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The Politics BookDK
From ancient and medieval philosophers such as Confucius and Thomas Aquinas, to revolutionary thought leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Leon Trotsky, to the voices who have shaped modern politics today — Mao Zedong, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and more — The Politics Book clearly and simply explains more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the history of political thought.
With easy-to-follow graphics, succinct quotations, and accessible text, The Politics Book is an essential reference for students and anyone wondering how politics works.
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17 June 2019 (07:47)
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01 July 2019 (12:10)
LONDON, NEW YORK, MELBOURNE, MUNICH, AND DELHI DK LONDON DK DELHI PROJECT ART EDITOR Amy Orsborne SENIOR ART EDITOR Anjana Nair SENIOR EDITOR Sam Atkinson ART EDITOR Nidhi Mehra US SENIOR EDITOR Rebecca Warren ASSISTANT ART EDITORS Niyati Gosain, Vidit Vashisht, Namita, Gazal Roongta US EDITOR Kate Johnsen MANAGING ART EDITOR Karen Self MANAGING EDITOR Esther Ripley PUBLISHER Laura Buller ART DIRECTOR Phil Ormerod ASSOCIATE PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Liz Wheeler PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Jonathan Metcalf ILLUSTRATIONS James Graham PRODUCER, PRE-PRODUCTION Rachel Ng SENIOR PRODUCER Gemma Sharpe original styling by STUDIO 8 DESIGN MANAGING ART EDITOR Arunesh Talapatra DESIGN CONSULTANT Shefali Upadhyay SENIOR EDITOR Monica Saigal ASSISTANT EDITOR Archana Ramachandran MANAGING EDITOR Pakshalika Jayaprakash PRODUCTION MANAGER Pankaj Sharma DTP MANAGER/CTS Balwant Singh DTP DESIGNERS Arvind Kumar, Rajesh Singh Adhikari, Syed Md Farhan, Dheeraj Arora, Bimlesh Tiwary PICTURE RESEARCHER Surya Sankash Sarangi produced for DK by TALL TREE LTD MANAGING EDITOR Rob Colson ART DIRECTION Ben Ruocco SENIOR EDITORS Richard Gilbert, Camilla Hallinan, Scarlett O’Hara, Sarah Tomley First American Edition, 2013 Published in the United States by DK Publishing 375 Hudson Street New York, New York 10014 13 14 15 16 17 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 001 - 187978 - Mar/2013 Copyright © 2013 Dorling Kindersley Limited All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN: 978-1-4654-0214-1 DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 or [email protected] Printed and bound in Hong Kong by Hung Hing Discover more at www.dk.com CONTRIBUTORS JESPER JOHNSØN PAUL KELLY, CONSULTANT EDITOR NIALL KISHTAINY Paul Kelly is a Pro-Director and Professor of Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of 11 books. His main interests are British political thought and contemporary political philosophy. Niall Kishtainy teaches at the London School of Economics, and specializes in economic history and development. He has worked for the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. ROD DACOMBE Dr. Rod Dacombe is Lecturer in Politics in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College, University of London. His research focuses primarily on democratic theory and practice, and on the relationship between the voluntary sector and the state. JOHN FARNDON John Farndon is the author of many books on the history of science and ideas and on contemporary issues. He also writes widely on science and environmental issues and has been shortlisted four times for the young Science Book prize. A.S. HODSON A.S. Hodson is a writer and former contributing editor of BushWatch.com. Jesper Stenberg Johnsøn is a political scientist advising on governance and anti-corruption reforms in developing countries. He works at the Chr. Michelsen Institute’s U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre in Bergen, Norway. JAMES MEADWAY James Meadway is Senior Economist at the New Economics Foundation, an independent British think tank. He has worked as a policy advisor to the UK Treasury, covering regional development, science, and innovation policy. ANCA PUSCA Dr. Anca Pusca is Senior Lecturer in International Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is the author of Revolution, Democratic Transition and Disillusionment: The Case of Romania, and Walter Benjamin: Aesthetics of Change. MARCUS WEEKS Marcus Weeks studied philosophy and worked as a teacher before embarking on a career as an author. He has contributed to many books on the arts and popular sciences. CONTENTS 10 INTRODUCTION ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT MEDIEVAL POLITICS 28 32 54 34 40 44 48 49 If justice be taken away, what are governments but great bands of robbers? Augustine of Hippo If your desire is for good, the people will be good Confucius 56 The art of war is of vital importance to the state Sun Tzu Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you Muhammad 58 The people refuse the rule of virtuous men Al-Farabi Plans for the country are only to be shared with the learned Mozi Until philosophers are kings, cities will never have rest from their evils Plato Man is by nature a political animal Aristotle A single wheel does not move Chanakya If evil ministers enjoy safety and proﬁt, this is the beginning of downfall Han Fei Tzu The government is bandied about like a ball Cicero The Church should devote itself to imitating Christ and give up its secular power Marsilius of Padua 72 Government prevents injustice, other than such as it commits itself Ibn Khaldun 74 A prudent ruler cannot, and must not, honor his word Niccolò Machiavelli 30 CE–1515 CE 800 BCE–30 CE 20 71 60 No free man shall be imprisoned, except by the law of the land Barons of King John 62 For war to be just, there is required a just cause Thomas Aquinas 70 To live politically means living in accordance with good laws Giles of Rome RATIONALITY AND ENLIGHTENMENT 1515–1770 86 In the beginning, everything was common to all Francisco de Vitoria 88 Sovereignty is the absolute and perpetual power of a commonwealth Jean Bodin 90 The natural law is the foundation of human law Francisco Suárez 92 Politics is the art of associating men Johannes Althusius 94 Liberty is the power that we have over ourselves Hugo Grotius 140 All men are created equal Thomas Jefferson 142 Each nationality contains its center of happiness within itself Johann Gottfried Herder 96 The condition of man is a condition of war Thomas Hobbes 104 The end of law is to preserve and enlarge freedom John Locke 110 When legislative and executive powers are united in the same body, there can be no liberty Montesquieu 112 Independent entrepreneurs make good citizens Benjamin Franklin REVOLUTIONARY THOUGHTS 1770–1848 118 To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man Jean-Jacques Rousseau 126 No generally valid principle of legislation can be based on happiness Immanuel Kant 130 The passions of individuals should be subjected Edmund Burke 134 Rights dependent on property are the most precarious Thomas Paine 144 Government has but a choice of evils Jeremy Bentham 150 The people have a right to keep and bear arms James Madison 154 The most respectable women are the most oppressed Mary Wollstonecraft 156 The slave feels self-existence to be something external Georg Hegel 160 War is the continuation of Politik by other means Carl von Clausewitz 161 Abolition and the Union cannot coexist John C. Calhoun 162 A state too extensive in itself ultimately falls into decay Simón Bolívar 164 An educated and wise government recognizes the developmental needs of its society José María Luis Mora 165 The tendency to attack “the family” is a symptom of social chaos Auguste Comte THE RISE OF THE MASSES 1848–1910 170 Socialism is a new system of serfdom Alexis de Tocqueville 172 Say not I, but we Giuseppe Mazzini 174 That so few dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time John Stuart Mill 182 No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent Abraham Lincoln 183 Property is theft Pierre-Joseph Proudhon 184 The privileged man is a man depraved in intellect and heart Mikhail Bakunin 186 That government is best which governs not at all Henry David Thoreau 188 Communism is the riddle of history solved Karl Marx 194 The men who proclaimed the republic became the assassins of freedom Alexander Herzen 195 We must look for a central axis for our nation Ito Hirobumi 196 The will to power Friedrich Nietzsche 200 It is the myth that is alone important Georges Sorel 202 We have to take working men as they are Eduard Bernstein 204 The disdain of our formidable neighbor is the greatest danger for Latin America José Martí 206 It is necessary to dare in order to succeed Peter Kropotkin 207 Either women are to be killed, or women are to have the vote Emmeline Pankhurst 208 It is ridiculous to deny the existence of a Jewish nation Theodor Herzl 210 Nothing will avail to save a nation whose workers have decayed Beatrice Webb 211 Protective legislation in America is shamefully inadequate Jane Addams 212 Land to the tillers! Sun Yat-Sen THE CLASH OF IDEOLOGIES 1910–1945 220 Nonviolence is the ﬁrst article of my faith Mahatma Gandhi 226 Politics begin where the masses are Vladimir Lenin 234 The mass strike results from social conditions with historical inevitability Rosa Luxemburg 236 An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last Winston Churchill 238 The Fascist conception of the state is all-embracing Giovanni Gentile 240 The wealthy farmers must be deprived of the sources of their existence Joseph Stalin 242 If the end justiﬁes the means, what justiﬁes the end? Leon Trotsky 246 We will unite Mexicans by giving guarantees to the peasant and the businessman Emiliano Zapata 247 War is a racket Smedley D. Butler 214 The individual is a single cog in an ever-moving mechanism Max Weber 250 Europe has been left without a moral code José Ortega y Gasset 252 We are 400 million people asking for liberty Marcus Garvey 253 India cannot really be free unless separated from the British empire Manabendra Nath Roy 254 Sovereign is he who decides on the exception Carl Schmitt 258 Communism is as bad as imperialism Jomo Kenyatta 259 The state must be conceived of as an “educator” Antonio Gramsci 248 Sovereignty is not given, 260 Political power grows out it is taken Mustafa Kemal Atatürk of the barrel of a gun Mao Zedong 323 The intellectuals POSTWAR POLITICS erroneously fought Islam Ali Shariati 1945–PRESENT 324 The hellishness of war drives us to break with every restraint Michael Walzer 270 The chief evil is unlimited government Friedrich Hayek 276 Parliamentary government and rationalist politics do not belong to the same system Michael Oakeshott 278 The objective of the Islamic jihad is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system Abul Ala Maududi 280 There is nothing to take a man’s freedom away from him, save other men Ayn Rand 282 Every known and established fact can be denied Hannah Arendt 284 What is a woman? Simone de Beauvoir 290 No natural object is solely a resource Arne Naess 294 We are not anti-white, we are against white supremacy Nelson Mandela 296 Only the weak-minded believe that politics is a place of collaboration Gianfranco Miglio 297 During the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed tend to become oppressors Paulo Freire 298 Justice is the ﬁrst virtue of social institutions John Rawls 304 Colonialism is violence in its natural state Frantz Fanon 308 The ballot or the bullet Malcolm X 310 We need to “cut off the king’s head” Michel Foucault 312 Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves Che Guevara 314 Everybody has to make sure that the rich folks are happy Noam Chomsky 316 Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance Martin Luther King 322 Perestroika unites socialism with democracy Mikhail Gorbachev 326 No state more extensive than the minimal state can be justiﬁed Robert Nozick 328 No Islamic law says violate women’s rights Shirin Ebadi 329 Suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation Robert Pape 330 DIRECTORY 340 GLOSSARY 344 INDEX 351 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS INTRODU CTION 12 INTRODUCTION I f everyone could have everything they wanted whenever they wanted, there would be no such thing as politics. Whatever the precise meaning of the complex activity known as politics might be—and, as this book illustrates, it has been understood in many different ways—it is clear that human experience never provides us with everything we want. Instead, we have to compete, struggle, compromise, and sometimes ﬁght for things. In so doing, we develop a language to explain and justify our claims and to challenge, contradict, or answer the claims of others. This might be a language of interests, whether of individuals or groups, Political society exists for the sake of noble actions, and not of mere companionship. Aristotle or it might be a language of values, such as rights and liberties or fair shares and justice. But central to the activity of politics, from its very beginnings, is the development of political ideas and concepts. These ideas help us to make our claims and to defend our interests. But this picture of politics and the place of political ideas is not the whole story. It suggests that politics can be reduced to the question of who gets what, where, when, and how. Political life is undoubtedly in part a necessary response to the challenges of everyday life and the recognition that collective action is often better than individual action. But another tradition of political thinking is associated with the ancient Greek thinker Aristotle, who said that politics was not merely about the struggle to meet material needs in conditions of scarcity. Once complex societies emerge, different questions arise. Who should rule? What powers should political rulers have, and how do the claims to legitimacy of political rulers compare to other sources of authority, such as that of the family, or the claims of religious authority? Aristotle said that it is natural for man to live politically, and this is not simply the observation that man is better off in a complex society than abandoned and isolated. It is also the claim that there is something ﬁttingly human about having views on how matters of public concern should be decided. Politics is a noble activity in which men decide the rules they will live by and the goals they will collectively pursue. Political moralism Aristotle did not think that all human beings should be allowed to engage in political activity: in his system, women, slaves, and foreigners were explicitly excluded from the right to rule themselves and others. Nevertheless, his basic idea that politics is a unique collective activity that is directed at certain common goals and ends still resonates today. But which ends? Many thinkers and political ﬁgures since the ancient world have developed different ideas about the goals that politics can or should achieve. This approach is known as political moralism. For moralists, political life is a branch of ethics—or moral philosophy—so it is unsurprising that there are many philosophers in the group of moralistic political thinkers. Political moralists argue that politics should be directed INTRODUCTION 13 toward achieving substantial goals, or that political arrangements should be organized to protect certain things. Among these things are political values such as justice, equality, liberty, happiness, fraternity, or national self-determination. At its most radical, moralism produces descriptions of ideal political societies known as Utopias, named after English statesman and philosopher Thomas More’s book Utopia, published in 1516, which imagined an ideal nation. Utopian political thinking dates back to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s book the Republic, but it is still used by modern thinkers such as Robert Nozick to explore ideas. Some theorists consider Utopian political thinking to be a dangerous undertaking, since it has led in the past to justiﬁcations of totalitarian violence. However, at its best, Utopian thinking is part of a process of striving toward a better society, and many of the thinkers discussed in this book use it to suggest values to be pursued or protected. Political realism Another major tradition of political thinking rejects the idea that politics exists to deliver a moral or ethical value such as happiness or freedom. Instead, they argue that politics is about power. Power is the means by which ends are achieved, enemies are defeated, and compromises sustained. Without the ability to acquire and exercise power, values—however noble they may be—are useless. The group of thinkers who focus on power as opposed to morality are described as realists. Realists focus their attention on power, conﬂict, and war, and are often cynical about human motivations. Perhaps the two greatest theorists of power were Italian Niccolò Machiavelli and Englishman Thomas Hobbes, both of whom lived through periods of civil war and disorder, in the 16th and 17th centuries respectively. Machiavelli’s view of human nature emphasizes that men are “ungrateful liars” and neither noble nor virtuous. He warns of the dangers of political motives that go beyond concerns with the exercise of power. For Hobbes, the lawless “state of nature” is one of a war of all men against each other. Through a “social contract” with his subjects, a sovereign exercises absolute power to save society from this brutish state. But the concern with power is not unique to early modern Europe. Much 20th-century political thought is concerned with the sources and exercise of power. Wise counsel For forms of Government let fools contest. Whate’er is best administered is best. Alexander Pope Realism and moralism are grand political visions that try to make sense of the whole of political experience and its relationship with other features of the human condition. Yet not all political thinkers have taken such a wide perspective on events. Alongside the political philosophers, there is an equally ancient tradition that is pragmatic and concerned merely with delivering the best possible outcomes. The problems of war and conﬂict may never be eradicated, and arguments ❯❯ 14 INTRODUCTION about the relationship between political values such as freedom and equality may also never be resolved, but perhaps we can make progress in constitutional design and policy making, or in ensuring that government ofﬁcials are as able as possible. Some of the earliest thinking about politics, such as that of Chinese philosopher Confucius, is associated with the skills and virtues of the wise counselor. Rise of ideology One further type of political thinking is often described as ideological. An important strand of ideological thinking emphasizes the ways in which ideas are peculiar to different historical periods. The origins of ideological thinking can be found in the historical philosophies of German philosophers Georg Hegel and Karl Marx. They explain how the ideas of each political epoch differ because the institutions and practices of the societies differ, and the signiﬁcance of ideas changes across history. Plato and Aristotle thought of democracy as a dangerous and corrupt system, while most people in the modern world see it as the best form of government. Contemporary authoritarian regimes are encouraged to democratize. Similarly, slavery was once thought of as a natural condition that excluded many from any kind of rights, and until the 20th century, most women were not considered citizens. This raises the question of what causes some ideas to become important, such as equality, and others to fall out of favor, such as slavery or the divine right of kings. Marx accounts for this historical change by arguing that ideas are attached to the interests of social classes such as the workers or the capitalists. These class interests gave rise to the great “isms” of ideological politics, from communism and socialism to conservatism and fascism. The philosophers have only interpreted the world… the point is to change it. Karl Marx The social classes of Marx are not the only source of ideological politics. Many recent political ideas have also emerged from developments within liberalism, conservatism, socialism, and nationalism. Ideological political thinking has also been the subject of hostility and criticism. If ideas are merely a reﬂection of historical processes, critics argue, that must mean that the individuals caught up in those processes are playing an essentially passive role, and that rational deliberation and argument have limited value. Ideological struggle is rather like the competition between football teams. Passion, as opposed to reason, matters in supporting one’s team, and winning is ultimately all that counts. Many worry that ideological politics results in the worst excesses of realism, in which the ends are seen to justify brutal or unjust means. Ideological politics appears to be a perpetual struggle or war between rival and irreconcilable camps. Marx’s solution to this problem was the revolutionary triumph of the working class and the technological overcoming of scarcity, which would solve the problem of political conﬂict. In light of the 20th century, INTRODUCTION 15 this approach to politics seems to many to be highly overoptimistic, since revolutionary change has been seen to have replaced one kind of tyranny for another. In this view, Marxism and other ideologies are merely the latest forms of unrealistic Utopian moralism. A disputed future According to Georg Hegel, political ideas are an abstraction from the political life of a society, state, culture, or political movement. Making sense of those ideas, and the institutions or movements they explain, involves examining their history and development. That history is always a story of how we got to where we are now. What we cannot do is look forward to see where history is going. In Roman mythology, the Owl of Minerva was a symbol of wisdom. For Hegel, the Owl only “takes ﬂight at twilight.” By this he means that understanding can only come retrospectively. Hegel is warning against optimism about developing ideas for where to go next. He is also issuing a subtle warning against his other famous claim that the rise of the modern state is the end of history. It is very easy to see ourselves as the most progressive, enlightened, and rational age ever—after all we believe in open economies, constitutional government, human rights, and democracy. But as we will see in this book, these are not simple ideas, and they are not shared by all societies and people even today. The last 80 years of world history have seen the rise of new nation-states as a result of imperial retreat and decolonization. Federations such as Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia have fragmented into new states, as has the former USSR. The desire for national sovereignty is also strong in places such as Quebec, Catalonia, Kurdistan, and Kashmir. Yet, while peoples have struggled for statehood, states have sought complex federations and political union. The last three decades have seen the rise of the European Union, which aspires to closer political integration, as well as the North American Free Trade area and many other organizations for regional cooperation. Old ideas of state sovereignty have an awkward role in the new political world of pooled sovereignty, economic cooperation, and globalization. Hegel’s point seems very pertinent here—we cannot predict how we will appear to those in the future, nor whether what seems common sense to us will be seen as persuasive by our descendants. Making sense of the present requires an understanding of the variety of political ideas and theories conceived throughout history. These ideas serve as an explanation of the possibilities of the present, as well as a warning against overconﬁdence in our own political values, and they remind us that the demands of organizing and governing the collective life of society change in ways that we cannot fully predict. As new possibilities for the exercise of power arise, so will new demands for its control and accountability, and with these will come new political ideas and theories. Politics concerns all of us, so we should all be involved in that debate. ■ Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. Charles de Gaulle ANCIENT POLITICA THOUGHT 800 BCE–30 CE L 18 INTRODUCTION The Spring and Autumn period begins in China, and the “Hundred Schools of Thought” emerge. Confucius proposes a system of government based on traditional values, administered by a class of scholars. The Roman Republic is founded. In Greece, Sophists including Protagoras maintain that political justice is an imposition of human values, not a reﬂection of justice in nature. C.770 BCE 600–500 BCE C.510 BCE C.460 BCE 600 BCE The Chinese general Sun Tzu writes his treatise The Art of War for King Helü of Wu. P olitical theory can trace its beginnings to the civilizations of ancient China and Greece. In both places, thinkers emerged who questioned and analyzed the world around them in a way we now call philosophy. From around 600 BCE, some of them turned their attention to the way we organize societies. At ﬁrst, both in China and Greece, these questions were considered part of moral philosophy or ethics. Philosophers examined how society should be structured to ensure not only the happiness and security of the people, but to enable people to live a “good life.” Political thought in China From around 770 BCE, China experienced a time of prosperity known as the Spring and Autumn 594 BCE Solon creates a constitution for Athens that paves the way for a democratic city-state. 476–221 BCE 399 BCE During the Warring States period, the seven largest Chinese states vie for supremacy. After years of questioning politics and society in Athens, Socrates is sentenced to death. period, and various dynasties ruled over the separate states relatively peaceably. Scholarship was highly valued in this period, resulting in the so-called Hundred Schools of Thought. By far the most inﬂuential of the philosophers to emerge was Confucius, who combined moral and political philosophy in his proposals for upholding traditional Chinese moral values in a state led by a virtuous ruler, and advised by a class of administrators. This idea was further reﬁned by Mozi and Mencius to prevent corruption and despotic rule, but as conﬂict between the states increased in the 3rd century BCE, the Spring and Autumn period came to a close, replaced by the Warring States period and the struggle for control of a uniﬁed Chinese empire. It was in this atmosphere that thinkers such as Han Fei Tzu and the Legalist school advocated discipline as the guiding principle of the state, and the military leader Sun Tzu applied the tactics of warfare to ideas of foreign policy and domestic government. These more authoritarian political philosophies brought stability to the new empire, which later reverted to a form of Confucianism. Greek democracy At much the same time as these developments in China, Greek civilization was ﬂourishing. Like China, Greece was not a single nation, but a collection of separate city-states under various systems of government. Most were ruled by a monarch or an aristocracy, but Athens had established a form of democracy under a constitution ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 19 Chinese philosopher Mozi proposes a purely meritocratic class of ministers and advisors chosen for their virtue and ability. In his Politics, Aristotle describes various forms of rule of the city-state, and suggests polity —constitutional government—as the most practical. Mencius popularizes Confucian ideas in China. The Han dynasty adopts Confucianism as the ofﬁcial philosophy of China. C.470–391 BCE 335–323 BCE 372–289 BCE 200 BCE C.380–360 BCE In the Republic, Plato advocates rule by “philosopher kings” who possess the wisdom and knowledge to understand the nature of a good life. introduced by the statesman Solon in 594 BCE. The city became the cultural center of Greece, and provided an intellectual space in which philosophers could speculate on what constituted the ideal state, what its purpose was, and how it should be governed. Here, Plato advocated rule by an elite of “philosopher kings,” while his pupil Aristotle compared the various possible forms of government. Their theories would form the basis for Western political philosophy. After Aristotle, the “golden age” of classical Greek philosophy drew to a close, as Alexander the Great embarked on a series of campaigns to extend his empire from Macedon into northern Africa and across Asia as far as the Himalayas. But in India, he met with resistance from an organized opposition. C.370–283 BCE 300 BCE Chanakya’s advice to Chandragupta Maurya helps to establish the Mauryan empire in India. In the attempt to unify China, the authoritarian ideas of Shang Yang and Han Fei Tzu are adopted as the doctrine of Legalism. The Indian subcontinent was composed of various separate states, but the emergence of an innovative political theorist, Chanakya, helped to transform it into a uniﬁed empire under the rule of his protégé, Chandragupta Maurya. Chanakya believed in a pragmatic approach to political thinking, advocating strict discipline, with the aim of securing economic and material security for the state rather than the moral welfare of the people. His realism helped to protect the Mauryan empire from attack, and brought most of India into a uniﬁed state that lasted for more than 100 years. The rise of Rome Meanwhile, another power was rising in Europe. The Roman Republic had been founded in 54–51 BCE Cicero writes De republica, modeled on Plato’s Republic, but advocating a more democratic form of government. about 510 BCE with the overthrow of a tyrannical monarchy. A form of representative democracy similar to the Athenian model was established. A constitution evolved, with government led by two consuls elected by the citizens annually, and a senate of representatives to advise them. Under this system, the Republic grew in strength, occupying provinces in most of mainland Europe. However, in the 1st century BCE, civil conﬂict spread in the Republic as various factions vied for power. Julius Caesar seized control in 48 BCE and effectively became emperor, bringing the Republic to an end. Rome had once again come under a monarchical, dynastic rule, and the new Roman empire was to dominate most of Europe for the next 500 years. ■ IF YOUR DESIRE IS FOR GOOD THE PEOPLE WILL BE GOOD CONFUCIUS (551– 479 BCE) 22 CONFUCIUS IN CONTEXT IDEOLOGY Confucianism FOCUS Paternalist A leader should be a junzi, a “superior man.” Less than perfect people can be changed by an example of sincere goodness. BEFORE 1045 BCE Under the Zhou dynasty of China, political decisions are justiﬁed by the Mandate of Heaven. 8th century BCE The Spring and Autumn period begins, and the “Hundred Schools of Thought” emerge. AFTER 5th century BCE Mozi proposes an alternative to the potential nepotism and cronyism of Confucianism. The junzi possesses the qualities of virtue, faithfulness, and sincerity, which he shows in rituals and ceremonies. The junzi therefore sets a good example for his people. 4th century BCE The philosopher Mencius popularizes Confucian ideas. 3rd century BCE The more authoritarian principles of Legalism come to dominate the system of government. K ong Fuzi (“Master Kong”), who later became known in the West by the Latinized name of Confucius, lived during a turning point in China’s political history. He lived at the end of China’s Spring and Autumn period—around 300 years of prosperity and stability during which there was a ﬂowering of art, literature, and in particular, philosophy. This gave rise to the so-called Hundred Schools of Thought, in which a wide range of ideas was freely discussed. In the process, a new class of thinkers If a leader’s desire is for good, the people will be good. and scholars emerged, most of them based in the courts of noble families, as valued advisors. The inﬂuence of these scholars’ new ideas inspired a shake-up of the structure of Chinese society. The scholars were appointed on merit rather than due to family connections, and this new meritocratic class of scholars was a challenge to the hereditary rulers, who had previously governed with what they believed was a mandate from Heaven. This caused a series of conﬂicts as various rulers vied for control over China. During this era, which became known as the Warring States period, it became increasingly clear that a strong system of government was necessary. The superior man Like most educated, middle-class young men, Confucius pursued a career as an administrator, and it was in this role that he developed his ideas about the organization of government. Seeing ﬁrsthand the relationships between the ruler and his ministers and subjects, and keenly aware of the fragility of the ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 23 See also: Sun Tzu 28–31 ■ Mozi 32–33 ■ Han Fei Tzu 48 Sun Yat-Sen 212–13 ■ Mao Zedong 260–65 political situation of the time, he set about formulating a framework that would enable rulers to govern justly, based on his own system of moral philosophy. Confucius’s moral standpoint was ﬁrmly rooted in Chinese convention, and had at its heart the traditional virtues of loyalty, duty, and respect. These values were personiﬁed in the junzi: the “gentleman” or “superior man,” whose virtue would act as an example to others. Every member of society would be encouraged to aspire to the junzi’s virtues. In Confucius’s view, human nature is not perfect, but it is capable of being changed by the example of sincere virtue. Similarly, society can be transformed by the example of fair and benevolent government. The notion of reciprocity— the idea that just and generous treatment will be met with a just The ruler sets an example for his subjects. ■ and generous response—underpins Confucius’s moral philosophy, and it is also a cornerstone of his political thinking. For a society to be good, its ruler must be the embodiment of the virtues he wishes to see in his subjects; in turn, the people will be inspired through loyalty and respect to emulate those virtues. In the collection of his teachings and sayings known as the Analects, Confucius advises: “If your desire is for good, the people will be good. The moral character of the ruler is the wind; the moral character of those beneath him is the grass. When the wind blows, the grass bends.” In order for this idea to work effectively, however, a new structure for society had to be established, creating a hierarchy that took account of the new meritocratic administrative class while respecting the traditional ❯❯ Confucius believed that a wise and just sovereign had a benign effect on the character of his subjects. His policies and ideas are dispersed through his ministers… … and his people begin to emulate his goodness. Confucius Despite his importance in Chinese history, little is known of Confucius’s life. He is traditionally believed to have been born in 551 BCE, in Qufu in the state of Lu, China. His name was originally Kong Qiu (he earned the honoriﬁc title “Kong Fuzi” much later), and his family was both respected and comfortably well off. Nevertheless, as a young man he worked as a servant after his father died in order to support his family, and studied in his spare time to join the civil service. He became an administrator in the Zhou court, where he developed his ideas of how a state should be governed, but his advice was ignored and he resigned from the position. He spent the rest of his life traveling throughout the Chinese empire, teaching his philosophy and theories of government. He eventually returned to Qufu, where he died in 479 BCE. Key works Analects Doctrine of the Mean The Great Learning (All assembled during the 12th century by Chinese scholars.) 24 CONFUCIUS ty Du Lo ya lty The sovereign was regarded by Confucius as inherently superior. His task was to model perfect behavior, setting a good example to those below him. Ministers and advisors played an important role as “middle men” between the sovereign and his subjects. They had a duty of loyalty to both parties. The people, given a good example to follow and a clear idea of what was expected of them, would behave correctly, according to Confucius. Respect rule of the noble families. In his proposal for how this might be achieved, Confucius again relied very much on traditional values, modeling society on relationships within the family. For Confucius, the benevolence of the sovereign and the loyalty of his subject mirror the loving father and obedient son relationship (a relationship considered by the Chinese to be of the utmost importance). Confucius considers that there are ﬁve “constant relationships”: sovereign/subject, father/son, husband/wife, elder brother/ younger brother, and friend/friend. In these relationships, he emphasizes not only the rank of each person according to generation, age, and gender, but the fact that there are duties on both sides, and that the responsibility of the superior to the inferior in any relationship is just as important as that of the junior to the senior. Extending these relationships to the wider society, their reciprocal rights and responsibilities give society its cohesion, creating an atmosphere of loyalty and respect from each social stratum toward the next. Justifying hereditary rule At the top of Confucius’s hierarchy was the sovereign, who would unquestionably have inherited this status, and in this respect Confucius shows the conservative nature of his political thinking. Just as the family provided a model for the relationships within society, the traditional respect shown to parents (especially fathers) extended also to ancestors, and this justiﬁed the hereditary principle. Just as a father was considered the head of the family, the state should naturally be ruled over by a paterfamilias ﬁgure— the sovereign. Nevertheless, the sovereign’s position was not unassailable in Confucius’s thinking, and an unjust or unwise ruler deserved to be opposed or even removed. However, it was in the next layer of society that Confucius was at his most innovative, advocating a class of scholars to act as ministers, advisors, and administrators to the ruler. Their position between the sovereign and his subjects was crucial, since they had a duty of loyalty both to their ruler and the people. They carried a high degree of responsibility, so it was essential that they be recruited from the most able and educated candidates, and that anybody serving in public Good government consists in the ruler being a ruler, the minister being a minister, the father being a father, and the son being a son. Confucius ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 25 ofﬁce should be of the highest moral character—a junzi. These ministers were to be appointed by the sovereign in Confucius’s system, so much depended upon the sovereign’s own good character. Confucius said: “The administration of government lies in getting proper men. Such men are to be gotten by means of the ruler’s own character. That character is to be cultivated by his treading in the ways of duty. And the treading of those ways of duty is to be cultivated by the cherishing of benevolence.” The role of these public servants was mainly advisory, and ministers were not only expected to be wellversed in the administration and structure of Chinese society, but also to have a thorough knowledge of history, politics, and diplomacy. This was necessary to advise the ruler on matters such as alliances and wars with neighboring states. However, this new class of civil servants also served an equally important function in preventing the ruler from becoming despotic, because they showed loyalty to their superior, but also benevolence to their inferiors. Like their ruler, they too had to lead by example, inspiring both the sovereign and his subjects by their virtue. The importance of ritual Many parts of Confucius’s writings read like a handbook of etiquette and protocol, detailing the proper conduct for the junzi in various situations, but he also stressed that this should not merely be empty show. The rituals he outlined were not mere social Actors performing a Confucian ritual in Shandong Province, China, convey the importance of restraint and respect to modern visitors unversed in their highly formalized tradition. niceties, but served a much deeper purpose, and it was important that the participants behaved with sincerity for the rituals to have any meaning. Public servants not only had to fulﬁll their duties virtuously, they also had to be seen to be acting virtuously. For this reason, Confucius laid great emphasis on ceremonies and rituals. These also worked to underline the positions of the various members within a society, and Confucius’s approval of this illustrates his tendency to conservatism. The ceremonies and rituals allowed people to manifest their devotion to those above them in the hierarchy and their consideration toward those below them. According to Confucius, these rituals were to permeate the whole of society, from formal royal and state ceremonies right down to everyday social interactions, with participants meticulously observing their respective roles. Only when virtue was sincerely and honestly manifested in this way could the idea of leading by example succeed. For this reason, Confucius held sincerity and honesty to be the most important of virtues, next only to loyalty. The superior man governs men according to their nature, with what is proper to them, and as soon as they change what is wrong, he stops. Confucius Many of these rituals and ceremonies had their basis in religious rites, but this aspect was not important to Confucius. His moral philosophy was not founded on religion, and the political system he derived from it simply acknowledged that there was a place for religion in society. In fact, he seldom referred to the gods in his writings, except in terms of a hope that society could be organized and governed in accordance with the Mandate of Heaven, which would help to ❯❯ 26 CONFUCIUS unify the states vying for power. Although he ﬁrmly believed in rule by a hereditary sovereign, he did not feel the need to justify it as a divine right. This implicit dismissal of the divine right, combined with a class system based on merit rather than inheritance, showed Confucius at his most radical. While he advocated a hierarchy reinforced by strict rules of etiquette and protocol, so that everybody was very aware of their place in society, this did not mean there should be no social mobility. Those with ability (and good character) could rise through the ranks to the highest levels of government, whatever their family background; and those in positions of power could be removed from ofﬁce if they failed to show the necessary qualities, no matter how noble the family they were born into. This principle extended even to the sovereign himself. Confucius saw the assassination of a despotic ruler as the necessary removal of a tyrant rather than the murder of a legitimate ruler. He argued that the ﬂexibility of this hierarchy engendered more real respect for it, and that this in turn engendered political consent—a necessary basis for strong and stable government. Crime and punishment The principles of Confucius’s moral philosophy also extended into the ﬁelds of law and punishment. Previously, the legal system had been based on the codes of conduct prescribed by religion, but he advocated a more humanistic approach to replace the divinely ordained laws. As with his social structure, he proposed a system based on reciprocity: if you are treated with respect, you will act with respect. His version of the Golden Rule (“do as you would be done by”) was in the negative: “what you do not desire for yourself, do not do to others,” moving the emphasis from speciﬁc crimes to avoidance of bad behavior. Once again, this He who governs by means of his virtue is… like the North Star: it remains in its place while all the lesser stars pay homage to it. Confucius could best be achieved by example since, in his words, “When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self.” Rather than imposing rigid laws and stern punishments, Confucius felt that the best way to deal with crime lay in instilling a sense of shame for bad behavior. Although people may avoid committing crime if guided by laws and subdued by punishment, they do not learn a real sense of right and wrong, while if they are guided by example and subdued by respect, they develop a sense of shame for any misdemeanors and learn to become truly good. Unpopular ideas Confucius’s moral and political philosophy combined ideas about the innate goodness and sociability of human nature with the rigid, The Chinese emperor presides over the civil service examinations in this Song dynasty painting. The exams were introduced during Confucius’s lifetime and were based on his ideas. ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 27 Religious functions were absorbed into Confucianism when it became the ofﬁcial philosophy of China. Confucian temples such as this one in Nanjing sprang up throughout the country. formal structure of traditional Chinese society. Unsurprisingly, given his position as a court administrator, he found an important place for the new meritocratic class of scholars. However, his ideas were met with suspicion and were not adopted during his lifetime. Members of the royal and noble ruling families were unhappy with his implied dismissal of their divine right to rule, and felt threatened by the power he proposed for their ministers and advisors. The administrators might have enjoyed more control to rein in potentially despotic rulers, but they doubted the idea that the people could be governed by example, and were unwilling to give up their right to exercise power through laws and punishment. Later political and philosophical thinkers also had their criticisms of Confucianism. Mozi, a Chinese philosopher born shortly after Confucius’s death, agreed with his more modern ideas of meritocracy and leading by example, but felt that his emphasis on family relationships would lead to nepotism and cronyism. Around the same time, military thinkers such as Sun Tzu had little time for the moral philosophy underlying Confucius’s political theory, and instead took a more practical approach to matters of government, advocating an authoritarian and even ruthless system to ensure the defense of the state. Nevertheless, elements of Confucianism were gradually incorporated into Chinese society in the two centuries following his death. Championed by Mencius (372–289 BCE), they gained some popularity in the 4th century BCE. The state philosophy What you know, you know; what you don’t know, you don’t know. This is true wisdom. Confucius Confucianism may have been adequate to govern in peacetime, but it was felt by many not to be robust enough for the ensuing Warring States period and the struggle to form a uniﬁed Chinese empire. During this period, a pragmatic and authoritarian system of government known as Legalism supplanted Confucius’s ideas, and continued as the emperor asserted his authority over the new empire. By the 2nd century BCE, however, peace had returned to China, and Confucianism was adopted as the ofﬁcial philosophy of the state under the Han dynasty. It continued to dominate the structure of Chinese society from then on, particularly in the practice of recruiting the most able scholars to the administrative class. The civil service exams introduced in 605 CE were based on classic Confucian texts, and this practice continued into the 20th century and the formation of the Chinese Republic. Confucianism has not entirely disappeared under China’s communist regime, and it had a subtle inﬂuence on the structure of society right up to the Cultural Revolution. Today, elements of Confucian thinking, such as those that deal with societal relationships and the notion of ﬁlial loyalty, are still deeply ingrained in the Chinese way of life. Confucian ideas are once again being taken seriously as the country shifts from Maoist communism to a Chinese version of a mixed economy. ■ 28 THE ART OF WAR IS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE TO THE STATE SUN TZU (C.544–C.496 BCE) IN CONTEXT IDEOLOGY Realism FOCUS Diplomacy and war BEFORE 8th century BCE A “golden age” of Chinese philosophy begins, which produces the so-called Hundred Schools of Thought. 6th century BCE Confucius proposes a framework for civil society based on traditional values. AFTER 4th century BCE Chanakya’s advice to Chandragupta Maurya helps to establish the Mauryan empire in India. 1532 Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince is published, ﬁve years after his death. 1937 Mao Zedong writes On Guerrilla Warfare. I n the late 6th century BCE, China was reaching the end of an era of peaceful prosperity— the so-called Spring and Autumn period—in which philosophers had ﬂourished. Much of the thinking had focused on moral philosophy or ethics, and the political philosophy that followed from this concentrated on the morally correct way that the state should organize its internal affairs. The culmination of this came with Confucius’s integration of traditional virtues into a hierarchy led by a sovereign and administered by a bureaucracy of scholars. Toward the end of the Spring and Autumn period, however, the political stability of the various ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 29 See also: Chanakya 44–47 ■ Han Fei Tzu 48 ■ Niccolò Machiavelli 74–81 ■ War punishes those who threaten or harm the state… Planning, waging, and avoiding war determines foreign policy… …just as criminals within the state are punished… …and military strategies provide a framework for domestic political organization… Mao Zedong 260–65 …to ensure a stable and prosperous state. The art of war is of vital importance to the state. states of China became fragile, and tensions between them increased as the population grew. Rulers of the states not only had to manage their internal affairs, but also to defend themselves against attack from neighboring states. Military strategy In this atmosphere, military advisors became as important as the civil bureaucrats, and military strategy began to inform political thinking. The most inﬂuential work on the subject was The Art of War, believed to have been written by Sun Tzu, a general in the army of the king of Wu. The opening passage reads: “The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.” This marked a distinct break from the political philosophy of the time, and Sun Tzu’s work was perhaps the ﬁrst explicit statement that war and military intelligence are critical elements of the business of the state. ■ Che Guevara 312–13 A terra-cotta army was built to line the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, showing the importance of the military to him. Qin lived 200 years after Sun Tzu, but would have read his works closely. The Art of War deals with the practicalities of protecting and maintaining the prosperity of the state. Where previous thinkers had concentrated on the structure of civil society, this treatise focuses on international politics, discussing public administration only in connection with the business of planning and waging wars, or the economics of maintaining military and intelligence services. Sun Tzu’s detailed description of the art of war has been seen as providing a framework for political organization of any sort. He gives a list of the “principles of war” that are to be considered when planning a campaign. In addition to practical matters, such as weather and terrain, the list includes the moral inﬂuence of the ruler, the ability and qualities of the general, and the organization and discipline of the men. Implicit in these principles of war is a hierarchical structure ❯❯ 30 SUN TZU The Five Fundamentals of Warfare The Dao, or the Way, allows all soldiers to be of one mind with their rulers. Generals must be aware of Heaven, which is Yin and Yang, and the cycle of the seasons. A strategist must take into account the Earth: high and low, near and distant, open and conﬁned. with a sovereign at its head, taking advice from and giving commands to his generals, who lead and organize their troops. For Sun Tzu, the role of the sovereign is to provide moral leadership. The people must be convinced that their cause is just before they will give their support, and a ruler should lead by example; this was an idea that Sun Tzu shared with Confucius. Like the bureaucrat of civil society, the general acts as both advisor to the ruler and administrator of his commands. Unsurprisingly, Sun Tzu places great emphasis on the qualities of the general, describing him as the “bulwark of the state.” His training and experience inform the counsel he gives the sovereign, effectively determining policy, but are also vital to the organization of the army. At the head of the chain of command, he controls the logistics, and especially the training and discipline of the men. The Art of War recommends that discipline be rigorously enforced with harsh penalties for disobedience, but that this should be tempered by a consistent application of rewards and punishments. Knowing when to ﬁght Command is shown by wisdom, integrity, compassion, and courage. Organization and the proper chain of command instill Discipline. While this description of a military hierarchy mirrored the structure of Chinese society, The Art of War was much more innovative in its recommendations for international politics. Like many generals before and since, Sun Tzu believed that the purpose of the military was to protect the state and ensure its welfare, and that war should always be a last resort. A good general should know when to ﬁght and when not to ﬁght, remembering that an enemy’s resistance can often be broken without armed conﬂict. A general should ﬁrst try to thwart the enemy’s plans; failing that, he should defend against attack; only failing that should he launch an offensive. To avoid the necessity for war, Sun Tzu advocated maintaining a strong defense and forming alliances with neighboring states. Since a war is harmful to both sides, it often makes sense to come to a peaceful settlement. Prolonged campaigns, especially tactics such as laying siege to an enemy’s city, are such a drain on resources that their cost often outweighs the beneﬁts of victory. The sacriﬁces that have to be made by the people put a strain on their loyalty to the moral justness of the cause. Military intelligence The key to stable international relationships, argues Sun Tzu, is intelligence, which was then the responsibility of the military. Spies provide vital information on a potential enemy’s intentions and capabilities, allowing the generals who command the spies to advise the ruler on the likelihood of victory in the event of conﬂict. Along the same lines, Sun Tzu goes on to explain that the next most important element in this information warfare is deception. If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can win a hundred battles without jeopardy. Sun Tzu ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 31 A leader leads by example not by force. Sun Tzu The Great Wall of China, begun in the 7th century BCE, acted to fence off newly conquered territories. For Sun Tzu, such defensive measures were as important as attacking force. By feeding misinformation to the enemy about defenses, for example, war can often be averted. He also advised against what he saw as the folly of attempting to destroy an enemy in battle: this decreased the rewards that could be gained from the victory—both the goodwill of any defeated soldiers and the wealth of any territory gained. Underlying the very practical advice in The Art of War is a traditional cultural foundation Sun Tzu based on moral values of justice, appropriateness, and moderation. It states that military tactics, international politics, and war exist to uphold these values and should be conducted in accordance with them. The state exercises its military capability to punish those that harm or threaten it from outside, just as it uses the law to punish criminals within it. When done in a morally justiﬁable way, the state is rewarded by happier people and the acquisition of territory and wealth. The Art of War became an inﬂuential text among the rulers, generals, and ministers of the various states in the struggle for a uniﬁed Chinese empire. It was later an important inﬂuence on the tactics of revolutionaries, including Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh. It is now required reading at many military academies, and is often included as a text in courses on politics, business, and economics. ■ Traditionally believed to be the author of the legendary treatise The Art of War, Sun Wu (later known as Sun Tzu, “the Master Sun”) was probably born in the state of Qi or Wu in China in around 544 BCE. Nothing is known of his early life, but he rose to fame as a general serving the state of Wu in many successful campaigns against the neighboring state of Chu. He became an indispensable advisor (equivalent to a contracted military consultant today) to King Helü of Wu on matters of military strategy, writing his famous treatise to be used as a handbook by the ruler. A concise book, made up of 13 short chapters, it was widely read after his death in c.496 BCE, both by state leaders ﬁghting for control of the Chinese empire, and military thinkers in Japan and Korea. It was ﬁrst translated into a European language, French, in 1782, and may have inﬂuenced Napoleon. Key work 6th century BCE The Art of War 32 PLANS FOR THE COUNTRY ARE ONLY TO BE SHARED WITH THE LEARNED MOZI (C.470–C.391 BCE) IN CONTEXT IDEOLOGY Mohism FOCUS Meritocracy BEFORE 6th century BCE Chinese philosopher Laozi advocates Daoism—acting in accordance with the Way (dao). 5th century BCE Confucius proposes a government system based on traditional values enacted by a class of scholars. AFTER 4th century BCE The authoritarian ideas of Shang Yang and Han Fei Tzu are adopted in the state of Qin as the doctrine of Legalism. T oward the end of the “golden age” of Chinese philosophy that produced the so-called Hundred Schools of Thought between the 8th and the 3rd centuries BCE, thinkers began to apply their ideas of moral Only virtuous people should be given positions of authority. philosophy to the practical business of social and political organization. Foremost among these was Confucius, who proposed a hierarchy based on traditional family relationships, reinforced with ceremony and ritual. Within Only capable people should be given positions of authority. Virtue and ability do not necessarily come from adherence to tradition or belonging to a noble family. Virtue and ability can be learned through study. 372–289 BCE The philosopher Mencius advocates a return to a form of Confucianism. 20th century Mozi’s ideas inﬂuence both Sun Yat-Sen’s Republic and the communist People’s Republic of China. Plans for the country are only to be shared with the learned. ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 33 See also: Confucius 20–27 ■ Plato 34–39 For Mozi, skilled workers such as carpenters could—with training and aptitude—be made into able administrators in government. this hierarchy, however, he recognized the importance of an administrative class to aid and advise the ruler, an idea that was later developed by Mozi. Both Confucius and Mozi believed that the well-being of the state relied on the competence and dependability of the bureaucratic class, but they differed over the way that administrators should be chosen. To Mozi, Confucius adhered too closely to the conventions of the noble families, which did not necessarily produce the virtue and ability essential to a successful bureaucracy. Mozi felt that the qualities and skills for high ofﬁce resulted from aptitude and study, regardless of background. A unifying code “Elevating the worthy,” as Mozi described his meritocratic idea, forms the cornerstone of Mohist political thinking, but it is also linked to other aspects of Mozi’s moral philosophy. He believed in the inherent goodness of people, and felt that they should live in an ■ Han Fei Tzu 48 ■ Sun Yat-Sen 212–13 atmosphere of “universal love.” At the same time, he recognized the human tendency to act in selfinterest. This, he believed, often happened in situations of conﬂict, which arose not from a lack of morality, but from differing ideas of what is morally correct. It was therefore the task of political leaders to unite the people with a coherent moral code that was enforced by a strong and ethical system of government. This code would be based on what was necessary for the greatest good of society, and formulating it required knowledge and wisdom that was only available to the learned. Mozi’s preference for a ministerial class chosen on merit and ability no doubt stemmed from his own experience of working his way up to high ofﬁce from humble beginnings. He saw the potential for nepotism and cronyism when the nobility appointed ministers. He also believed that government needed to be run in such a way that it would cultivate the prosperity of the state for the welfare of the people as a whole. Mozi It is believed that Mozi was born around the time of Confucius’s death, in Tengzhou, Shandong Province, China, into a family of artisans or possibly slaves. Named Mo Di, he was a woodworker and engineer, and worked at the courts of noble families, rising through the civil service to establish a school for ofﬁcials and advisors. His philosophical and political views gained him a following and the title Mozi (“Master Mo”). ■ Mao Zedong 260–65 Exaltation of the virtuous is the root of government. Mozi Although Mozi attracted a large group of followers, he was regarded as an idealist, and Mohism was not adopted by the Chinese rulers of the time. However, elements of his political thinking were incorporated into later political systems. For example, his emphasis on enforcing a uniﬁed moral code was a signiﬁcant inﬂuence on the authoritarian Legalist regimes that arose in the 4th century BCE. In the 20th century, Mozi’s notions of equality of opportunity were rediscovered by Chinese leaders Sun Yat-Sen and Mao Zedong. ■ Mohists, as his followers were known, lived according to Mozi’s principles of simplicity and paciﬁsm during the Warring States period, until the Qin dynasty established its Legalist regime. After his death, Mozi’s teachings were collected in The Mozi. Mohism disappeared after the uniﬁcation of China in 221 BCE, but were rediscovered in the early 20th century. Key works 5th century BCE The Mozi UNTIL PHILOSOPHERS ARE KINGS CITIES WILL NEVER HAVE REST FROM THEIR EVILS PLATO 427–347 BCE 36 PLATO IN CONTEXT IDEOLOGY Rationalism The role of rulers is to ensure the people follow the “good life.” FOCUS Philosopher kings BEFORE 594 BCE The Athenian lawmaker Solon lays down laws that act as the foundation for Greek democracy. c.450 BCE Greek philosopher Protagoras says that political justice is an imposition of human ideas, not a reﬂection of natural justice. AFTER 335–323 BCE Aristotle suggests that polity (constitutional government) is the most practical of the better ways to run a state. 54–51 BCE Cicero writes De republica, advocating a more democratic form of government than suggested by Plato’s Republic. A t the end of the 6th century BCE, a cultural golden age began in Greece that was to last for 200 years. Now referred to as the Classical period, it saw the blooming of literature, architecture, science, and, above all, philosophy, all of which profoundly inﬂuenced the development of Western civilization. At the very beginning of the Classical period, the people of the city-state of Athens overthrew their tyrannical leader and instituted a form of democracy. Under this system, government Knowing what the “good life” is requires intellectual ability and knowledge of ethics and morality. Only philosophers have this ability and knowledge. Political power should only be given to philosophers. Until philosophers are kings, cities will never have rest from their evils. ofﬁcials were chosen by a lottery from among the citizens, and decisions were taken by a democratic assembly. All the citizens could speak and vote at the assembly—they did not elect representatives to do this on their behalf. It should be noted, however, that the “citizens” were a minority of the population; they were free men aged over 30 whose parents were Athenians. Women, slaves, children, younger men, and foreigners or ﬁrst-generation settlers were excluded from the democratic process. This political environment quickly made Athens a major cultural center, attracting some of the foremost thinkers of the time. One of the greatest of these was an Athenian named Socrates, whose philosophical questioning of the generally accepted notions of justice and virtue gained him a following of young disciples. Unfortunately, it also attracted unwanted attention from the authorities, who persuaded the democratic assembly to issue Socrates with a death sentence, on charges of corrupting the young. ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 37 See also: Confucius 20–27 ■ Mozi 32–33 ■ Aristotle 40–43 Augustine of Hippo 54–55 ■ Al-Farabi 58–59 Democracy passes into despotism. Plato One of Socrates’ young followers was Plato, who shared his teacher’s inquisitive nature and skeptical attitude. Plato was to become disillusioned with the Athenian system after what he saw as its unfair treatment of his teacher. Plato went on to become as inﬂuential a philosopher as Socrates, and toward the end of his career he turned his considerable intellect to the business of politics, most famously in the Republic. Unsurprisingly, given that he had seen Socrates condemned and was himself from a noble family, Plato had little sympathy for democracy. But neither did he ﬁnd much to commend in any other existing form of government, all of which he believed led the state into “evils.” The good life To understand what Plato meant by “evils” in this context, it is important to bear in mind the concept of eudaimonia, the “good Socrates chose to drink poison rather than renounce his views. The trial and conviction of Socrates caused Plato to doubt the virtues of the democratic political system of Athens. ■ Chanakya 44–47 ■ life,” which for ancient Greeks was a vital aim. “Living well” was not a question of achieving material well-being, honor, or mere pleasure, but rather living according to fundamental virtues such as wisdom, piety, and above all, justice. The purpose of the state, Plato believed, was to promote these virtues so that its citizens could lead this good life. Issues such as protection of property, liberty, and stability were only important in so far as they created conditions that allowed citizens to live well. In his opinion, however, no political system had yet existed that fulﬁlled this objective—and the defects within them encouraged what he saw as “evils,” or the opposite of these virtues. The reason for this, Plato maintained, is that rulers, whether in a monarchy, oligarchy (rule of the few), or democracy, tend to rule in their own interests rather than for the good of the state and its people. Plato explains that this is due to a general ignorance of the virtues that constitute the good life, which Cicero 49 ■ in turn leads people to desire the wrong things, especially the transitory pleasures of honor and wealth. These prizes come with political power, and the problem is intensiﬁed in the political arena. The desire to rule, for what Plato saw as the wrong reasons, leads to conﬂict among citizens. With everyone seeking increased power, this ultimately undermines the stability and unity of the state. Whoever emerges victorious from the power struggle deprives his opponents of the power to achieve their desires, which leads to injustice—an evil that is exactly contrary to the cornerstone of Plato’s notion of the good life. In contrast, Plato argued, there is a class of people who understand the meaning of the good life: philosophers. They alone recognize the worth of virtues above the pleasures of honor and money, and they have devoted their lives to the pursuit of the good life. Because of this, they do not lust after fame and fortune, and so have no desire for political power—paradoxically this is what qualiﬁes them as ideal ❯❯ 38 PLATO rulers. On face value, Plato’s argument would seem to be simply that “philosophers know best,” and (coming from a philosopher) might appear to contradict his assertion that they have no desire to rule, but behind it he gives a much richer and more subtle reasoning. The shipowner, who represents the general populace, has no knowledge of seafaring. Plato used the metaphor of the ship of state to explain why philosophers should be kings. Though he does not seek power, the navigator is the only one who can steer a proper course— much as the philosopher is the only one with the knowledge to rule justly. The sailors, who represent politicians, vie with each other for the shipowner’s favor. The navigator, who represents the philosopher, is not involved in the struggle for power. examples of these Forms, and may show only a part of their nature. They are like inadequate reﬂections or shadows of the real Forms. These ideal Forms, or Ideas, as Plato called them, exist in a realm outside the world we live in, accessible only via philosophical reasoning and inquiry. It is this that makes philosophers uniquely qualiﬁed to deﬁne what constitutes the good life, and of leading a truly virtuous life, rather than simply imitating individual examples of virtue. Plato had already demonstrated that to be good, the state has to be ruled by the virtuous, and while others value money or honor above all, only philosophers value knowledge and wisdom, and therefore virtue. It follows then that only the interests of philosophers beneﬁt the state, and therefore “philosophers must become kings.” Plato goes as far as to suggest that they should be compelled to take positions of power, in order to avoid the conﬂict and injustice inherent in other forms of government. Ideal Forms From Socrates, Plato had learned that virtue is not innate, but dependent on knowledge and wisdom, and in order to lead a virtuous life it is necessary ﬁrst to understand the essential nature of virtue. Plato developed his mentor’s ideas, showing that while we might recognize individual instances of qualities such as justice, goodness, or beauty, this does not allow us to understand what gives them their essential nature. We might imitate them—acting in a way that we think is just, for example—but this is mere mimicry rather than truly behaving according to those virtues. In his Theory of Forms, Plato suggested the existence of ideal archetypes of these virtues (and of everything that exists) that consist of the essence of their true nature; this means that what we see as instances of these virtues are only The chief penalty is to be governed by someone worse if a man will not himself hold ofﬁce and rule. Plato Educating kings Plato recognizes that this is a utopian stance, and goes on to say, “…or those now called kings must genuinely and adequately philosophize,” suggesting the education of a potential ruling class as a more practical proposition. In his later dialogues Statesman and Laws, he describes a model for a state in which this can be achieved, teaching the philosophical skills necessary to understanding the good life, in the same way as any other skills that can be of use to society. However, he points out that not every citizen has the aptitude ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 39 Democracy… is full of variety and disorder, dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. Plato and intellectual ability to learn these skills. He suggests that where this education is appropriate—for a small, intellectual elite—it should be enforced rather than offered. Those chosen for power because of their “natural talents” should be separated from their families and reared in communes, so that their loyalties are to the state. Plato’s political writings were inﬂuential in the ancient world, in particular in the Roman empire, and echoed the notions of virtue and education in the political philosophy of Chinese scholars such as Confucius and Mozi. It is even possible that they inﬂuenced Chanakya in India when he wrote his treatise on training potential rulers. In medieval times, Plato’s inﬂuence spread to the Islamic empire and to Christian Europe, where Augustine incorporated them into the teachings of the Church. Later, Plato’s ideas were overshadowed by those of Aristotle, whose advocacy of democracy worked better with the political philosophers of the Renaissance. Plato’s political notions have been seen as unacceptably authoritarian and elitist by later thinkers, and they fell out of favor with many in the modern world while it struggled to establish democracy. He has been criticized as advocating a totalitarian, or at best paternalistic, system of government run by an elite that claims to know what is best for everyone else. Recently, however, his central notion of a political elite of “philosopher kings” has been reappraised by political thinkers. ■ Emperor Nero is said to have stood by and done nothing to help while a ﬁre raged in the city of Rome. Plato’s ideal of a philosopher king has been blamed by some for the rise of such tyrants. Plato Born around 427 BCE, Plato was originally called Aristocles, later acquiring the nickname Plato (meaning “broad”) because of his muscular physique. From a noble Athenian family, he was probably expected to follow a career in politics, but instead became a disciple of the philosopher Socrates and was present when his mentor chose to die rather than renounce his views. Plato traveled widely around the Mediterranean before returning to Athens, where he established a school of philosophy, the Academy, which numbered among its students the young Aristotle. While teaching, he wrote a number of books in the form of dialogues, generally featuring his teacher Socrates, exploring ideas of philosophy and politics. He is believed to have carried on teaching and writing well into his later years, and died at about the age of 80 in 348/347 BCE. Key works c.399–387 BCE Crito c.380–360 BCE Republic c.355–347 BCE Statesman, Laws 40 MAN IS BY NATURE A POLITICAL ANIMAL ARISTOTLE (384–322 BCE) IN CONTEXT IDEOLOGY Democracy FOCUS Political virtue BEFORE 431 BCE Athenian statesman Pericles states that democracy provides equal justice for all. c.380–360 BCE In the Republic, Plato advocates rule by “philosopher kings,” who possess wisdom. AFTER 13th century Thomas Aquinas incorporates Aristotle’s ideas into Christian doctrine. c.1300 Giles of Rome stresses the importance of the rule of law to living in a civil society. 1651 Thomas Hobbes proposes a social contract to prevent man from living in a “brutish” state of nature. A ncient Greece was not a uniﬁed nation-state as we would recognize one today, but a collection of independent regional states with cities at their center. Each city-state, or polis, had its own constitutional organization: some, such as Macedon, were ruled by a monarch, while others, most notably Athens, had a form of democracy in which at least some of the citizens could participate in their government. Aristotle, who was brought up in Macedon and studied in Athens, was well acquainted with the concept of the polis and its various interpretations, and his analytical ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 41 See also: Plato 34–39 ■ Cicero 49 ■ Thomas Aquinas 62–69 ■ Giles of Rome 70 ■ Thomas Hobbes 96–103 ■ Jean-Jacques Rousseau 118–25 People come together to form households, households to form villages, and villages to form cities. The purpose of our lives is to lead a “good life.” Aristotle We have developed ways of organizing city-states in order to live a “good life.” Living in a society organized by reason, such as a city-state, is what makes us human. Anybody who lives outside the city-state is either a beast or a god. Man is by nature a political animal. mind made him well qualiﬁed to examine the merits of the citystate. He also spent some time in Ionia classifying animals and plants according to their characteristics. He was later to apply these skills of categorization to ethics and politics, which he saw as both natural and practical sciences. Unlike his mentor, Plato, Aristotle believed that knowledge was acquired through observation rather than intellectual reasoning, and that the science of politics should be based on empirical data, organized in the same way as the taxonomy of the natural world. Naturally social Aristotle observed that humans have a natural tendency to form social units: individuals come together to form households, households to form villages, and villages to form cities. Just as some animals—such as bees or cattle —are distinguished by their disposition to live in colonies ❯❯ The son of a physician to the royal family of Macedon, Aristotle was born in Stagira, Chalcidice, in the northeast of modern Greece. He was sent to Athens at 17 to study with Plato at the Academy, and remained there until Plato’s death 20 years later. Surprisingly, Aristotle was not appointed Plato’s successor to lead the Academy. He moved to Ionia, where he made a study of wildlife, until he was invited by Philip of Macedon to be tutor to the young Alexander the Great. Aristotle returned to Athens in 335 BCE to establish a rival school to the Academy, at the Lyceum. While teaching there, he formalized his ideas on the sciences, philosophy, and politics, compiling a large volume of writings, of which few have survived. After the death of Alexander in 323 BCE, anti-Macedonian feeling in Athens prompted him to leave the city for Euboea, where he died the following year. Key works c.350 BCE Nicomachean Ethics Politics Rhetoric 42 ARISTOTLE or herds, humans are by nature social. Just as he might deﬁne a wolf by saying it is by nature a pack animal, Aristotle says that “Man is by nature a political animal.” By this, Aristotle means simply that Man is an animal whose nature it is to live socially in a polis; he is not implying a natural tendency towards political activity in the modern sense of the word. The idea that we have a tendency to live in large civil communities might seem relatively unenlightening today, but it is important to recognize that Aristotle is explicitly stating that the polis is just as much a creation of nature as an ants’ nest. For him, it is inconceivable that humans can live in any other way. This contrasts markedly with ideas of civil society as an artiﬁcial construct that has taken us out of an uncivilized “state of nature”— something Aristotle would not have understood. Anyone living outside a polis, he believed, was not human —he must be either superior to men (that is, a god) or inferior to them (that is, a beast). The good life This idea of the polis as a natural phenomenon rather than a manmade one underpins Aristotle’s ideas about ethics and the politics of the city-state. From his study of the natural world, he gained a notion that everything that exists has an aim or a purpose, and he decided that for humans, this is to lead a “good life.” Aristotle takes this to mean the pursuit of virtues, such as justice, goodness, and beauty. The purpose of the polis, then, is to enable us to live according to these virtues. The ancient Greeks saw the structure of the state—which enables people to live together and protects the property and liberty of its citizens —as a means to the end of virtue. Aristotle identiﬁed various “species” and “sub-species” within the polis. He found that what distinguishes man from the other animals is his innate powers of reason and the faculty of speech, which give him a unique ability to form social groups and set up communities and partnerships. Within the community of a polis, the citizens develop an organization that ensures the security, economic stability, and justice of the state; not by imposing any form of social contract, but because it is in their nature to do so. For Aristotle, the different ways of organizing the life of the polis exist not so that people can live together (since they do this Law is order, and good law is good order. Aristotle by their very nature), but so that they can live well. How well they succeed in achieving this goal, he observes, depends on the type of government they choose. Species of rule An inveterate classiﬁer of data, Aristotle devised a comprehensive taxonomy of the natural world, and in his later works, especially Politics, he set about applying the same methodical skills to systems of government. While Plato had reasoned theoretically about the ideal form of government, Aristotle chose to examine existing regimes to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. To do this, he asked two simple questions: who rules, and on whose behalf do they rule? In answer to the ﬁrst question, Aristotle observes that there are basically three types of rule: by a single person, by a select few, or by many. And in answer to the second question, the rule could be either on behalf of the population as a whole, which he considered true or good government, or in the selfIn ancient Athens, citizens debated political affairs at a stone dais called the Pnyx. To Aristotle, the active participation of citizens in government was essential for a healthy society. ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 43 interest of the ruler or ruling class, a defective form of government. In all, he identiﬁed six “species” of rule, which came in pairs. Monarchy is rule by an individual on behalf of all; rule by an individual in his own interests, or tyranny, is corrupted monarchy. Rule by aristocracy (which to the Greeks meant rule by the best, rather than rule by hereditary noble families) is rule by a few for the good of all; rule by a self-interested few, or oligarchy, is its corrupted form. Finally, polity is rule by the many for the beneﬁt of all. Aristotle saw democracy as the corrupted form of this last form of rule, as in practice it entails ruling on behalf of the many, rather than every single individual. Aristotle argues that the selfinterest inherent in the defective forms of government leads to inequality and injustice. This translates into instability, which threatens the role of the state and its ability to encourage virtuous living. In practice, however, the city-states he studied did not all fall neatly into just one category, but exhibited characteristics from the various types. Although Aristotle had a tendency to view the polis as a single “organism,” of which the The basis of a democratic state is liberty. Aristotle Aristotle’s Six Species of Government Rule By A Single Person Rule By A Select Few Rule By The Many True Government Monarchy Aristocracy Polity Corrupt Government Tyranny citizens are merely a part, he also examined the role of the individual within the city-state. Again, he stresses Man’s natural inclination to social interaction, and deﬁnes the citizen as one who shares in the structure of the civil community, not merely by electing representatives, but through active participation. When this participation is within a “good” form of government (monarchy, aristocracy, or polity), it fosters the ability of the citizen to lead a virtuous life. Under a “defective” regime (tyranny, oligarchy, or democracy), the citizen becomes involved with the self-interested pursuits of the ruler or ruling class —the tyrant’s pursuit of power, the oligarchs’ thirst for wealth, or the democrats’ search for freedom. Of all the possible regimes, Aristotle concludes, polity provides the best opportunity to lead a good life. Oligarchy Democracy Although Aristotle categorizes democracy as a “defective” form of regime, he argues that it is only second best to polity, and better than the “good” aristocracy or monarchy. While the individual citizen may not have the wisdom and virtue of a good ruler, collectively “the many” may prove to be better rulers than “the one.” The detailed description and analysis of the Classical Greek polis seems on the face of it to have little relevance to the nation-states that followed, but Aristotle’s ideas had a growing inﬂuence on European political thought throughout the Middle Ages. Despite being criticized for his often authoritarian standpoint (and his defense of slavery and the inferior status of women), his arguments in favor of constitutional government anticipate ideas that emerged in the Enlightenment. ■ 44 A SINGLE WHEEL DOES NOT MOVE CHANAKYA C.350–C.275 BCE IN CONTEXT IDEOLOGY Realism FOCUS Utilitarian BEFORE 6th century BCE The Chinese general Sun Tzu writes his treatise The Art of War, bringing an analytical approach to statecraft. 424 BCE Mahapadma Nanda establishes the Nanda dynasty in India, and relies on his generals for tactical advice. AFTER c.65 BCE The Mauryan empire, which Chanakya helped to found, reaches its height and rules over all but the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. 1904 Texts of Chanakya’s treatises are rediscovered and, in 1915, are translated into English. D uring the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, the Nanda dynasty slowly gained control over the northern half of the Indian subcontinent, defeating its rivals one by one and holding off the threat of invasion by the Greeks and Persians from the west. The rulers of this expanding empire relied on generals for tactical advice in battle, but they also began to recognize the value of ministers to advise on matters of policy and government. Scholars, especially those from Takshashila, a university established c.600 BCE in Rawalpindi, now part of Pakistan, frequently became these ministers. Many important thinkers developed ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 45 See also: Confucius 20–27 Niccolò Machiavelli 74–81 ■ Sun Tzu 28–31 ■ Mozi 32–33 ■ Plato 34–39 ■ Aristotle 40–43 A ruler is responsible for the welfare, security, and discipline of his people. He needs to have a wide range of knowledge, skills, and personal qualities. He must be trained in self-discipline and statecraft before taking ofﬁce. While in ofﬁce, he must be advised by able and experienced ministers. Governance is possible only with assistance. A single wheel does not move. their ideas at Takshashila, but perhaps the most signiﬁcant was Chanakya (also known as Kautilya and Vishnugupta). He wrote a treatise on statecraft titled Arthashastra, meaning “the science of material gain” or “the art of polity.” Arthashastra combined the accumulated wisdom of the art of politics with Chanakya’s own ideas, and was remarkable in its dispassionate, and at times ruthless, analysis of the business of politics. Advising the sovereign Although sections of the treatise dealt with the moral qualities desirable in the leader of a state, the emphasis was on the practical, describing in direct terms how power could be gained and maintained, and for the ﬁrst time in India, it explicitly described a civil structure in which ministers and advisors played a key role in the running of the state. A commitment to the prosperity of the state lies at the heart of Chanakya’s political thought, and he makes repeated references to the welfare of the people as the ultimate goal of government. This, The lion capital of Ashoka stood on top of a pillar in Sarnath at the center of the Mauryan empire. Chanakya helped to found this powerful empire, which came to rule nearly all of India. ■ he believed, was the responsibility of a sovereign who would ensure his people’s well-being and security by administering order and justice, and leading his country to victory over rival states. The power to carry out his duties to his country and its people is dependent on several different factors, which Chanakya describes in Arthashastra: the personal qualities of the ruler, the abilities of his advisors, his territory and towns, his wealth, his army, and his allies. The sovereign, as head of state, has the central role in this system of government. Chanakya emphasizes the importance of ﬁnding a ruler with the appropriate qualities, but then goes on to say that personal qualities of leadership are not sufﬁcient on their own: the sovereign must also be trained for the job. He must learn the various skills of statecraft, such as military tactics and strategy, law, administration, and the arts of diplomacy and politics, but in addition he should be taught the skills of self-discipline and ethics in order to develop the moral authority necessary to command the ❯❯ 46 CHANAKYA All things begin with counsel. Chanakya loyalty and obedience of his people. Before taking ofﬁce, the sovereign needs assistance from experienced and knowledgable teachers. Once instated, a wise sovereign does not rely solely on his own wisdom, but can turn to trusted ministers and advisors for counsel. In Chanakya’s view, such individuals are as important as the sovereign in governing the state. In Arthashastra, Chanakya states: “Governance is possible only with assistance—a single wheel does not move.” This is a warning to the sovereign not to be autocratic, but to arrive at decisions of state after consulting his ministers. The appointment of ministers with the necessary qualiﬁcations is therefore just as important as the people’s choice of leader. The ministers can provide a range of knowledge and skills. They must be utterly trustworthy, not only so that the sovereign can rely on their advice, but also to ensure that decisions are made in the interests of the state and its people—if necessary, preventing a corrupt ruler from acting in his own interests. The end justiﬁes the means It was this recognition of the realities of human nature that distinguished Chanakya from other Indian political philosophers of the time. Arthashastra is not a work of moral philosophy, but a practical guide to governance, and in ensuring the welfare and security of the state it often advocates using whatever means are necessary. Although Arthashastra advocates a regime of learning and selfdiscipline for an ideal ruler, and mentions certain moral qualities, it doesn’t ﬂinch from describing how to use underhanded methods to gain and maintain power. Chanakya was a shrewd observer of human weaknesses as well as strengths, and he was not above exploiting these to increase the sovereign’s power and undermine that of the sovereign’s enemies. This is particularly noticeable in his advice on defending and acquiring territory. Here he recommends that the ruler and his ministers should carefully assess the strength of their enemies before deciding on a strategy to undermine them. They can then choose from a number of different tactics, ranging from conciliation, encouraging dissent in the enemy’s ranks, and forming alliances of convenience with other rulers, to the simple use of military force. In deploying these tactics, the ruler should be ruthless, using trickery, bribery, and any other inducements deemed necessary. Although this seems contradictory to the moral authority Chanakya advocates in a leader, he stipulates that after victory has been achieved, the ruler should “substitute his virtues for the defeated enemy’s vices, and where the enemy was good, he shall be twice as good.” Intelligence and espionage Arthashastra reminds rulers that military advisors are also needed, and the gathering of information is important for decision-making. A network of spies is vital in assessing the threat posed by neighboring states, or to judge the feasibility of acquiring territory; but A ruler is a single wheel, and cannot guide the state well. His advisors form a second wheel to help move the state forward. In Chanakya’s analogy, the state is like a chariot with the sovereign forming one wheel and his ministers making up the other; in order to move and be steered in the right direction, the chariot needs both wheels. ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 47 Through ministerial eyes others’ weaknesses are seen. Chanakya Chanakya goes further, suggesting that espionage within the state is also a necessary evil in order to ensure social stability. At home and in international relations, morality is of secondary importance to the protection of the state. The state’s welfare is used as justiﬁcation for clandestine operations, including political assassination, should this be necessary, aimed at reducing the threat of opposition. This amoral approach to taking and holding on to power, and the advocacy of a strict enforcement of law and order, can be seen either as shrewd political awareness or as ruthlessness, and has earned Chanakya The birthplace of Indian scholar Chanakya is not certain. It is known that he studied and taught in Takshashila (modern Taxila, Pakistan). Leaving Takshashila to become involved in government, he traveled to Pataliputra, where he became an advisor to King Dhana Nanda. There are many conﬂicting accounts of what happened next, but all agree that he left the Nanda court after a dispute, and in revenge groomed the young Chandragupta Maurya to Arthashastra comparison with Machiavelli’s The Prince, written around 2,000 years later. However, the central doctrine, of rule by a sovereign and ministers, has more in common with Confucius and Mozi, or Plato and Aristotle, whose ideas Chanakya may have come across as a student in Takshashila. A proven philosophy The advice contained in the pages of Arthashastra soon proved its usefulness when adopted by Chanakya’s protegé Chandragupta be Nanda’s rival. Chandragupta overthrew Dhana Nanda and founded the Mauryan empire, which governed all of modern India except the very south. Chanakya became chief advisor to Chandragupta, but is said to have starved himself to death after being falsely accused by Chandragupta’s son, Bindusara, of poisoning his mother. Key works 4th century BCE Arthashastra Neetishastra Elephants played a big role in Indian warfare, often terrifying enemies so much that they would withdraw rather than ﬁght. Chanakya developed new strategies for warfare with elephants. Maurya, who successfully defeated King Nanda to establish the Mauryan empire in around 321 BCE. This became the ﬁrst empire to cover the majority of the Indian subcontinent, and Maurya also successfully held off the threat from Greek invaders led by Alexander the Great. Chanakya’s ideas were to inﬂuence government and policy-making for several centuries, until India eventually succumbed to Islamic and Mughal rule in the Middle Ages. The text of Arthashastra was rediscovered in the early 20th century, and regained some of its importance in Indian political thinking, gaining iconic status after India won independence from Great Britain in 1948. Despite its central place in Indian political history, it was little known in the West, and it is only recently that Chanakya has been recognized outside India as a signiﬁcant political thinker. ■ 48 IF EVIL MINISTERS ENJOY SAFETY AND PROFIT, THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF DOWNFALL HAN FEI TZU (280–233 BCE) IN CONTEXT IDEOLOGY Legalism FOCUS State laws BEFORE 5th century BCE Confucius advocates a hierarchy based on traditional family relationships, with the sovereign and his ministers ruling by example. D uring China’s Warring States period, between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE, rulers were vying for power over a uniﬁed Chinese empire, and a new political philosophy emerged to suit these turbulent times. Thinkers such as Shang Yang (390–338 BCE), Shen Dao (c. 350–275 BCE), and Shen Buhai (died 337 BCE) advocated a much more authoritarian approach to government, which became known as Legalism. Formalized and put into practice by Han Fei Tzu, Legalism rejected the 4th century BCE Mozi proposes a purely meritocratic class of ministers and advisors chosen for their virtue and ability. AFTER 2nd century BCE After the Warring States period ends, China’s Han dynasty rejects Legalism and adopts Confucianism. 589–618 CE Legalist principles are revived during the Sui dynasty in an attempt to unify the Chinese empire. To govern the state by law is to praise the right and blame the wrong. Han Fei Tzu Confucian idea of leading by example and Mozi’s belief in the innate goodness of human nature, and instead took the more cynical view that people naturally acted to avoid punishment and achieve personal gain. The only way that this could be controlled, the Legalists argued, was by a system that emphasized the wellbeing of the state over the rights of the individual, with strict laws to punish undesirable behavior. Administration of these laws was handled by the ruler’s ministers, who in turn were subject to laws that held them accountable, with punishments and favors given by the ruler. In this way, the hierarchy with the ruler at the top could be maintained, and corruption and intrigue among the bureaucracy could be controlled. It was vitally important to the safety of the state in times of war that the ruler could rely on his ministers and that they should be acting in the interests of the state rather than for their own personal advancement. ■ See also: Confucius 20–27 ■ Sun Tzu 28–31 ■ Mozi 32–33 Thomas Hobbes 96–103 ■ Mao Zedong 260–65 ■ ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 49 THE GOVERNMENT IS BANDIED ABOUT LIKE A BALL CICERO (106–43 ) BCE IN CONTEXT IDEOLOGY Republicanism FOCUS Mixed constitution BEFORE c.380 BCE Plato writes the Republic, outlining his ideas for an ideal city-state. 2nd century BCE Greek historian Polybius’s The Histories describes the rise of the Roman Republic and its constitution with a separation of powers. 48 BCE Julius Caesar is given unprecedented powers, and his dictatorship marks the end of the Roman Republic. AFTER 27 BCE Octavian is proclaimed Augustus, effectively the ﬁrst emperor of Rome. 1734 Montesquieu writes Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline. T he Roman Republic was founded in around 510 BCE along similar lines to the city-states of Greece. With only minor changes, it ruled for almost 500 years. This system of government combined elements of three different forms of regime —monarchy (replaced by the Consuls), aristocracy (the Senate), and democracy (the popular assembly)—each with distinct areas of power that balanced one another out. Known as a mixed constitution, it was considered by most Romans to be an ideal form of government that provided stability and prevented tyranny. from the tyrant, it is taken by the aristocracy or the people; and from the people it will be seized by oligarchs or tyrants. Without the checks and balances of a mixed constitution, the government, he believed, would be “bandied about like a ball.” True to Cicero’s predictions, Rome came under the control of an emperor, Augustus, shortly after Caesar’s death, and power was passed from him to a succession of despotic rulers. ■ Checks and balances Roman politician Cicero was a staunch defender of the system, particularly when it was threatened by the granting of dictatorial powers to Julius Caesar. He warned that a break-up of the Republic would prompt a return to a destructive cycle of governments. He said that from a monarchy, power can be passed to a tyrant; The Roman standard carried the legend SPQR (the Senate and the People of Rome), celebrating the central institutions of the mixed constitution. See also: Plato 34–39 ■ Aristotle 40–43 ■ Montesquieu 110–111 ■ Benjamin Franklin 112–13 ■ Thomas Jefferson 140–41 ■ James Madison 150–53 MEDIEV POLITIC 30 –1515 CE CE AL S 52 INTRODUCTION According to Catholic tradition, St. Peter is made the ﬁrst Bishop of Rome, and his successors become known as popes. Emperor Theodosius I establishes Christianity as the ofﬁcial religion of Rome. Muhammad writes the Constitution of Medina, establishing the ﬁrst Islamic government. 380 622 C.30 CE F Al-Kindi brings classical Greek texts, including those of Plato and Aristotle, to the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. 900 306 CE C.413 800 C.940–950 Constantine I becomes the ﬁrst Christian emperor of the Roman empire. Augustine of Hippo describes a government without justice as no better than a band of robbers. Charlemagne is crowned emperor of Rome, effectively founding the Holy Roman empire. In The Virtuous City, Al-Farabi applies the ideas of Plato and Aristotle to imagine an ideal Islamic state. rom its beginnings in the 1st century BCE, the Roman empire grew in strength, extending its reign over Europe, Mediterranean Africa, and the Middle East. By the 2nd century CE, it was at the height of its power, and Roman imperial culture, with its emphasis on prosperity and stability, threatened to replace the values of scholarship and philosophy associated with the republics of Athens and Rome. At the same time, a new religion was taking root within the empire: Christianity. For the next millennium, political thinking was dominated by the Church in Europe, and political theory during the Middle Ages was shaped by Christian theology. In the 7th century, another powerful religion, Islam, emerged. It spread from Arabia into Asia and Africa, and also inﬂuenced political thinking in Christian Europe. The impact of Christianity Roman philosophers such as Plotinus returned to the ideas of Plato, and the “neo-Platonist” movement inﬂuenced early Christian thinkers. Augustine of Hippo interpreted Plato’s ideas in the light of Christian faith to examine quest