive the democracy ruler as an oligarch. This perception among the ruled gives birth to the defender of democracy.
Plato terms the defender of democratic government as the worst leader. The defender of the democracy pretends to be kind and promises their followers a paradise. Plato noted the defenders of democracy uses this approach to overthrow the rulers of the day, and after defending democracy to the point where it is no longer necessary, they create problems to solicit allegiance from their subjects (Allen, 2006). Later, people realize that the defender of the democracy is no longer needed and start revolting against him. The ruled actions lead to the worst form of government, tyranny whereby too much power is bestowed in the ruler. In comparing the four forms of government to the aristocracy, Plato was trying to illustrate that it is hard to have a stable form of government because even aristocracy, the best government is likely to deteriorate if there are no appropriate mechanisms to maintain it.Just like Plato, Aristotle considered aristocracy as the best form of government. Although Aristotle perceived kingship and constitutional forms of government as best as aristocracy, he noted they are all abusive especially when the rulers focus on achieving their self-interests instead of that of the subjects (Fred, 2011). For example, kingship changes into tyranny and constitutional form of government turn into the democracy. Aristotle depicts that kingship, constitutional and oligarchy governments as having negative effects on the society (Clayton, 2012). First, oligarchy involves the rule by the few rich who focus only on accumulating wealth at the expense of the majority poor. Secondly, democracy is government the majority poor who focus on addressing the interests of the disadvantaged. Additionally, democracy has serious drawbacks because nobody wants to be ruled. Third, Tranny form of government that develops from monarchy serves the interests of the tyrannical ruler (Fred, 2011).
Aristotle disputes democracy and oligarchy on the grounds that they contribute to inequality in the society and a constitutional government on the basis that it does not ensure justice, unlike the aristocracy government. Aristotle goes ahead by arguing that democracy grants equality in individuals with respect to free birth only while oligarchy wealth accumulation aspects forms the basis of inequality. According to Aristotle, free birth and wealth cannot form the sufficient basis for determining equality as it is the case with aristocracy government. Instead, he advocates for the governments that promote intellectual virtue and moral elements. Aristotle argues that it is only aristocracy government that can ensure equality, and it is only equality that guarantees a stable constitution. Good governments prioritize humankind happiness and virtue as the ultimate goals (Clayton, 2012).
Despite that Plato and Aristotle advocates for aristocracy as the best government, there is a range of objections disputing its effectiveness. For example, Jürgen Herbamas, the advocator of democracy argue that aristocracy leadership is bestowed to the few privileged individuals and therefore, this government may not reflect the ambitions and interests of the majority (Bohman & William, 2007 ). However, this argument can be counteracted by exploring how nations advocating for democracy select their leaders. For example, the American founders of democracy relied on philosophical premises of Aristotle and Plato to ensure the government was run by the right individuals in the society. Secondly, it has been judged that aristocracy government gives birth to leaders who cannot be held accountable for their actions. However, bearing in the mind that aristocracy focus on improving the welfare of the people it would be difficult to abuse their power. Besides, if the government is put in the hands of the right people, it would be hard for leaders to abuse their power and therefore, there will be no need for checks and balances. Thirdly, there is an objection that aristocracy based governments prevent their citizens from exercising civil privileges and liberties since the leader can pass unjust policies to suit their interests. However, Locke notes that aristocracy governments can only mistreat their subjects if the leadership is in the hands of the wrong leaders (Johnson, 2012).Fourth, Jürgen Herbamas opposes the aspect of hereditary leadership in aristocracy on the grounds that the successors may not be good as predecessors. Additionally, it has been argued that aristocracy locks out talented leaders in the society who may be having outstanding leadership skills (Bohman & William, 2007 ). However, this argument does not hold since the existence of advisers prevents the occurrence of a single dictator. Besides, aristocracy involve a few leaders compared to other forms of government and as a result, reduces the cases disagreements and political deadlocks. This has been one of the major reasons why aristocracy is the best form of government. The factors, happiness, intellectual virtue, moral and protection of the common interests of the citizens that Aristotle suggests to be addressed by a true constitution, can only be achieved with the aristocracy government (Clayton, 2012).
Based on the analysis covered in this paper, it is difficult to determine what the best form of government is. Ideally, many people perceive democracy and monarchy as the best forms of government. However, the philosophical premises as exhibited by Plato and Aristotle depicts democracy as one of the worst forms of government. According to the two philosophers, the best government should focus on addressing the common interests and welfare of the citizens. Aristocracy, as supported by Plato and Aristotle, is the best form of government since it involves improving the subjects’ intellectual virtue and welfare. However, Aristotle adopts a different approach in determining what the best form of government is by noting that what is perceived as the best government may not be ideally the best. Aristotle position finds its basis on the facts that certain factors determine a government suitable to a particular state. Therefore, Aristotle advocates for the mixed government, but still maintains that aristocracy is the best form of government. Likewise, Plato votes for the aristocracy.