What is it and what is it for young people?

It is essential that adolescents acquire training in political philosophy, as this will allow them to develop the necessary skills and abilities so that they can take a critical view of the exercise of public power without falling into fallacies or opinions without arguments.

In their daily lives, young people often think about why there is so much injustice in the world, about the reasons for wars, iniquity, poverty, discrimination against some social groups, among other ills that afflict humanity and are directly related to the exercise of political power; without being aware -sometimes- that through this reflection they assume, there is a philosophical attitude.

To enrich this critical and philosophical attitude towards political events in our country and the world, it is not enough to watch the news and be aware of the decisions made by our rulers on public affairs on a daily basis -which can benefit or harm us all. – Since it is significant that adolescents have the necessary knowledge to understand through political philosophy, the nature, causes and effects of good and bad government.

According to Leo Strauss, one of the great philosophers and researchers in the history of political thought, in his book ‘What is political philosophy?’, he tells us that this “consists of the attempt to acquire certain knowledge about the essence of the political and on the good political order or the just political order”.

From the point of view of this author, we can understand that political philosophy is a bastion of reflection necessary for adolescents to be educated as citizens aware of the dynamics of power and politics, and to be able in the future to participate in democratic processes that help to transform and improve the social reality of our country and, why not, that of the world.

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We mention four books that adolescents can read to understand and reflect more clearly on the exercise of politics and power:

1. ‘Politics for lovers’, by Fernando Savater: This book published in 1991 by the Spanish philosopher, covers in a clear and entertaining way – thinking of adolescent readers – basic issues of political thought: political corruption, militarism, nationalism, racism, among other issues related to the exercise of power.

2. ‘The Prince’, by Niccolò Machiavelli: “The end justifies the means”, this is one of the reflections that Machiavelli makes in this book about the exercise of political power, analyzing the way of acting of those who have exercised it throughout history until the 16th century. Despite its age, it continues to be a fundamental work for understanding the dynamics and strategies -often immoral- of those who govern.

3. ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell: Despite not being a work of political philosophy but rather a literary one, this book by Orwell, published in 1945, tells the story of a group of farm animals that expel humans for being tyrants, and later decide to create a form of government that, in the long run, it ends up being more brutal and bloody. Through this fictional novel, Orwell leads us to reflect on why political leaders who appear to be the most charismatic often turn out to be the cruelest tyrants.

4. ‘The Republic’, by Plato: This classic work of political philosophy is essential to reflect on the concept of justice. Through different dialogues, carried out between Socrates and other philosophers, discussions are raised regarding such important issues as: if justice is the law imposed by the strongest, if it is better to suffer an injustice than to commit it, what would be the way of ideal government and who should exercise political power.

All these approaches and questions are still valid in our society and, surely, under a careful reading of Plato’s work, they will help us to better understand the dynamics of the exercise of power in today’s world.

How important is it that young people are interested in politics? You can share your experiences with us through our Facebook group Let’s explore, a space to learnand if you want to know more about this topic, don’t miss the program ‘Youth with attitude’, from Monday to Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm