11 valid criticisms against idealistic theory of the state



1. Unreality:

It is a purely abstract and metaphysical theory and far removed from the realities of life. The ideas preached by it have little touch with hard facts of life.

William James calls the idealistic theory "; rationalistic philosophy that indeed may call itself religious, but that keeps out all definite touch with concrete facts, joys and sorrows."

2. Tactics of conservatism:

Hobson describes idealism as the tactics of conservatism. He criticizes it as it seems to preach the divine rights of things. Instead of realizing the ideal, it idealizes the actual.

As for example, Aristotle idealizes slavery Hegal and his followers glorify war and brute force. T.H. Green idealizes the private ownership of property.

3. Obliterates distinction between the State and Government:

The theory is too narrow and rigid. It obliterates the distinction between the state and society. This conception could be applicable to an ancient Greek city-state which has a very small size of population and a limited conception of citizenship, but the idea is a misfit in the modem state which has large size of population and the concept of citizenship, too, has changed.

4. Unreality of personality theory:

Maclver attacks the idealists doctrine of personality of the state. His argument is that a state consists of persons, but that does not make the state a person any more than a grove of trees a tree, or a colony of animals an animal.

5. Theoretically unsound:

Joad denounces idealism as unsound in theory and dangerous in its contents because it inevitably leads to the omnipotence of state and negation of individual liberty.

6. Individual is the end :

The state exists for individual : “individuals do not exist for the state." The state can justify its existence only by promoting welfare of the individuals who compose the state.

The state cannot have any other end and it is idle to argue that the state is an end in itself.

7.Dangerous subordination of individuals:

According to Gettle, the theory is dangerous, however, if pushed to the extreme of viewing the state as above all moral restrains, and submerging the individuals wholly to its unquestioning obedience.

8.State cannot be infallible:

It is wrong to assume that the state is infallible and that whenever there is a conflict between the state and the individual, the course adopted by the state must invariably by the right course.

Such an assumption is inimical to individual liberty.

9. Wrong to assume that State is an all-embracing institution:

The idealist conceives of the state as an isolated, self-sufficient and all embracing institution. Such a conception cannot be in full agreement with the dynamic movement of human society which is characterized by the growth and development of the increasing number of voluntary associations such as the clubs, the trade unions, the church etc.

These associations touch all the aspects of an individual's life and promote his welfare. The sphere of activity of such associations is more extensive than that of the state and they command the allegiance of citizens belonging to different states.

The state cannot prevent by any external act the expression of loyalty to these associations and to assert with success its claim to unstinted allegiance from its citizens.

10. Worshippers of power:

State is regarded to be an organized force. War is regarded a normal life of State. This theory is denounced as false and against the interests of humanity at large.

11. It encourages totalitarianism:

The theory in fact was expounded by German philosophers to prepare their nation for war and world domination. The same theory is responsible for growth of dictator­ship and ultimate massacre of Germany and Italy.