To what extent is any state an instrument of oppression? (50)
It seems clear that the state is not an instrument of oppression in the modern day. Although some states may be an instrument of oppression, democratic states like the modern UK are instruments of freedom and allow individuals to flourish. Some people may feel as though the state is used to oppress the citizens; however it seems clear to me that liberal state of a neutral umpire is the best state that allows for autonomy and freedom whilst keeping harmony.
The Marxist approach is one perspective that believes that the state is an oppressive force. Marx believed that there are two classes in the state. They are the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie are the owners of the means to production and are responsible for legitimising the oppression of the working class proletariat. Marx would argue that the capitalists legitimise the oppression of the working class through ‘the opiate of the masses’ by means like education and the mass media which create a false class consciousness within the working class. This makes the proletariat believe they are part of a higher class which allows the bourgeoisie to continue their oppressive reign whereby they exploit the working class workers for surplus value and cheap manual labour. Marx believed that all institutes promoted capitalist values, including the police. Through capitalist laws and ideologies the bourgeoisie can continue to exploit the working class Marx continued by arguing that only through a revolt can the working class become a class for themselves. He believed there would be an inevitable revolt that would lead to a communist state whereby everyone worked ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their need’. Only then, in Marx’s eyes, will the state be non-oppressive and function adequately.
Although the Marxist argument has validity and integrity in the claims, the argument he proposes has flaws and is weak. The view Marx argued has revolutionised many thinkers, however there are many plot holes which may suggest that Marx’s view on society was skewed.
To start, Marx’s argument is dated. Through a reformed welfare state and increase in educational attainment, one may argue that the capitalist society is a fully functioning society. Those in need are helped, and it seems as though the possibilities of a worldwide revolt is depleting in likelihood. It seems as though the society we now have works well, and therefore the main ideologies behind Marx’s argument of a revolt reduce in integrity. In addition, the communist society Marx describes to prevent the state from being an oppressive being is utopian and would not work. Marx asks for a state where everyone is equal by nature, and no one will have a surplus of recourses. However, human beings are naturally competitive, and strive from incentives. The state Marx depicts will stifle geniuses as they will have no incentives to dedicate their time and effort into shaping their skills. In addition…