Glenn Tender's Political Thinking

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Brad Schwartzman
Glenn Tender's Political Thinking

Hans Morgantheau, one of the foremost thinkers in political science believed that politics and government is the perpetual struggle for power. The famous political theorist Thucydides agreed when he said, the "strong will do what they want, the weak will do what the must." Are they right? Is the goal of all humans to seek power in order to dictate their own ideologies and beliefs? I would agree that the tumultuous and evolutionary system that we live in can be broken down into a simplistic belief. However, in order to answer these questions we must first clear away all the idealistic and political debris that surrounds them and uncover the root of human existence. Only then can we attribute all of one's actions and emotions to a single concrete ideal. Once the nature of humanity is discovered, different components of the political structure such as freedom, equality and order can be better understood. The nature of a human being can be best defined in terms of its "essence." Glenn Tinder, professor of political science and author of Political Thinking asserts that the "essence" of an individual is one's "innermost" or "basic" self (26). If one acts in a manner unbefitting of what they consider themselves, the behavior they are referring to is engrained in one's "essence." It is what makes humans what they are, the core of their being, what defines them as a person. Next, it must be established whether humans are united or "estranged" in their essence. "Estrangement" encompasses all forms of disunity among human beings. Examples from Tinder include war among nations and classes, personal alienation and other human emotions such as hatred, isolation and apathy (23). Thomas Hobbes, the famous English philosopher advocated that humans are estranged. Morgantheau would agree with Hobbes' assertion that the natural state of man is one of conflict. Without a strong government to guide its citizens, "men have no pleasure, but on the contrary a great deal of grief, in keeping company (27)." Diverging from this belief is the founder of political science, Aristotle. He concluded that "man is a political being (29)." Humans are interconnected and united in their essence similar to the construction of a puzzle. A single piece represents almost nothing, but when the pieces are connected with one another, a grand, bigger picture can be seen. Choosing between Hobbes and Aristotle has been a daunting task. Are humans essentially communal, or do they prefer operating independently? After a scrupulous examination, I have come to believe that human beings are unknowingly united in their essence. I agree with Saint Augustine's interpretation of humanity that estrangement exists because humans have denied their essence. But I disagree with his reasoning that it is because humans have betrayed God's wishes and creation. The denial of our essence is attributed to societal factors, not a supreme plan. The most glaring factor is, as Morgantheau affirmed, the perpetual struggle for power. The quest for power has become the most deadly epidemic in human history and the greatest obstacle on the way to grasping our essence. Wars are fought, embargoes are sanctioned and salaries are established all based on the spectrum of power. Millions of people have died or been enslaved protecting or advancing this coveted principle. This process of gaining and maintaining power has brought out the worst in humanity in forms of violence, treachery and malice. As Lord ??? noted, "Power tends to corrupt (103)." With this is in mind, if power can be so closely related to the downtrodden and cruel aspects of humanity, then why seek it? There are many answers why, the quick answer being that those with it possess authority. Taking a deeper approach requires a bit more explanation. The root cause for man's obsession with power is that with power comes order. Can there be order...
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