March 19, 2008
Dissent and Resistance
One of the greatest issues for political thinkers is the proper relationship between
the individual and the state.
Karl Marx and J.S. Mill are no exceptions, as they have
comparable beliefs on the matter.
Although both theorists believed that dissent and
resistance of their governments were necessary, Marx and Mill differed on how far an
individual should go in opposition to the government.
This difference of opinion is found
primarily in each man’s goal for society
[what is it?, what are they] and in how each
interprets the relationship between the government, society, and individuals in that
Where is the government headed how does it get there. This paper has both ideas
in it somewhat.
But this paragraph is talking about capitalism.
Because capitalist society
is flawed for reasons I may state he wants to achieve a communist state that has benefits I
might identify, he thinks revolution is the only way to get there.
Go to p. 538.
believes that a proletarian revolution is necessary to create a communist society.
the Jewish Question,” and “Critique of the Gotha Program” Marx prepares his argument
for political, followed by social revolution.
This is the endgame for each point he makes,
as he argues for a different government. Marx defines states as “government machines,”
run by the bourgeoisie primarily through economic measures(Marx, p. 539).
Marx’s writing, this is not what the state should be.
He argues instead for a government
founded upon the proletariat, the focus of many of his arguments on government and
“The state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the
proletariat”(Marx, p 538).
This idea shows the desire for extreme dissention in the form
of revolution; whether a dictatorship of the masses would work, however, is another
Ultimately, Marx contends that the state must answer to the people rather than
the people to it.
“Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed
upon society into one completely subordinate to it”(Marx, p. 537).
Marx goes on to
connect politics and civil society, believing that “political life declares itself to be only a
means, whose end is the life of civil society”(Marx, p. 44).
Mill does not believe revolution is necessary for the needs of the individual to be
met[case not proved in this graph].
In “On Liberty,” Mill lays out his case for a
government whose purpose is to protect the liberty of its citizens.
A tyrannical sovereign
is inadequate to this purpose.
Mill argues that when people created governments they
intended to restrict government power, “the aim… was to set limits to the power which
the ruler should be suffered to exercise over the community; and this limitation was what
they meant by liberty”(Mill, p.2).
Mill contends that an individual’s liberty is his free
will, “a person should be free to do as he likes in his own concerns, but he ought not to be