Essay on Ideal Civil Society -2000 Words
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The Ideal Civil Society
The civil society concept has been considered ambiguous for a long time now such that its general understanding defines what society can stand to gain from it. This concept has been employed by political theorists as well as philosophers to point out that democratic societies deserve a high level of civic virtue. For instance, is a well-accepted notion that democratic elections cannot be successfully held without the interventions of individuals who opt to disregard self-interest in an effort to appraise the functionality of democratic institutions. As such, these are individuals of distinguished moral character, innate willingness, and capabilities to vouch for the stability of various institutions in democratic society via civil society. These individuals, therefore, form the backbone of the ideal civil society with the education as well as other engagements enabling for the critical reflections on their experiences, traditions, and upbringing towards a good life to all societal or group members via liberally democratic cultures. This paper seeks to present an argument as to how personal, economic, political, philosophical, and emotional perspectives of society support civility and do not disintegrate into incivility except under exceptionally unique circumstances.
What is the Ideal Civil Society?
The true nature of civil society tends to differ greatly from what is commonly embraced by the private and public sectors. The private sector is typically associated with consumerism, profits, customers, competition and free markets. On the other hand, the public sector is generally associated with notions of democracy, legitimacy, authority and ultimately, power. Civil society features a spontaneous citizenship which is not only active but also inclined towards independence, flexibility, and professionalism in engaging ethics and solidarity for the betterment of the community. As such, people associated with the civil society are objects as well as actors of actions aimed at streamlining the activities of public sector players in democratic societies. This implies that the civil society can be considered as a political project or projects in its own right. However, it is critical to delve into the underlying aspects of the civil society concept to comprehend what the general society should expect from its inputs. It is critical to point out that philosophers, theorists, political players and the general society tend to project different understandings of what the notion of an ideal civil society entails.
From a global perspective, civil society is considered as a notion associated with societies in the west. However, these different national societies tend to regard the definition of the ideal civil society in different terms. As such, the British, Germans, the French, the Americans, and so on tend to have unique perceptions of what appertains to an ideal civil society. This is in essence due to the fact that the diversity in cultural as well as social studies and the use of varied models and traditions have resulted in the different representation of what can be considered as the ideal civil society. It is therefore critical to ensure that one has a critical comprehension of the historical foundations that led to the concept in an effort to attain the appropriate understanding of the concept as it is presently used.
Early political philosophers in Europe perceived civil society as some form of political organization where members were subject to conform to laws aimed at attaining good governance as well as maintaining a peaceful social order. The civil society concept has its roots in the seventeenth and eighteenth-century societies but has been actively revived by diverse philosophers in an effort to prompt society members to work towards cooperation to improve social life. They have therefore developed into intermediate institutions or mediating structures with the positive potential to proactively improve relations between different individual, families and groups with formal governments. Through educational institutions, cultural organizations, charities and clubs, self seeking individuals are transformed into citizens vouching for public spirited interventions. For instance, the family as a critical social institution is revered in popular debates on the values upheld by civil society institutions. As such, the most widely accepted understanding of civil societies is that human societies should be founded and glued together by moral understanding and social norms that ensure security and freedom to all in a given community. With respect to the private sector, the civil society seeks to ensure that society members are not exploited by market forces that tend to erode social bonds.
The civil society notion therefore present shifts in the challenges associated with the current democratic livelihoods. The ideal civil society champions for effective and efficient self governance principles aimed at promoting civility and more so, the sustenance of individual rights for appropriate social conditions nurturing responsible and active social memberships. In essence, the ideal civil society is a concept that tends to reflect the intricacies and significances of value tensions that uphold modern freedoms. The aspect of individual autonomy is therefore a core value of the ideal civil society. The complexity of the issue of individual autonomy creates a notable degree of conflict with the aspect of social order. This is because there arises queries as to the institutions in society that allow for open freedom without the probability of insecurity to individuals as well as communities in a given society. As a mediating institution, civil society therefore seeks to ensure that there are no conflicts between the two dominant players in society; the private and the public sector domains. These two institutions tend to present complex situations to the individual such that the civil society has to be actively engaged through constructive communication towards recognizing and ultimately determining that which the general society considers as just.
The civil society is thus motivated towards political progress though it tends to be limited by the lack of commitment by the citizenry. For instance, the aspect of globalization has resulted in a situation where the power of the common individual in society has become distant. Civil societies under ideal circumstance therefore aim at empowering the individual at the grass root level to commit him/herself to take up an active responsibility in decision making and policy formulation to democratically legitimize the functions of public institutions. As such, this is critical towards allowing for consensus relative to policies that work for the common interests of individuals within a particular society. Modern society has been transformed by technological developments that have been witnessed in recent decades. As such, this has led to the development of a growing debate as to the importance of civil society.
The civil society can be considered as a conglomeration of institutions with members who have the knowledge and specialized experience to engage in political decision making that is aimed at the development of an economically, emotionally, socially and physically astute individual. However, the idea of what appertains to an ideal civil society has been subject to debate over the past few years. This is because the civil society standpoint differs sharply with other accredited schools of thought concerned with social policy. This means that social discussions on the aspect of policy development are intricately connected to theoretical debates and assumptions.
Philosophical Concepts of the Ideal Civil Society
The Age of Enlightenment represents a period where philosophers made significant contributions to the advancement and more so the development of the civil society notion. These thinkers projected the idea that human beings as capable and rational individuals had the capacity to shape their diverse destinies without some absolute authority wielding dominance over them. The civil society is therefore a nonpolitical society that seeks to ensure mankind is distinct from what is widely accepted as the state. As such, the ideal civil society was seen as a social instrument that allows internalized restraints and non legal means established under custom as well as conduct that does not conform to a given religion or law. On the other hand, the state or government employs legislation and regulations towards steering and influencing the conduct of members of a particular society. As much as states aim at promoting social order for the common good of members of a certain society, civil societies are instrumental towards enabling societal members to conform out of their own free will towards a common good. The civil society was thus founded on the philosophical foundations that its is a conglomeration of human associations that results in relations that are in essence separate from the concept of the state. Distinct for both the private and public domains, the ideal civil society is guided by the philosophical understanding that members in a society will by their individual capacity employ reason in pursuit of self interests in an open-minded manner. This eventually leads to the progressive development of human society.
Civil society therefore represents a redefined and developed community or society such that, liberties can be safeguarded by the state. This can however only be achieved where a given degree of economic, political and social developments has been attained. This implies that the rude state has to be opposed and as such, the gradual advancement of knowledge, education, human development and government policies can lead to the development of what can be regarded as an ideal civil society. As such, the individual persona of all members in society should be governed by a degree of private morality that can foster such development. The implication of this statement is that the civil society is bound by principles whereby private morality is predicated on the general public’s acknowledgment by an individual’s peers based on bonds associated with moral sentiment.
Similarly, the ideal civil society should also be considered as some form of economic society. It should however be mediated upon by social order based on free labor exchange, contracts and private property and more so, protected and guarded by the state. It offers opportunities to society’s members to benefit from a well-spring of economic capabilities. Looking at the concept of the ideal society from a personal perspective, a particular individual should not suffer defeat of failure at the expense of the well being of some other individual. This implies that civil society should be regarded as an arena through which the public domain reconciles private interests of individual societal leaders through prescribed collective moral obligations. As much as the present society expects individuals to respect political authority in pursuit of rights and justice, the sole aim of civil society is to compel societal members to respect the rights of distinct individuals regardless of their different ideals. This implies that the civil society should be primarily considered as a notion that is universally acceptable to all of humanity.
The ate or government can be considered as a set of institutions that assume that the proliferation of its structures is founded on legal instruments with regard to diverse provision relative to tax, corporations and a constitutional law forming the frameworks that define their mandated functions. Experience groups are thus defined by such forms.
Legal frameworks allow for the means through which the state executes its role in civility and more so, transforming societies under their jurisdictions into a civil society. By extension, civility entails a situation in a society where violence, militarism and the dominance over certain groups is non-existent. Civility should therefore be progressed by the state with the aim of ensuring limits are set up to protect the general society from any form of subjugation by the private authorities. The state should therefore always act as an agent mandated to ensure dominance by private armies or any form of private oppression does not exist in society.
This can however only be achieved when the state is in a position to formulate adequate legal structures that serve to secure and more so, formalize institutions. Through the provision of appropriate public entitlements and goods, the state can be able to commit societal members to publicly enforced cooperation and order. The state is endowed with the capacity to assign corporations and individuals with enforceable political as well as civil rights.
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