Opposing Views On Human Nature: Marx Vs. Classic Liberals

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Different political beliefs have opposing views on human nature, and also this then impacts different ideologies view on the role of the state. Classic Liberals see humans as self-seeking and mostly self-reliant, therefore they feel as if the government should play only a small role in an individual’s life and offer the individual as much freedom as is appropriate. This differs from a Conservative view, as they believe humans to me naturally selfish and limited, however they agree with a Liberal view that the state should remain small and let humans embrace a form of self-seeking individualism. In contrast, Marxists believe the state should play a larger role in the life of an individual, as they see human nature as ‘plastic’, so the government…show more content…
Karl Marx, often seen as the father of 20th century communism, was a German economist, philosopher but also a revolutionary. Marx wrote many papers about his ideologies and view point, and in some of these papers Marx would also express his views on human nature. A consistent understanding of human nature can be seen over time from early papers such as Notes on James Mill (1844), up to later papers such as Capital, Volume III which was started in in 1863 and he continued to write for 20 years until his death later in 1883. Marx held the idea that human nature was expressed in an individual’s satisfaction coming from the satisfaction of others. He believed that human’s contain a ‘drive’ to produce products spontaneously in a manner that is helpful to society and co-operation amongst others. If what Marx believes is true, that true satisfaction of man is when he satisfies others, this would influence the state to make everything more equal throughout, such as a communist state. This is where theoretically everyone is equal and will work for others opposed to being greedy and trying to gain as much for themselves, as a person with a conservative view point might want. Although Marx can be seen as the father of Communism and wrote many papers about his ideologies, he was never alive to either implement or see real Communism in action. However, a man who was a great worshiper of Marx’s work, and was also able to start up a Communist regime was Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. When Lenin took over Russia, after over throwing the Tsar, he was left with a very class-divided Russia, with a few very rich aristocrats but also millions of peasants in poverty. Lenin’s aim was to make Russia a country which believed and followed Marxist principles. Lenin thought that a Marxist,

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