Individual, State and Society

Topics: Conservative Party, Conservatism, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Pages: 10 (3354 words) Published: November 26, 2012
This essay shall critically comment on two quotations.

The first quote is by Margaret Thatcher who said: “There is no such thing as society, only individuals and their families” and the second quote is by David Cameron who said: “There is such thing as society: it’s just not the same as the state”

To critically comment on these quotes that were stated in a political setting, references shall be made to the political ideologies the subjects held and the context they appeared in will be analyzed. Additionally different political basic ideologies will be named and outlined to give a broader understanding and contrast in the analysis. Furthermore, Plato’s The Republic (360BC) and existentialist Jose Ortega’s Man and People, (1957), shall attempt to lend their wisdom from their philosophical works, to shed some light and give meaning on the complexity of these two quotes. For clarity British conservatism’s history will be looked at closely.

Terms Individual, Society and State are briefly defined now.

An individual is generally speaking a person separate from others, with his/her own needs, values and desires. The word originates from Latin in-dividuus, meaning indivisible, referring to a single human being, separate from a group.

A society is made up by a collection of individuals. The etymology of the word originates in Latin societas, derived from socius which translates as comrade, friend or ally, indicating relations. It can for instance be such as a group of people, subject to law and political authority, or a group of like-minded people, sharing the same norms and values. Often, therefore, societies are formed, such as medical-, esoteric- or literary- for example. The word society always refers to relations between people - they may share a certain culture, territory, economic, political or social structure.

The state can be called an organized, a political community under government: a sovereign state is a public, political entity, recognized in national law. Other words associated with state are machinery, a system, imposition/obligation and polity.

Named and outlined below are various different political and social philosophies and ideologies:


Is a Latin word derived from communis and means -shared or -belonging to all. The terms communism and socialism are somewhat inter-changeable. These political ideologies followed communist philosopher Karl Marx’s 10-point communist Manifesto from 1845, he was quoted in saying; “Workers of the world, unite, you have nothing to loose, but your chains.” Marx was interested in building a free society without division or alienation. He believed this could only be achieved by a revolution seeking to overthrow capitalism and to have state ownership by the means of production –this in short meant the dictatorship of the proletariat. The aim in mind was for the working class to replace the exploiter class and to create equality, a no-class system, abolishing privatization, with re-distribution of land and production. A good example of the workings of Communism, as efforts in co-operation, would be a Kibbutz, mirroring a microcosm of this ideology. Well known communist leaders and dictators of a serious nature and totalitarians, were Mao Zedong and Stalin for instance.


Latin in origin, sociare translates as -to share. The older view of communism and socialism was built on 5 tenets: Stress on community, cooperation, equality, social class and common ownership. Marx had ideas about balancing the material and the moral and also said: “From each according to his ability to each according to his need.” Socialists are reformers and believe if the structure of society changes, things will change, similar to the beliefs held by Marxist Terry Eaglton. Socialism is about the group, having a collective, a solidarity and brotherhood, with no individual advantage. An evil in society to a socialist goes back to the structure of the society,...
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