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Political and Social Problems - Essay Example

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According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations annual crime report, in the U.S. in 2011 there were 1,203, 564 assaults while property crime stood at the rate of 9,063,123 occurrences (FBI, 2012). In 2012, the rate of violent crimes rose by 1.9%. Violent crimes include murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault while property crime includes theft, fraud and destruction of property. According to these reports it is apparent that crime is a social as well as a political problem which needs attention for the sake of protection of citizens and an orderly society. The questions one needs to ask themselves imply the reasons why individuals commit crime and how crime can be dealt with. Are efforts by law enforcement authorities to curb crime bearing fruit and if not why? Should individuals be subjected to capital punishment for murder? Many political and social theorists have come up with different explanations of why individuals commit such crimes and what has to be done to solve such issues but this paper will focus on two great theorists: Machiavelli and Socrates. Machiavelli is a strong advocate of using of power to control subjects and in his work titled The Prince he advices rulers to use any means for the sake of national integrity (Machiavelli, 1996). He would thus view the problem as a threat to social stability requiring strict measures to ensure cohesion in society. For him the citizens should be obedient and if not they should be forced to do so. Socrates also believes that citizens should obey the law since by living in the state they have accepted to be bound by the rules, in other words, they have signed a ‘social contract’ with the state which should not be broken (Richards, 2000 p. 149). Furthermore, committing a crime is impiety. This paper aims to propose solutions to the political and social problem drawing from the theories of Machiavelli and Socrates. The first proposed solution is to punish the offenders through the criminal justice system. This is drawn from Socrates view that the ruled should obey laws as they are bound by them and Machiavelli’s view that government should use any means to achieve its ends. The second solution is capital punishment for violent crime especially murder. This is supported by both theorists. Machiavelli advocates use of force or violent means to achieve state ends thus capital punishment is right. For Socrates, laws must be obeyed whether they are just or unjust and this is portrayed in his trial and execution. The last solution to be discussed is for individuals to be encouraged to do good at all times. For Socrates, perfect ordering of community is enough thus justice is not needed. However, Machiavelli would oppose this view in the sense that it would result in weakening of the rulers. Crime brings disorder and harm to the society and as such should be dealt with accordingly by use of the law enforcement machineries. This finds support in the works of Socrates and Machiavelli. The work of Socrates is manifested in the works of classical theorists such as Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon and Aristophanes but mostly in Platonic dialogues (Taylor, 2001). In Plato’s Crito Socrates came up with the idea of a ‘social contract’. After being sentenced to death for corrupting the youth and impiety, Socrates was encouraged by Crito to escape the punishment but he refused opting to drink the poisonous hemlock. For him, by accepting to live in the state one is bound by its laws and as such accepts to be ...Show more
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Running Head: POLITICAL AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS Name of student: School: Course: Topic: Lecturer: Date presented: Introduction Political and social problems are part and parcel of the society owing to the nature of human beings and the social structures in society…
Political and Social Problems
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