Political theorists have long debated over what the best form of political leadership is. For example, John Locke argued that the people should be the priority and that the state should work to provide for the people, whereas Thomas Hobbes believes that people should submit to absolute government. This paper will be an account of how the great political philosophers, from Socrates to Locke portray political leadership.
Socrates believes that the greatest virtue is knowledge and focused on preparing others for leadership. Socrates’ elenchus method is a form of discussion based on asking and answering questions to get people to think critically and engage in philosophical debates. Socrates was a believer in the power of persuasion and believed that there was something somewhere inside people that can help him pursued them and change their views (Nathan Harter, 2015). Socrates also believed that everyone in Athens should have political knowledge, not just the the one or few experts that were in Athens. It is unclear what form of government Socrates prefers, as he does not have any written work, it can be inferred that he believes a political leader with real knowledge of politics is the best form of leadership (Melissa Lane, 2014).
In book six of The Republic, Plato argues that having elections to vote for a leader is risky and ineffective because voters are ignorant can be easily swayed by irrelevant factors such as looks. Being that his mentor, Socrates was sentenced to death by the Athenian citizens for “corrupting the youth”, Plato grew increasingly distrustful of the masses to make good judgements. Plato believes that the best form of government i...
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...hat they should not impose their beliefs on the citizens. Locke and Hobbes differ on opinions when speaking about the right for the citizens to rebel against a corrupt state. Hobbes believes that the government 's existence is to control people and save people from themselves; therefore, people must not rebel against the government under any circumstances. On the other hand, Locke believes that the government’s duty is to the people, thus, if the government becomes corrupt, then people have the right to rebel and overthrow the government.
As made evident by these different accounts, there are many forms of political leadership. Whereas the earlier philosophers were generally suspicious of the so-called ignorant mass and believed that only the most wise should rule, the later philosophers focus more on the proper relationship between a government and its citizens.
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