In asserting that citizens must surrender to the general will, Rousseau places far too much emphasis on the will of the political community. This emphasis on the will of the whole comes at the detriment of minority group interests. Moreover, the possibility that forcing citizens to be free actually promotes freedom is undermined by the concept’s propensity for oppression. Though forcing citizens to be free can be a means of maintaining order in a political community, it also entails significant dangerous implications.
These suggest that society and government should please the general will and work together as a cohesive unit. Rousseau has several famous books, one of which is The Social Contract. The book start with the words: “Men are born free, yet everywhere are in chains.” By this he means to say that the civil society, in which we live, oppresses our birthright of freedom. Without our freedom we are not man and can never be truly happy. He suggests that general will not only requires individual freedom and diversity but also the idea of well-being of the whole.
His idea of political power is that which comes from a social contract, and is entered into by participants who desire protection of life, liberty, and property, while still maintaining a good amount of freedom. Instead of a throne, citizens give up their right to the community, and their role is to deliberate for themselves their individual will, and then come together to exercise the general will, which is voted on by all citizens, in determining laws for the public good. Surely, one’s individual will can coincide with the general will, especially with regards to religion. On this issue, Rousseau expresses opposition to theology, for it was a source of weakness. If anything, the only “religion” he would approve of is that which holds the sanctity of the social contract.
But Rousseau’s idea of freedom is the right for people to rule themselves by conforming to the general will. In the end, the general will is trapped in an awkward state that does not work and does not fulfill its fundamental purpose.
`If one must obey because of force, one need not do so out of duty; and if one is no longer forced to obey one is no longer obliged' (Rousseau: Cress (ed. ), 1987, bk1, ch.3, p.143). Therefore Rousseau has shown that superior power, naked force or power through tradition is not the source of any legitimate authority the state has over us. Rousseau's fundamental problem is to find a solution of structuring the state so that we can live in a state and yet remain as free as possible. Hence, by sacrificing our particular will on major social or national matters in favour of the general will we are ennobled and freed .
In contrast, Rousseau believes men are born with the potential of goodness but the social systems in place propagate animosity. Despite the fact that Hobbes and Rousseau are both concerned with self-preservation, Hobbes supports the idea of an authoritarian regime ruling men in order to prevent a state of war, and Rousseau specifies that freedom consists in men giving themselves their own laws. Years later, many of the issues of inequality and questions of the nature of men are still relevant in our societies. Hobbes and Rousseau have deeply impacted the world of philosophy with their arguments and theories. Despite their differences, both dominant intellectual figures wrote these texts with the central aim to highlight the necessary conditions for the subsistence of a society and ideal governing body and
The New Testament, however, shifts away from retributive justice and towards a more loving and appealing approach of ‘turn the other cheek.’ J. Rousseau pointed out how man is born free but is everywhere in chains and that law is crucial in society in order to solve the inequality and exploitation that arises from our individual dependency on others. He offers the Hobbesian Social Contract in an attempt to tackle this issue. Despite taking a generally negative view of human nature, the Hobbesian Social Contract theory states that humans lack intrinsic moral value and so must regulate their behaviour in a social contract in order to secure an at least tolerable existence. The primary impulse of the human mind is to compete and so a just law must impose the authority to regulate society and protect us from... ... middle of paper ... ...we could not judge other people because the absence of objectivity would mean that we have no standard to judge it by. This would be dangerous, particularly to matters dealing with punishment, because it would not lead to absolute protection and could potentially advocate any sort of unsafe and not sensible behaviour.
In chapter four of On Liberty by J.S. Mill, Mill argues that there needs to be a strong division between an individuals rights and the society’s ability to punish, he believes that the “harm principle” will hold the individuals accountable for their actions, preventing harm to others, however there are also flaws in Mill’s argument which will all be discussed in this essay. Mill makes a claim in his book, On Liberty saying, “ The inconveniences which are strictly inseparable from the unfavorable judgment of others, are the only ones to which a person should ever be subjected for that portion of his conduct which concerns his own good, but which does not affect the interests of others in their relation with him. Acts injurious to others require a totally different treatment.” (Page 72, Mill) This quote, sums up his harm principle, which is that in society each individual cannot violate others rights or harm them in anyway, however if it only affects him or herself, society cannot punish the individual. Mill is discussed how society will judge even if the person is only doing harm to him or herself and wi... ... middle of paper ... ...ered enough, which is a huge objection to Mill’s argument.
The social order was also disturbed when civil disobedience arose as an answer to the assassination of Jorge Eliecer Gaitán and as an answer to the exclusion of political minorities during the National Front. The main problem with civil disobedience, not only in the case of Colombia but overall, is that it can quickly turn from being non-violent into posing a danger to the social contract and society as a whole. Because of this and because civil disobedience inherently implies the rejection of the laws set forth by the general will, it is impossible for civil disobedience and Rousseau’s social contract to coexist. The
Who does not see that this basic principle of every just legal system is being seriously threatened by reductive conceptions of man's essence and dignity? These concepts have given rise to the... ... middle of paper ... ...lization. Government leaders themselves cannot shirk this duty, if the value of democracy, which is rooted in recognizing the inviolable rights of every human individual, is to be safeguarded at its very origins. This is the great challenge to the responsibility of believers posed by the ethical impoverishment of civil laws regarding the protection of certain aspects of human life. The positivistic concept of law, together with ethical relativism, not only eliminates a sure reference point from civil coexistence, but degrades the person's dignity and threatens the fundamental structures of democracy.