Introduction To Western Political Thought


The western political concepts and lines of thought are based on the following core principles: justice, democracy, and the social contract. Interestingly so, the different cosmopolitan cultures within the modern world all have different views and interpretations of the same (Pippin, 2010). This paper aims at dissecting the various concepts and interpretations of the same within the lines of academia prescribed by this course.

The periodical developments of the western political line of thought, which is, the main political philosophy employed by many parts of the world revolves around the core principles talked about in the abstract above. The interpretations of the same depend heavily on the historical nature of the political territory and authority involved. Aspects of war, racism, famine and economy are all dictated by while also dictating the political nature and interpretations of the key principles regarding the territory (pippin, 2010).The modern political line of thought dates back to the initial historical periods of civilization and governance. Although the actual evolution of the same can be traced back to the 19th and 20th century. The concept of democracy was historically championed by Abraham Lincoln and diffused throughout the world. His interpretation of how human being should be politically governed formed the modern basis of democracy.


All modern political environments are mainly marred by problems arising from the different available concepts and definitions of justice. The concept of justice in its entirety revolves around right and wrong. What is wrong? What is right? Which is the right way for the elite to act in public and treat the less fortunate?

It should be noted that this is highly subjective. Very many historical wars were based on the argument of the same. The question surrounding responsibility with respect to matters related to justice have not been effectively streamlined within the modern world. The debate, however, has always revolved around the concept of justice and economic affairs (Pippin, 2010).

Some argue on the basis that people should be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor without considering the less fortunate. To them, poverty, in its entirety is as a result of laziness and unproductiveness in the modern world full of opportunities and therefore should not be rewarded on the principle of doing good or social justice. Others, however, counteract this concept of justice on the basis of compassion and humanity. They feel and stress on the need to share as an act of good will as their contribution towards the greater good, that is, eradication of the socio-economic evils of the world. They perceive the role of any human being on this planet is to contribute towards a human utopia for humanity (Pippin, 2010).

Others, however, feel the need to evaluate the concepts and people in the society with respect to priority and those in power and with the resources. The least fortunate should be given the greatest priority, while the most productive should share their good fortunes with the former. Some, on the other hand still insist on complete equality of people. They champion the equal distribution of the good fortune among everyone (Pippin, 2010). This is the main debate over political controversy and justice. This, in its entirety, translates to the segregation and differing of the different political territories by virtue of this ideas. A perfect example of the historical evidence of the same is the cold war in the late twentieth century. The Soviet Union of the time differed with the United States of America on the sole basis of ideology. Both parties championed communism and capitalism respectively with respect to justice and ideology. The events of the cold war are well documented, perhaps one of the best-documented events of human history. This shows the great influence the concept of justice has on the modern world’s political relations (Pippin, 2010).

Social Contract

A political theory only counts as a contract if the said theory has an underlying principle which under scrutiny can be justified by the persons who join together under predetermined agreed terms, those terms constituting the terms of the agreement and the association. Needless to say, the social contract takes a logical form in which a pre-negotiated agreement and methodology of association are incorporated in the social and political association between an individual and another individual or an individuals and other individuals. Every person within the social contract covered within the boundaries has responsibilities regarding the contract (Pippin, 2010).

Political democracy

The concept of political democracy can be effectively described as the set of institutions within political governance in which important issues that are sensitive to the public are decided upon by the opinions of representatives of the public within a political setting in which the majority have equal political rights and powers (Weale, 2016).

A political democracy can take various shapes and sizes depending on the size of the overall political territory in question, that is, on national, municipal, county or commune level. It may also be described as direct, if the members of the political territory take an active role in the decision-making process through democratic acts like voting, or indirect if the political representatives within the territory decide on behalf of the people through acts like legislation (Weale, 2016).

Political democracy is accepted as justified because it takes into account the concern of common human interests, the importance of political equality and the fallibility of human decision making. It is a perfect example of simultaneous collective authority and form of collective expression. Collective authority satisfies the needs of political authority within any political setting (Weale, 2016). Political democracy, although the most popular form of political governance in the world, is marred by great limitations. In the modern world, the concept of political democracy is marred by the concept of malice and prejudice. Democracy relies heavily on the concept of equality but is not focused on the greater good (Weale, 2016).

. Equality and aggregate representations only make issues of the vast majority outweigh the greater good of the political territory. Members often make the mistake of prejudicial decisions based on ‘the compact majority’ rather than issues affecting the participants. Race, gender, social class, religion, tribe and other deciding factors plague the modern political world and have robbed the modern society of the true essence and beauty of democracy (Weale, 2016).

Political Naturalism and State Authority

Any political setting, in order to have a sense of order, must have a sense of hierarchy and authority. It is only when this happens that appropriate systems and mechanisms can be created within the political environment be created for the greater good and benefit of the participants of the political activities within the system (Song, 2012).This theory, however, is very subjective. It may look good on paper, but in practice, a lot of political controversies have been and can be drawn from the same. In reality, the battleground, as far as state authority is concerned within any political setting is concerned, is drawn between legitimate authority and state obligations (Song, 2012). The authority face prejudice from some of its state members with respect to its active role and right of enforcing its laws against its citizens. How much power should the state have against its citizens? What are the limits to the extent to which the state authority is politically and morally allowed to enforce on its citizens? What constitutes unlawful executions of powers by the state on its citizens? (Song, 2012)On the other hand, however, are citizens subject to obey the regulations set by state authority? Moreover, by virtue of being a political territory’s occupant, are you confined to the regulations presented to you by the state authority? Do citizens use the disguise of oppression and injustice to ignore the concepts of the law ad regulations as pertaining to a certain political territory?

In essence, there needs to be a fine line between the definition and interpretations of the concepts of the authority of the state and freedom of its citizens. The two parties, through concepts related to the Western political thought, have a responsibility to co-exist, intertwine within the limits and provisions of justice and equality (Song, 2012). In most cases, there is a set up independent body within any political territory to effectively check the activities of the two parties within the confines of the law. Each participant should not overstep the other. This brings a concept of authority within the authority. The beauty of modern western political thought is the concept of responsibility. Every participant in the political authority is answerable to another participant. It is almost cyclical (Song, 2012).


Understanding the concepts of western concepts of political thought is not only the responsibility of the participants but that of the general public. Whether capitalistic or communistic, the underlying factor in maintaining political harmony and maintaining functioning and beneficial systems are a matter of responsibility and the rule of law, as expressed throughout this paper. These two aspects maintain and enhance the fact that; the western political concepts and lines of thought are based on the following core principles: justice, democracy and social contract (Weale, 2016).

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