Hegel, Is There Sovereignity Essay, Research Paper
Is there such a thing as sovereignty of the people? Hegel, born in 1770 was living in a period where modernity began. He was greatly influenced by such leaders like Napoleon. The basic idea behind modernity is a society, which is non-hierarchal and liberated. Hegel puts a great deal of influence on the individual, on the social aspect of the human and man s need for recognition. Furthermore he maintains that we are governed by reason. He believes in dealing with political issues in a practical, effective way while maintaining the rights of the individual. While taking into account the views of Hegel, I will attempt to answer the question of whether it is actually possible that the people become sovereign to eliminate all hierarchy and create an equality of man. Firstly, let us discuss the nature of man. As mentioned in the introduction and established by many other great political thinkers, Hegel deduces that man is a social creature. In that we are social being we seek the recognition of other people. Without recognition our lives do not seem to have importance. It is for this reason why private property is imperative; it is a way in which we can be recognised by others. He also touches upon the relationship of the master and slave. These two are dependant on each other, like the citizen is dependant on the government; therefore we all serve our purpose in society and must maintain our positions. In light of the concept of modernity Hegel outlines a state in where every individual holds a common freedom. Every individual has the unlimited capacity to wish and to be aware of the wish, however the ability to recognise the wish is often limited. When a person is unable to fulfill a wish he has an un-happy consciousness caused by will and inability to fulfill his will. With knowledge and a greater standard living, the demand for wishes increase therefore evolving man. The combination of recognition and the will to fulfill wishes is a driving force in keeping a stable society. Every citizen should have freedom and with power they can fulfill their wishes while keeping the recognition of others, which promotes the legitimate way in fulfilling desires. It seems then, that Hegel would agree that the people could be sovereign based on the master/slave relation and the continuing desires for recognition and wish fulfillment. However, when things do not work out, Hegel takes a practical position. Unlike the beautiful souls he sees reason in punishment or violence if it is meant to bring peace or safeguard a society. Rather than condemning bad behaviour and preaching he believes that action should be taken. Hegel has a similar view as the liberals in regard to the economy, taking literature as an example, he is not overly concerned with the quality of the book, the greatest importance is whether or not it sells.
In witnessing nationalism, Hegel concluded that the State was a god-like form. People believed in the State in the 1800 s as they did in God in the Middle Ages. The state is the entity of human beings, it is what they are, their current condition. If the state is the people than it may also imply that the people are sovereign. For Hegel, the state is the reality of mind s progress towards unity with reason, furthermore he states that Reason is the sovereign of the world If man is the entity of reason and all people are capable of reason, then can the people truly be sovereign? There is one problem with this assumption. Without a representative in the form of a monarch, government or president the people no longer have something to look to and they become a formless mass. The people become the state, and the state is sovereign over the people, the people however without the state cannot be sovereign because there would be nothing that they could sovereign over. In order to express sovereignty, structure is necessary. Once structure is implied in the system there is also a government who automatically becomes sovereign of the state. Therefore, in conclusion we can say that man is a creature driven by reason, the reason of man is what forms the state, with reason man creates positions within the society and function in an effective way in striving for recognition and wish fulfillment. With these components structure is formulated, with structure there belongs a government and finally the government becomes the sovereign, giving the people a belief, a state of being and liberty in fulfilling their own desires, however it remains impossible for the people to actually be sovereign because we would also be lacking structure and seize to be a state.