Hegel’s Philosophy of the Right and its implications on Today’s Political Ideologies

Hegel’s Philosophy of the Right and its implications on Today’s Political Ideologies
(A Philosophical Paper Reformulated based on the Conducted Study of the Political Ideologies and Scholastic performance of 4P’s Students of Iloilo Science and Technology University)


The first principle of political life is that, “power seeks legitimacy”. Whether head of the family or the chief of the state, the wielder of power contempt to justify his acts in terms of some ethical principles. For Hegel, the state is not just a political and authoritarian entity but the broadest arena of social relations corresponding to common culture, or ethical life. It is in the institution of the state, therefore, that the contradictions of ethical life will reveal and fix themselves. In modern society, the role of the state is to reconcile the egoistic and individualizing tendencies of civil society with the need for common belonging.
Political stability and government efficiency depend on the large part of the willing compliance as citizens who believe that the institutions, personnel and policies of government are legitimate – that the institutions (government) has the right to do what it does, political ideologies refers to the values and principle that, through exercise or seek political power offers to in order to lend legitimacy of their acts.
In this sense, political ideology is a neutral term, and it is misleading to say that those who are democratic have philosophy, while those who are authoritarian have political ideologies (Carlton: 1986). By providing government with legitimacy, political ideology justifies the status quo. We gradually come to the set of beliefs and attitudes with which we will live, those we believe represent the truth, even though we may not be aware of it. This set of beliefs will change throughout our lives, but it is likely to change as we grow older. Most of us are not deeply aware of what we believe. We do not take our beliefs and examine them very often, if at all. We may rethink one position or change another without really thinking about it, but we rarely look carefully or thoroughly at our beliefs (Sargent: 1987).
Hegel’s Philosophy of Right brings forth a perspective of understanding the underlying factors of forming and living a particular political Ideology considering of “what is rational is actual, and what is actual is rational”. This political truth needs to be understood in relation to the institutions and issues of its own time. Hegel draws a distinction between individualistic man’s inclination over duty towards institutions and society. The basis of individual rights lies in ‘property’, of which this in not a mere material acquisition; but an individual assertion of identity and personality. Property is an expression of self and the locus of an individual’s claim to right, since it is through property a claim that other’s respect. Thus, Property is the embodiment of personality.

A. Theoretical Framework
In our present society, the usage of the political ideology has increasingly become less strict that any combination of socio-political and economic views that considered ideological is so far as they grow out of a certain combination of socio – political values having a connecting rationale and vision. (Magstadt, 1993) Those on the ideological left, for instance are inclined to talk about “rich and poor”. Those in ideological right warn that scheme for redistribution of wealth will end up by making everyone poor. But all close observers of modern days, whether they came the ideological left or right seen to agree that today’s poor are not only lacking in the economic condition and leave then dependent on government alms-giving from generation to generation (McKenna; 1994).

B. Man and Society – Individuality forming the “We”

The world is the locus of experience and interaction; the reality of truth and knowledge gained through space and time. The dynamic interaction of ‘oneself’ and ‘others’ and to the world, generates ‘influence’ and ‘impact’ on the ‘I’, the ‘Other’ and even the world. In Political parlance, political ideologies are created by looking into what is given, agreed concepts and formed ideas of people involved in the dynamic ‘interaction’. The definition of society dwells basically in the internal subjectivity of a ‘person-in-relation’ to another of which institutions are composed of people who adheres and finds every person’s identity in the same institution. Political Ideologies might vary considering of the individualistic and particularity of every person with respective vision. Thus, Liberalism is understood as both plurality and rationality, which to some degree share a common spirit and social vision. While the vision is individualistic, conceiving society as nothing but the outcome of the actions and interactions of human individuals pursuing respective individual ends. In this consideration, rationality is equated into the inclination of individual man towards institution and the state at large, with individualistic conscience, responsibility and decency that are paramount values to be embraced.
According to Hegel, man’s inclination can and must be placed in a larger vision, which measures the subjective goals of individuals by a large objective and collective ‘good’, and assign moral values to determinate, limited space in the total scheme of things. “What is rational is actual”, of which the individual man inclines to situate oneself with ‘another’ in the society sharing a common social vision. “What is actual is rational”, paves the way towards the realization of the concept of “we”. The concrete person finds satisfaction by means of others, and at the same time by means of universality. With this, it is right to say that the livelihood, happiness, and rights of one are interwoven with the livelihood, happiness, and rights of all. Thus, Particularity passes over into universality, and attains its truth not as freedom but as necessity.

C. Dialectics: The Dichotomy of Civil Society and State

To understand further Hegel’s view of the dichotomy between Civil Society and State is to consider the dialectical relationship between the two. Civil Society is the real and the locus of interaction where individual subjects exist. The Former focuses more on the particularity rather than universality, while the latter is where the language of the “we” is realized. The sharing and the exchange of goods and other life-activities for instance, happen in the locus (Civil Society). The state becomes rational once the particularity has been raised to consciousness of its universality (unity-in-difference). But the Civil Society’s relation to the individual is quite different from this. Since the state is ‘mind objectified’, it is only as one of its members that the individual himself has objectivity, genuine individuality, and an ethical life. Civil Society, however is the incorporated under the category of Ethical life which consists three fundamental moments: family (immediate unity), civil society (individuality and particularity), and the State (unity-in-difference). (Beiser, 2005: 244) Unity pure and simple is the true content and vision of the subjective individual, and the individual’s destiny is the living of a universal life.
Man’s further particular satisfaction, activity and mode of behavior have this utilitarian and universally valid life as their starting point and their result. Moreover, the people, the social visions and predispositions, as either private or contingent, non-communal of the particularity and individuality are transposed into the shared action and interaction with others through feeling and reason. The feeling connotes the individuality in relation to natural community as family, while reason refers to the relationship with the other in the society and state. This individuality is equated in a free person, as one exercises the subjective individuality in making choices, pursuing one’s intention, and welfare in the process of self-actualization. Thus, society and State are not mere results of people’s free and self-interested behavior and action, but the genuine society is geared towards the realization of the “universal family” (going beyond the subjective individuality), of which collectivity from its members connotes collective responsibility that leads into the realization of language of the “We”. In Hegel’s Philosophy of the Right, modern concept of individuality in view of society is the bearer of rights to modern social, economic and political institutions. Thus, this modern notion of the individual – as positive in many ways, gives rise to certain stresses and to the alienation of the individual from collectivity.

D. Subjectivity/objectivity of Right and Freedom

Self-actualization according to Hegel is the human good of the human spirit – and Freedom is the Essence. But this freedom must be understood as “being with oneself in another”. It is an active relating to something other than oneself in such a way that this other becomes integrated into one’s projects, completing and fulfilling them so that it counts as belonging to one’s own action rather than standing over against it. The rationality means that our action must be in conformity with our reason. ‘The Philosophy of Right constitutes these range, that Freedom is actual and only in rational society whose institutions can be felt and known as rational by individuals who are with themselves in those institutions.’ Moreover, the rational system of social institutions is Ethical life. (Wood et al, 1991) Corresponding to ‘objective’ ethical life (the system of rational institutions) is a ‘subjective ethical’ life, an individual character which disposes man to do what the institution requires. A rational society is one where demands of social life do not frustrate the needs of individuals, where duty fulfils individuality rather than suppressing it. Because our social life is in harmony with our individuality, the duties of ethical life do not limit our freedom but actualizes it. Becoming conscious of this, we come to be ‘with ourselves’ in our ethical duties. Such duties do not restrict but liberate us.
This freedom according to Hegel is realized by identifying oneself with the institutions or community, a sense of relationship and belongingness. But this freedom must be based from the Truth, i.e. the institutions of the community must truly harmonize the state’s universal and collective interest with the true, objective good of individuals; and individuals must be conscious of this harmony. With this freedom members must not identify themselves with it only because they are mere victims of illusions, deceptions or vacillating ideologies.

E. Ideologies: Leftist, centrist and rightist parties
Centrist Ideologies
The liberals believe that human beings are capable of reason and rational action; they are often caught in difficult situations in real life. Because all people have the capacity to live satisfactory and productive lives if given the chance, government must ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live the best possible life and to fulfil his or her individual potentials (Jones, 1997).
Such view of human virtually guarantees that the liberal will be optimistic about the possibility of improving the particular political system and will expect ordinary citizen to play an important role in bringing about such an improvement. Liberals do not think a system must be kept intact because it has been around for a while. The liberal is seldom revolutionary; however, progress will actually take place or not is a moot point in uncertain (Tucker, 1996).
Furthermore, progress cannot and should not be forced on an unwilling populace. It is the responsibility of people in power to make it possible for all men and women to exercise reason, work for a better life, and make their own important choices. The liberal hopes that their choices will be wise, but individual liberty includes the right to make choices that work against one’s own interest. (Lydall,1999)
It suggests that government should intervene to “help” but never “curb freedom”. In practice, it is often difficult to accomplish the one without the other. Liberalism says that ordinary men and women are entitled to satisfactory lives, but that individual liberties, including the right to prosper from one’s effort should not be curtailed. This same ambivalence is apparent in the liberal approach to the question of interdependence, both among individuals and among nations. (Rayman, 1997)
People and politics are interdependent, the liberal recognizes, and must show a human concern for one another, but at the same time, the individual person or state has the right to pursue individual interest. Liberals sometimes offer such a very useful guide as “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins,” pragmatic solutions according to circumstances rather than to spell out one specific was to establish the ideals social system. (Boeninger, 1990)
Conservatism is well named; the conservative believes first and foremost in conserving what exist, in the idea that “the accumulated wisdom and experience of the countless generations gone in more likely to be right than to passing fashion of the moment”. Thus, conservatives have certain bags in favour of the existing political system; if they do emission a better system, they likely refer to precious systems. If change is needed, it should be approached very cautiously: “Man’s hopes are high, but his vision is short”. Efforts to remedy existing evils usually results in even greater ones. (Huntinton, 1987).
Fascism is predicated on the belief that what matters want is the nation itself. It begins with the argument that citizens can prosper only when the nation prepares, but it carries this argument so far that fate of the citizens quickly becomes secondary to that of the nation they live in. Fascism is nationalism carried to the extreme (Harrigan, 1994).
Although fascism has roots in the thinking of the late 19th century nationalist, and in the work of Hegel, it did come into its own until the World War I. At that time, fascist movements emerged both in Italy and Germany. Although the nations had been in opposite ideas in that struggle, both faced similar conditions afterwards: high rate inflation, high rates of unemployment and large numbers of victims returning from the war who had to be re-assimilated into a peacetime economy. In fact, such conditions are endemic in Western Europe at the time, but Italy and Germany had two further characteristics in common that the other nations, a young fanatic with the ability to move others with peaceful oratory stood ready to capitalize on the situations and use it as a means of raising himself to power. Mussolini and Hitler were able to persuade the angry workers and the industrialists frightened by that anger and Germans alike was a fascist state (Levire, 1997).
There are, however, two qualities shared by all human kind. In the first place, all
human beings are motivated by their emotions, not by their reason. To expect reason directly from the people and through the people is a chimera. Secondly, all are struggling to survive. The quest for self-preservation motivates us all. For the fascist, this fundamental human condition does not suggest the need for cooperative arrangements, acknowledging our interdependence in seeking the fairest possible distribution of the world’s good. On the contrary, as Hitler stated, forth rightly, the fascist believe that in such a world, if men wish to live, then they are forces to kill others on earth and on the universe force alone is decisive. Whatever goal man has reached is due to his originality plus his brutality struggle is the father of all things in this world (Shively, 1992).

Left Wing Ideologies
Although they hope to foster both equality and rationality, most socialists have not found necessary to argue that such qualities exist rationally. For socialist, the most important characteristic of Human Nature are each individual’s natural sociability. Socialist believes that man being readily engaged in cooperative social activity when given a chance. Unfortunately, some individuals have selfishly established structures of control authoritarian more oppressive, causing even greater human suffering. The political belief system of socialism evolved out of concern for the suffering caused by human exploitation of the other humans (Greece, 1990).
Socialists have traditionally been critical of existing social system, certain that better systems could be established and determine that an important characteristic of any new system would be limitation if not complete abolition of private property. The possibility of arguing unlimited private property, argues that socialist, has stimulated the greed that causes some people to exploit other and at the same time, causes the people who are exploited to ensure their lot, hoping this to obtain better share of the world’s good (Fitshug, 1995).
The only solution is to enlarge the public domain dramatically establishing a community is which the land, the factories are indeed all the means of protection are aimed by the state. The state itself would be controlled by the workers, who would the power this gives them the guarantee of job fair have the nation’s largesse to every citizen. Above all human want ad suffering would not be alarmed to continue (Funderburke, 1997).
Thus, socialism is based on concern for humanity and anger at those who deny humanity of acts of self-exploitation. This political Ideology is based on feeling, bases that no doubt helps account for its power, but that perhaps also explains the heat with a socialist contend against one another as well as against the non-socialist world (Smith, 1994).
The word socialism covers a wide range of beliefs. Despite their agreement and the need to eliminate suffering by time the ideal setting private property, socialist disagree sharply and such matters us whether revolutionary, methods would be required to set up the ideal system whether a socialist revolution will necessarily be who worldwide, what condition make revolution possible how exertive the limitation on private property should be, how large the ideal socialist community socialist community should be, if any, government and the state should play (Abueva, 1993).

The findings of the present study:
1. Generally, majority of the respondents were female, enrolled in the Institution (ISAT U). Majority of the 4P’s first year students were regarded with a very good scholastic achievement and high school GPA. They did not differ significantly when they are categorized according place of origin, number of siblings and political belief system.
3. In general, the rightist was the dominant political ideologies of the 4P’s first year students.
4. Significant differences were found in the in the high school GPA and scholastic achievement when they are categorized according to sex and college
5. No significant relationships were existed between political ideologies and high school GPA, political belief system and scholastic achievement.

In view of the findings in this investigation, the following conclusions were drawn:
The study revealed that majority of the 4P’s first year students of Iloilo Science and Technology University were rightist. Thus, they are motivated by their emotions, not by their reasons. Student is naturally equally than other as this is a matter of race and nationality. Changes should be effected peacefully and cooperatively through evolutionary process. A student believed that everything that exists should be conserved. They prefer that superior man must rule and the commoner must bow before his authority.
A good number of the students who were centrist in their political ideologies appear to be capable of reason and rational actions, Ordinary men and women are entitled to satisfactory lives, but that individual liberties should not be curtailed. No student shall have the right to exercise authority over another student. They are not about doing what is popular; it is about doing what is right. All students are not moderate but rather support strength, tradition, open mindedness and policy based on evidence not political ideologies gauge situations based on context and reason, consideration and probability as independent thinkers. They are open-minded and exercise conviction and willing to fight for reason as opposed to political belief system. Reasoning is based on pragmatic reality and circumstance. Honor in intention: means not just being honest, but to be honorable. They tend to be pragmatic and avoid extremes whenever possible. Of course an extreme may be a required action so luckily and tend to exercise reason in application. They seek accountability in governance.
The smallest proportions of 4P’s students who are leftist appear to be looking to the future, aim to support those who cannot support themselves, are idealists and believe in equality. They believed in taxation to redistribute opportunity and wealth-things like a national health service, and job seeker’s allowance. They believe in equality over the freedom to fail. They believe in making laws that protect women, ethnic minorities, and gay people against discrimination. They believe that we should tax rich people more to support people less well off, and they believe we should regulate big businesses so they serve people’s interests. They believe that a good welfare system means people are healthier, more able to work, and will put more back into the economy. They typically believe country-wide tax-funded action on climate change is necessary. They are intrinsically authoritarian. They are emotional and their emotion is negative like anger, hate or rage that is directed at the world, at the status quo if I like. They are nothing if they are not a critic. They wanted to change passionately and feel very righteous about the changes they want. They are angry rather than prudent. They want to smash everything that exists around them out of feeling that it is all so hateful that none of it is worth preserving. If they are politicians, they would never gain power. And the converse of that is a little bit of heartlessness can be desirable and can never grow up emotionally.
The high school GPA of the 4P’s students was very good. This simply implied that academically, most of the 4P’s students enrolled in the college of Arts and Sciences and College of Industrial Technology met the GPA requirement of the College. It is also in consonance with the quality standard set by the college, that as an Institution aiming toward excellence in quality education, GPA standard is set to vividly select top performing students coming from different provinces in Iloilo and Negros.
The scholastic achievement of the 4P’s students were also regarded as very good This simply shows that 4P’s students who were selected to the various curricular programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Industrial Technology are in consonance with their interest showing their positive improvements of their scholastic achievement which also may have a positive outcome in the future because somehow students who are enrolled in the program in line with their interest have less possibility of mortality and have greater chance of retention until they graduate in their course with flying colors.
Significant differences were found in High school GPA and scholastic achievement when they are categorized according to sex and college. It is also conclusive to say that because of the curricular program offered on the College of Arts and science which primarily focused on cognitive skills or academically inclined while in the College of Industrial Technology are focused on technical skills such as electrical, electronics, industrial, automotive, etc.
Thus, the political belief system and scholastic achievement, political belief system and high school GPA do not relate to each other, no matter what the political belief system a child has, they perceive that the institution provides adequate opportunities to develop and improve their sense of scholastic achievement and learning capability.

C. Implications

Most people approach politics through (single or various) political ideologies – a set of related ideas that modify one another, an organized idea. For instance, one person may believe that everyone is basically selfish, that politicians are all crooks, that a citizen owe nothing to a state, that it is alright to cheat on one’s taxes, that gun control is a bad thing because it keeps us protecting ourselves and so one. This is a political Ideology – is a set of ideas about politics – all of which are related to one another and that modify and support each other. (Lane, 1989). Political Ideologies are developed and maintained because of both their usefulness to individuals in responding to events and their utility in public political argument. This is not conscious; so as to exist allies over time, work out ideologies that fit our particular needs. (Shively, 1997) Political belief system is conversion of ideas into social levels for the ideologies, truth arises action. Ideology is the link between actions and fundamental beliefs (feeling and reason). This system may serve as a guide to action but it also serves internal adductive function as well (Lane; 1989). This ideology involves more than a doctrine. It links particular actions and mundane practices with a binder set of meanings, giving social conduct a more honourable and dignified complexion. This is of course, a generous view.
The most generous lays emphasis on the behaviour of individuals in a setting of action in relation to principle. (Apter, 1989) Political Ideology is a generic term applying to general ideas that are potent in specific situations conduct. For example, not any ideas but political one’s not any values but those establishing a given preference; not any belief but those governing particular modes of thought. Because it is the link between action and fundamental belief, political ideology helps more explicit the moral basis of action. Furthermore, political ideology is not philosophy; it is in the curious position of being an obstruction contained within it. Powerful ideologies do must to enlarge the significance of the individual, this is the reason the role of political ideology is so central to the thinking of revolutionaries. To them, the working out of the political belief system is a way of indicating the moral superiority of new ideas. (David, 1985)
But they as nonetheless, guided and oriented by the prevailing political ideologies. It seems in through all parts of opening, and informs the way they view the world. (Lad, 1987) Individual and group not own make claims upon political system, they also have perception of the system, that is they develop ideologies – that is both ways viewing reality and instruments for preserving and charging reality – Groups may associate themselves with each ideologies as Socialism, Communism, Capitalism, Liberalism, Christian democracy, conservatism, parliamentary, technocracy, fascism and so on. Thus, in advance, industrial associates, the workers invariably form trade unions whose purpose is to define the material interest although occasionally this goal itself is sufficient, in most instances; the unions also put forward a political belief system concerning the political system. Working class movements in Europe, for example, tend to be socialist or Christian democracy in orientation. (Brown, 1997)
Most scholars agree that a political ideologies contempt to offer answer to at least solve of the problems regarding political ideologies. Attitudes towards economic policies are then often driven by ideological convictions (Downs, 1957). Party ideologies serve as a substitute for the individual cost of acquiring political and economic in-formation. Yet such ideologically shaped opinions might still be consistent with self-interested behavior. Rational individuals ‘choose’ a certain political belief system as an information short-cut, and their choice depends on which ideological party affiliation is expected to suit best to particular visions.

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