Faith in democracy.

For this discussion, please identify and discuss two of the major differences between Marxism and Capitalism. In your discussion, provide specific examples of how each are implemented or used today (cite your sources as necessary).

Sartre, a winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, was a political activist and a member of the Peace Movement. In general, he was opposed to imperialism and believed that society was constantly in conflict as a result of the struggles between those with power (the have’s) and those without power (the have not’s). At the same time, he was an existentialist, holding individuals responsible for their own actions of good faith and toward freedom.

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Hanna Arendt is the only political theorist (as she preferred to be identified as) we study this term, though there are others. Much of Arendt’s work addresses the nature of political power, specifically the subjects of politics, authority, and totalitarianism. Her perspective as a German-born Jew, as a person who helped Jewish refugees in France during WWII, and as one who was forced to flee France for America as a result of German occupation, provides her a solid perspective on a her focus areas – many of which are used to examine even more current issues.

Rawls is the most historically recent political philosopher we study in this course, having just passed away in 2002. As a political philosopher, much of his focus is on justice. His primary argument is that “most reasonable principles of justice are those everyone would accept and agree to from a fair position.” It is not uncommon for his philosophies to be applied to current issues, whether controversial or not. Arendt was presented the National Humanities Medal in 1999 by former President Bill Clinton who suggested Rawls had helped a generation of Americans restore their faith in democracy.

Select one idea each from the modern philosophers – Sartre, Arendt, and Rawls – and discuss how that idea is influencing a modern government today. Is there an idea you’d like to see influencing government, that isn’t?

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