Essay: Politics

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] References

Marsh, David and Stoker, Gerry (eds), Theory and Methods in Political

Science (London, Macmillan, 2002). Introduction and Chapter 1.

Schwarzmantel, J., The State in Contemporary Society (Harvester, 1994). Chapter 1.

Abstract

This paper examines the political philosophies of elitism and Marxism. The concepts associated with both philosophies are explored in-depth. The applications of both theories are also explored in-depth. Finally, the differences in the idea of political dominion that exist within these two philosophies are explored in-depth.

Elitism and Marxism: The Differences in their Explanations of Political Dominion

Elitism and Marxism are two political philosophies that are diametrically opposed to one another. While Marxism promotes the rule and control of the people at large, elitism focuses on how real political authority is only held by a few ruling elite. While Marxism promotes communism as a way of life, where all people work and live together for the common good, the theory or elitism leans toward monarchy and oligarchy. The two can not peacefully co-exist. This paper examines the differences in how the political philosophies of elitism and Marxism explain political dominion.

Elitism states that a country can only ever really be ruled by a small number of people -- the elite. It is difficult to get into the elite. Normally, most people must be born into it. There are certainly examples of the ruling elite in our nation, manifested in families that seem to produce leader after leader. The Kennedy family, the Bush family, the Adams family, the Rockefeller family, and the Roosevelt family have all produced their fair share of political leaders in this nation. At times, it has seemed as if the members of these families were able to rise to political prominence simply on the basis of their family name alone. This has been particularly true of members of the Kennedy family, a family which has at times seemed to be America's equivalent of a royal family. The mere mention of the Kennedy name is enough to get people in this country to take seriously what a Kennedy family member has to say about politics. The Kennedy family and other politically influential families in the United States are perfect examples of what constitutes the ruling elite as far as the theory of elitism goes.

Of course, in a nation such as the United States, it is somewhat easier for a person to rise to the ranks of the political elite than it would be for someone in a less democratic and freedom-loving country. There are avenues open to people, channels that they can take that have the potential and ability to raise someone up to that level. However, it is much easier to gain access to these ranks if one is born into such a family. Further, it takes money for the average person to gain access to the ranks of the political elite, something that the majority of Americans do not have nearly enough of to become a part of something like this.

In fact, the political elite in the United States are not restricted to being politicians. In actuality, the political elite do not even have to be well-known, or even known at all. The theory of elitism states that in an elitist society, many things are run behind the scenes by the wealthy, upper-crust of society. It is this wealth that allows extremely wealthy people to buy political influence. We have all heard the tales of wealthy people "buying" their Congressperson by using their money to ply that Congressperson into doing whatever the wealthy person wants. The fact is, this can and does happen, even though it happens behind the scenes where the average voting American can not see it happening. The wealthy in America have an enormous influence over the workings of the government because their money allows them to have this influence. In an ideal society, of course, money would not be able to stand in the way of the public good. However, in reality, money does talk, and it will make amazing things happen. Money even has the power to influence the president and the judiciary. The right money given, or the things done with money in exchange for political support can cause drastic changes in the way the country operates, sometimes seemingly overnight. In elitism, money is what buys political dominion. Most of the politically elite families in America today are there because they initially had enough money to get there, even the Kennedys.

This is a very different idea of political dominion than that put forth by the Marxist philosophy. The Marxist philosophy is also the communist philosophy, and there is no room for the influence of wealth in a communist state. In fact, such influence is looked upon with loathing and is actively fought against. The very beginnings of a communist nation, according to Marxism, will take place with the overthrow of those very ruling elite that are so important to elitist political theory.

The communist, or Marxist, revolution will begin with the working class people -- the proletariat -- becoming fed up with the rule of the elite -- the bourgeoisie. The elite will have had power for a long time, and will have kept getting more wealthy as the working class people never got ahead financially. The wealthy elite, because they value money and the power it brings, will have instituted a system of capitalism in the nation, which is based on the exchange of money. This system of reliance on money will keep the working class dependent on the jobs given to them by the wealthy in order to survive. The working class will keep working to buy the increasingly expensive necessities that the wealth of the elite provides.

Eventually though, the working class will become frustrated with the continual oppression that they receive from the elite. The proletariat will rise up and will conquer the elite, doing away with capitalism and the system of money buying influence, power, and comfort. The proletariat will then begin a short dictatorship in which they will completely do away with the trappings of the elite. The elite will experience a short time during which they are downtrodden by the dictatorship of the proletariat. However, as Marxism puts forth the idea of equality of all, it will not be long before the dictatorship of the proletariat is not needed any longer, and societal attitudes will have changed enough so that the true intent of Marxism -- the equality of all and each supporting the other -- will take place.

Once this is achieved, there will be no political dominion, because there will be no social hierarchy. Everyone will be equal. Everyone will be free to follow his or her own passions, since there will be no monetary system for the exchange of goods and services. Instead, everyone will help out in making sure that everyone's needs are met. People will have a real reliance on each other, and this will give people the ability to explore with leisure who they really are and what they enjoy.

The motto of Marxism is "From each according to his ability and to each according to his needs." This means that everyone in a Marxist society will contribute to the good of the entire society as he or she is able, and will take from the efforts of society that which he or she needs. There is no political dominion in a system such as this, because everyone is equal. It is much like a commune is today. In fact, communes are communist societies on a smaller scale than the Marxist system. Normally, there is a council, which is made up of all of the adults in the society. These adults periodically get together in order to ascertain the needs of the community and determine how these needs should be met. A communist society on a large scale would do this, also. All of the members of the community would meet to determine what the community needed and how these needs were going to be met. Communities would be organized on a local level, and each community would take care of its own.

As can be seen, there are similarities and differences between the elitist and Marxist political philosophies. In the elitist philosophy, the ones who hold all of the political power are the ones who have the money. Money is instrumental in an elitist society, because money makes things happen, and money can buy political influence. Money can also be used to keep the non-elite down. This is where Marxism comes in. In Marxism, those who are not of the elite overthrow the elite and institute a society in which there is no elite, but instead equality amongst all, and a society in which money has no meaning and so can not buy influence. In elitism, political dominion is held by those who have money. In Marxism, the elite with money are also… [END OF PREVIEW]

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