The Ends of the State in political science

The Ends of the State in political science -From an examination of the nature of the state we pass naturally to a consideration of its objects, purposes, or ends. The conceptions which have prevailed in different ages and even among different writers in the same epoch with respect to this question have varied, although among those who admit the value and necessity of the state the variation of opinion has not been fundamental. The differences have consisted rather in the varying emphasis which authors have placed upon certain objects which the state was established to promote and the order of their importance.

It has often been saying of the ancients, and especially of the Greeks, that in their practice they proceeded on the principle that the state was an end in itself and not merely a means for the achievement of particular ends. In accordance with this conception hardly any realm of human action was considered to be sacred from the intrusion of the state.

The notion that there could be individual interests distinct from the collective interests of society hardly existed at all. The life of the individual was regulated and his activities prescribed as if he were made for the state rather than for him. The political philosophy of modern. Germany has been criticized for being based on somewhat the same principle. In general, however, modern political science emphasizes the principle that the state is merely an institution or means by which certain objects are accomplished and not an end in itself.

Ends of the State Distinguished:

In considering the ends of the state we may distinguish between its general or fundamental ends and its particular ends. We may also distinguish between the ultimate ends and the immediate or proximate ends. The German writer Holtzendorff, in his Principien der Politik, distinguished between the actual ends of the state and the ideal ends.

The actual ends, he said, are first, the development of the national power second, the maintenance of justice and law and, third, the promotion of the social progress and civilization of the people.

In short, national power, justice, and the civilization of mankind stated in the order of their importance, according to. Holtzendorff is the actual ends of the state. The first mentioned is the primary end the last, the ultimate end.

Bluntschli followed Holtzendorff in rejecting as too narrow and fruitless the “justice” theory (Theorie des RechtszweckeS), which considers the end of the state to be merely the maintenance of justice among men and similarly the “morality” theory, propounded and advocated by Hegel, which regards the mission of the state to be the realization of the moral law.

Bluntschli, like Holtzendorff, attached great importance to the “general welfare” theory though he pointed out the difficulty arising from the lack of an exact test for determining what constitutes the general welfare. He asserted that it had been the cloak for covering many political sins and the justification for many arbitrary and despotic acts of the state.

To say that the primary and fundamental purpose of the state is the furthering of the common welfare does not bring us very near to the solution, since it does not tell us what is the common welfare his very much like saying that the duty of the citizen is to keep to the path of virtue, without telling him what virtue is or where the way lies.

Von Mohl, another famous German writer on political science, conceived the end of the state to be the promotion of the life purposes of the people. Burgess, an American writer, advances the view that the purposes or ends of the state may be classified as primary Secondary, and ultimate.

The ultimate end, which he considers first, is (following Holtzendorff and Bluntschli) the perfection of humanity, the civilization of the world, and (following Hegel) the establishment on earth of the reign of virtue and morality. The secondary end is the perfection of the principle of nationality in the state and the development of the national genius and national life. The primary end is the establishment of a system of government and liberty.

To state them in their historical order they are, he says: first, the organization of government and liberty, so as to give the highest possible power to the government consistent with the highest possible freedom in the individual to the end, secondly, that the national genius of the different states may be developed and perfected and made objective in customs, laws, and institutions by which, family, the world’s civilization may be surveyed upon all sides, mapped out, traversed, made known, and realized.

But here again, we have what seems to be a confusion of ends with means. It is difficult to see for example, why the establishment of government should be considered as an end to be realized rather than the means through which ends are sought.

Many other attempts have been made by political writers to formulate concisely the doctrine of the ends of the state. Locke, for example, stated that the end of government is “the good of mankind” “the noblest and briefest” statement of the purpose of government, said Huxley, that was ever formulated.
But the good of mankind is something which is not absolutely fixed for all men, regardless of conditions and circumstances, and there is far from being any common agreement concerning its constituent elements. Professor Ritchie, in his Principles of State Interference, conceives the end of the state to be simply the realization of the best life by the individual.
John Stuart Mill declared that the proper end of the government is to reduce the wretched wastes due to the neutralization of the best efforts and talents of men to the smallest possible amount by taking such measures as shall cause the energies now spent by mankind in injuring one another or in protecting themselves against injury, to be turned to the legitimate employment of the human faculties, that of compelling the power of nature to be more and more subservient to the physical and moral good.

Conclusion :

The original, primary, and intermediate end of the state is the maintenance of peace, order, security, and justice among the people who compose it. No state which fails to achieve these ends in a reasonable degree can justify its existence. Secondly, the state must look beyond the needs of the individual as such to the larger collective ends of society-the welfare of the group. It must care for the common interests and promote the national progress by doing for society the things which the common interests require, but which cannot be done at all, or done efficiently, by individuals acting singly or through voluntary associations. This is what Haltzendorff and Bluntschli must have meant when they said that one of the ends of the state is the development of the national capacities and the perfection of the national life.

This may be called the secondary end of the state. Finally, the promotion of the civilization of mankind at large may be Considered the ultimate and the highest end of the state. This is the mission-of civilization theory (Theoriedes Kulturzweckes des Staates) of the Germans, which was powerfully defended and advocated by Holtzendorff, Stein, Wagner, Bluntschli, and others.

Thus the state has a triple end first, its mission is the advancement of the good of the individual then it should seek to promote the collective interests of individuals in the associated capacity, and finally, it should aim at the furthering of the civilization and progress of the world.