(a) Views of the Jews and the Greeks:
What are the duties of state, is a question which cannot be satisfactorily answered until and unless we know and thoroughly understand the concept of the state. What should be the aim of the state is a problem which has raised a good deal of controversy in the literature of Political Science.
There is no consensus of opinion among the experts as to the aim of the state. In the ancient age, the Jews regarded the state as a divine institution and hence they maintained that the state was empowered to interfere in almost all the spheres of the life of the individual.
Ancient Greek philosophers regarded the state as the supreme moral institution. The interference of the State in every sphere of the individual’s life was possible. Plato believed that the state was the developed form of man. According to Aristotle “the state is the supreme association that aims at the supreme good”. The welfare of the individual is not possible in the absence of the state.
(b) Views of the Fascists and Idealists:
The idealists are of the opinion that the individual can make his progress only within the state. Divorced from the state, the individual has no significant role to play. According to Hegel, a famous German Political thinker, “state is a march of God upon earth”. Mr. Bosanquet has regarded the state far superior to the individual.
Thus, in the opinion of the idealists the individual has no right to disobey the commands of the state. It is the cardinal duty of the individual that he should obey the commands of the state unresistatingly because the will of the state is the real will of the individual. Hitler and Mussolini regarded the state superior to the individual. According to them it was the primary duty of the individual to sacrifice himself for the noble cause of the state.
(c) Views of the Individualists:
The individualists have regarded the state as merely a means. They maintained that the state was meant for the people and not the people for the state. They laid stress on the liberty of the individual and protested against the state’s interference in the personal matters. They regarded the state as a necessary evil.
(d) Views of Moderates, Anarchists and Pluralists:
The anarchists regarded the state as an unwanted and unnecessary institution. And so they wanted to abolish it. In nineteenth century, the Liberals regarded the state as a means to protect the rights and existence of the individual.
They maintained that people organised the state for their self-security and for the security of their rights. The pluralists are not prepared to regard the state as a supreme institution. According to them, the state is just like many other institutions existing in society.
Therefore, they do not attach much importance to the State. Many people regard the state as both a means and an end. According to them, there is no conflict of interests between the interests of the individual and the state.
The state is a means as it aims at the welfare of the people and at the same time it is an end also because it is a supreme and a sovereign institution. The state is an institution which does not attach any special importance to a particular sect of people. Prof. Bluntschli and Willoughby have supported this view.