Montesquieu theory of three

Montesquieu theory of three by Peter Zapfella.

Baron de Montesquieu Charles Louis de Secondat (18 January 1689 – 10 February 1755) was a French judge and political philosopher concerned with overcoming official corruption and, despotism. He proposed the separation of three levels of governmental power – the legislative, executive, and judicial.

Montesquieu saw despotism as a danger for any government not already despotic and argued that it could best be prevented by different government bodies exercising either legislative, executive, or judicial power, and in which all those bodies are bound by the rule of law. the Montesquieu philosophy was that “government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another”

The Montesquieu theory of the separation of powers had an enormous impact on the framers of the constitutions of the United States of America, the Republic of France and others.

Meanwhile in more than 50 other countries people live within dictatorships where one person or a select group control almost everything and everyone. They often control the population through threats, and fear. These include North Korea, Syria, Yemen and Iran. We could include China in that grouping too. In many ways these dictators have set themselves up as ‘kings’ who rule with absolute power over the daily lives of the people and stifle innovation and development. Only special politically connected people are given opportunities. These ‘kings’ intend to keep power within their family and close trusted groupings. The result is … the country, the people suffer deprivations at the hands of the elite. Every now and again we witness revolution.

Monarchies where one person inherits absolute power of the country and its population include the United Arab Emirates, Swaziland, Oman and Brunei. The king may be belevolent and work to improve the lot for his people, to go the way of a meglomaniac dictator. History has shown some of these hereditary kings have also witnessed revolution. Both the USA and France were created by revolution against a hereditary king who failed to care for the people.

I appreciate that we as individuals live our day within three more or less equal parts. They are sleep. work and recreation. Today we aspire to experience 8 hours of each. We need all these three to maintain physical and mental health. 

The best possible work we can have is the work we love so much we would do it for free if we did not need to work for financial reward. This is because our brain produces ‘happiness endorphins’which maintain health. People who hate their job, their boss, their workmates are literally poisoning themselves. They are prime candidates for cancer and heart attacks.

During sleep our brain waves slow down. The various stages of relaxation and sleep are;

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We need Theta and Delta sleep to remain sane and healthy. Therefore we need uninterrupted sleep.

Recreation may include socialising, sport and exercise. I think it also includes eating healthy food and just relaxing into the Alpha zone.

I wonder, was the Montesquieu theory of government influenced by the way we divide our day into three more or less equal parts of eight hours each? Or, was Montesquieu’s theory influenced by his three thoughts on education?

Montesquieu said “We receive three educations, one from our parents, one from our school masters, and one from the world. The third contradicts all that the first two teach us.”

It bears thought. However, in conclusion, I believe Montesquieu’s philosophical arguments of three levels of government improve my life experience. I think we people who are lucky enough to live in a country where there are relative freedoms from government corruption can aspire to greatness and thereby help to improve the lives of others.

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