In its altruistic sense, the government acts as an instrument of representation of the people who have formed it and therefore has the responsibility to govern society as an epitome of all wills unified into a single essence. However, a government does not necessarily possess power, since power is mediated or delegated by society itself to a select group of leaders that use such power in order to benefit the community as a whole. Still, in the long run, as society evolves from its crude state where no set of laws and morals govern human condition, the individual learns to commune with the other and learn to harmonize the human condition.
From human experience, social laws are formed and these laws become the basis for the formation of a culture. It is through value-ideas and the word culture is in itself a finite segment in which prominent events are included. In a primitive society, man is concerned with the environment and experience around it. From these habits and practices, it becomes a cultural norm that acts as a basis of living. On the other hand, society remains communal in terms of daily activities.
These cultural precepts, in the crude sense, act only as guidelines or moral markers for human beings to regulate and base their actions upon. Breaking such norms correspond to specific punishments, depending on the gravity of the crime. These become the basis for the formulation of established laws and norms in society and as it continually evolves into a deeper and larger aspect, more perspectives are taken into account. In a basic precept of society, there are no sets of laws and moral norms to guide human act.
Man first establishes a communal society in which everybody benefits from labor produced as a whole. In each communal group, there are no perceptions on race, gender, or color. Rather, the perspective lies on the group itself (tribe). This society lives in harmony with little or no thought in individual freedom. However, as society develops, with the need for private property and division of labor, the human race then adopts institutions of law for the protection of their rights. In addition, man is engaged in frequent competition and also becomes heavily dependent upon fellow men.
Their individualistic essence is lost and there is a looming threat on man’s freedom. Yet, by abandoning individual claims in order to join together through a generally accepted social agreement or contract, individuals can preserve their individuality and at the same time enjoy their freedom. Individuals submit to the rule of the general will—the collective agreement which protects individuals from being superseded by the will of others and ensures that this agreement is protected and obeyed because the majority becomes the authors of the law.
As the progression of history treads on its usual path, it is inevitable for the human race to stratify and improve its prevalent political and social systems in order to adjust with the demands of industrial and scientific progression. Naturally, the evolution of the human race coincides with the development and diversification of ideas and concepts. Society however, remains on its crudest form, even with the presence of new ideas and perspectives. For individuals basic essence of self-need remains the same and as long as individuals remain such, society can never change.
Not every aspect of government is perfect but in essence, the idea remains good and noble. However, once these structures are put into context, there are still some gaping holes with regard its structure. The prevalent government forms are as follows: Democracy, Despotism, Anarchy, Monarchy, Theocracy, and among others. A Monarchical government is one of the oldest forms of societal control through the ruling of the noble elite. However, the evidence through history suggests that the monarchy further instigates social class struggle, oppression, and abuse.
Theocracy has the same effect though society is controlled by the religious elite. Anarchy is the complete opposite of the government, basing from the simple precept that humans are motivated by selfish desires and thus no form of government can adhere or address the needs of the many. Democracy is probably the closest form of an ideal government in a given society since its main ideals give emphasis on sovereignty and equality and liberalism. Society is organized through a single, governing body that has the supreme authority to uphold and enforce the laws which society has created.
This type of government is separated by three powers that have distinctive qualities in terms of authority, scope and power so as to prevent abuse and dereliction of duty. In terms of individual subjectivity, French political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rosseau in his work The Social Contract discusses the natural inclination of man to develop ‘social contracts’ that represent simultaneously the idea of the whole and individual need: “Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole” (Rousseau 2002, p. ).
From this premise, societal behaviour naturally acts according to the contribution to the good; that is, the general will acts as the supreme law of the land because of equality it tries to espouse. Like any other government however, we cannot say Democracy is the ideal state of society; rather, it is close to the ideal societal structure because of its advocacies on freedom, equality and liberty. Unlike the authoritarian rules of monarchy, theocracy, plutocracy or any other form of government where authority comes from a single person or single group, these kinds of governments are only applicable to societies in turmoil or chaos.
Democracy allows a sense of individual freedom wherein it coincides with the greater good. In order to satisfy the basic human nature of individuality, an ideal government never takes for granted or abuses the individual spirit through constant tyranny and dictatorship. In addition, an ideal government provides stability and organization in a specific society it governs upon; the people itself is the government, and the representatives they elect are servants who fulfil their duties by addressing the needs of the people and country.