POLS246 American Politics

POLS246 American Politics

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POLS246 American Politics

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POLS246 American Politics

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Course Code: POLS246
University: Simmons University

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Country: United States

Question:
How does Tocqueville think that religion is important in sustaining America’s political health? What problems does it address?
What is the relationship between religion and our materialism?
What is the relationship between religion and the concept of ‘self-interest rightly understood’?
Answer:
Introduction:

The religion is one of the important aspects in the modern society and Tocqueville is one of the major thinkers on the topic of the merger of the democracy and religion in the modern society. The thought of the importance of the religion in maintaining the democratic government was one of the major topics thought out by Tocqueville (De Tocqueville). Tocqueville proposed and the rich cultural heritage of religion was important in the maintaining of the religious harmony in the society. One of the major aspects in that concern was that it was widely thought the administration of the government and the religion cannot go hand in hand and the overall society cannot be maintained solely based on the basis of the different perspectives of the religious society. According to Tocqueville, the religion was one of the most important answers to the threats that the democracy may face in the long term situations such as fanaticism and materialism (De Tocqueville).
As far as materialism is concerned, the absence of power or position in the society along with the lack religion will make the people more and more materialistic affecting their overall functioning in the society. This problem according to Tocqueville was a major issues in the building up and the sustenance of the utopian society as the lack of the religion will make the people lose their empathy towards the overall functioning of the society. In this case the people will not work towards the overall development of the society or assist the poor or weak. Instead due the materialistic ideology they may take whatever measures possible for the overall development of their own materialistic possessions. This is why during the formation of earlier legislations of the British too the laws were based on the religious perspectives and the development of moral values in the society (De Tocqueville).  The overt lack of religion in the society according to Tocqueville will lead to the formation of  the ideology of individualism in the society, often affecting the overall functioning of the individuals in the society. The introduction of the self-centric society will lead to and overall rise in the issues relating to the lack of empathy in the society. Religion in the society teaches people to be more compassionate and understanding of the situations of other people in the society as the religion in the society inculcates the ideology of compassion and doing well for the society (De Tocqueville). The presence of religion in the society deviates the mind of the people in the society helping them to gain motivation from more moralistic and distant ambitions than fulfilling their moralistic cravings (De Tocqueville).
As proposed by Tocqueville, the rise of the religion in the society in an organized manner wil help in the mitigation of the religious fanaticism in the society. The religious fanaticism is one of the major issues keeping in mind that the people may choose religious extremism as the result of the rising amount of the depravation of the society. The religious fanaticism is not conducive for the growth and development of the society as it leads to the use of force and violence for the conversion of people instead of the use of persuasion (De Tocqueville). The use of the violence for the spread of religion upsets the balance of the society and gives rise to the religious fanaticism. The right kind of religion is that can be practiced in the country has to focus on the separation of the church from the state as it would help in the balancing of the religion and the administrative function of the society without them meddling with the overall functions. Tocqueville in his work focuses on the fact that the religion backed government in the past is one of the major issues that has led t the formation of the religious issues in the society. One of the major statements made by Tocqueville is that the government should not make laws in the society supporting religion or rejecting its practice in the society. The freedom of practicing own religion is one of the basic human rights that should be given to the people in the society (De Tocqueville). The rise of the religion in the society, also curbs the rights of the people and free thinking, therefore it should not be enforced.
Solzhenitsyn is one of the major thinkers debating the idea of the working of the censorship present in the Soviet government. This is the part which emphasizes on the idea that the state has too much power which leads to the autocracy in the society. The impression of Solzhenitsyn of the oppressive USSR where the power is limited in the hands of a few people. He was forced to leave his country and brought about the reality of the Gulags to the people in the society. One of the major issue in that issue is the fact that the government would go to any extent to curb the freedom of the person that they chose. In his speech on the modern context of the society he points out that the society is becoming everything that America was not supposed to become given the freedoms in its legislatures. No matter how much the legislatures tried the societies are gradually becoming materialistic and the lack of religion are one of the major reason to blame for it (Lescaze). He pointed out that the propagandist literature that the western media projects of the people in the society makes it tough for the people in the society to understand and comprehend the different issues in the society. The whole idea of Tocqueville had been negated as the state tried to interfere and construct the ideologies of met against religion and other ideal in the society. The problem was the fanaticism for which the Nazi societies and other were supposed to be blamed and not the religion itself.
Solzhenitsyn argued that the west is becoming the wrong example to the other societies and it is gradually trading the freedom that they have for the materialistic gains in the society. This has led to one of the major issues in the overall understanding of religion and the interpretation of it in the society. The rise in materialism is also making the society self-centered leading to the gradual rise in the materialistic views among the different people in the society leading to the increase in the lack of compassion and understanding in the society. The rise of propagandist ideologies has led to the over intrusion of state into the formation of the opinions among the people rather than the rise in the overall moral good and understanding in the society.
Therefore it can be said that Tocqueville in his work proposed the importance of the organized religion in the society for the overall well being in the society but he also wanted that the religion should be organized such that its practice may not hinder the development of the society itself. The bifurcation of the church and the state is also necessary to maintain a sustainable balance in the society. in this context it can be seen that the people living in the society are affected by the laws of the state and they must be balanced and understanding of the different situations in the society. Solzhenitsyn however points out the fact that all the issues that were not supposed to creep in the society have come because of the rise in the materialism and the rise of the state interfering with the views and opinions of the people.
References
De Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in america. Vol. 10. Regnery Publishing, 2003.
Lescaze, Lee. “Solzhenitsyn Says West Is Failing As Model For World”. Washington Post, 1978, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/06/09/solzhenitsyn-says-west-is-failing-as-model-for-world/69e9fb6c-60d6-41f3-9022-606631a60e35/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f5c74c3fc7b2. Accessed 11 Aug

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