State and civil society in the historical context
It can be said that theories about how the stateand civil society interact with each other, appeared before the emergence of this term. The first "noticed" the elements of such a social system of Plato, singling them out as an independent substance of the policy. He attached to these components a fundamental role in his theory of the "ideal state". Aristotle, developing the postulate that man is a zoon politician, that is, a social and political being, came to the conclusion that the state is a natural product of the development of the political aspirations of citizens, however, there are spheres - economic, marriage-family, spiritual - where the state does not have the right to intrude. Aristotle noted that property and the middle class, as possessing property, are the basis of the stability of human society.
Great contribution to the development of the theory of howinteract with each other state and civil society, introduced the Italian writer Niccolo Machiavelli. He empowers the state with political power, which does not always go hand in hand with morality. State men, acting for political purposes, should not abuse and violate the property and personal rights of subjects, so as not to incite the hatred of society against themselves. Thus, Machiavelli formulated the first and most important postulate of civil society - it is something independent, something that lives by its own laws that are beyond the control of the state.
Considering how the state andcivil society, the English thinker Thomas Hobbes proclaims the primacy of the latter before the state, and first introduces this term into scientific circulation. The founder of liberalism John Locke developed the theory of Hobbes about the primacy of civil society, and came to the conclusion that the state arises only when a society has matured such a need. Consequently, Locke develops his thought, there were times when the state was not (because there was no need for it), and there will come times when the society will no longer need it. Formulating the definition of such a society, Locke calls it the main dominant equality of all its members before the laws.
Montesquieu considers the state and civilsociety as two mutually struggling structures, and argues that the latter is the most important guarantee against dictatorship and arbitrariness on the part of power structures. Jean-Jacques Rousseau goes even further and recognizes the right of members of such a society to overthrow the government. Thinkers of the left direction of the XIX-XX century - Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, other modern philosophers and political scientists - supplemented and deepened the knowledge of mankind about the role of civil society in the life of the state. Dictatorships and putsches of our time have shown a paradoxical connection between these two social phenomena: being by nature rivals, they support and balance each other, balancing between such maxims as absolute totalitarianism and general anarchy.
Paradoxically, but true: the main institutions of civil society, such as various political parties, independent press, public human rights organizations, only strengthen the normal functioning of political power and the fulfillment of its duties. On the one hand, these institutions seek to control the powers that be, to limit their influence on the everyday life of citizens. This leads to the fact that the state is forced to establish laws that guarantee to ordinary people the rights and freedoms, as a result of which ordinary people have the opportunity to influence the power and its decisions. A prosperous and developed Western European modern society is the result of the consensus of the institutions of an active civil society with state authorities. While totalitarian - and shaky, as the "Arab Spring" showed - states are always in an open or secret war with independent associations seeking to exercise control functions. And since "a thin world is always better than a good war," the fate of such regimes is predetermined.