The Relationship Between The Government And The Citizens Of A Body Politic

The Relationship Between The Government And The Citizens Of A Body Politic

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Since my previous reflection, I have continued to operate the 24-Hour Hotline with the Domestic Abuse Project each weekend, which entails answering calls that report domestic abuse in Minneapolis, and providing immediate follow up and resources for the victims. Along with Locke and Hobbes, I have also been able to connect my work with the philosophers read in the second half of this course. Specifically, I have made connections between the purpose of the Domestic Abuse Project and Rousseau’s understanding of human life and the role of the government, which primarily focus on the importance of one’s ability to self-govern in pursuit of the common good. Although Rousseau primarily refers to the relationship between the government and the citizens of a body politic, I have been able to connect this sort of relationship with the role of the organization in a legitimate society as well as the abusive relationships are reported to the organization through the hotline.
After comparison of Rousseau’s ideas to my service-learning experience, I have found that Rousseau’s concept of an illegitimate relationship closely resembles what is considered an abusive domestic relationship. Rousseau discusses that a valid contract may not be one-sided, meaning that one may not give up more than another, one may not enslave oneself to another, and peace is no compensation for enslavement. For Rousseau, this means that one cannot give up their rights to another to rule over them, because for Rousseau, the capacity to self-govern is essential to live a fully human life, thus, to enslave oneself to the authority of another is an illegitimate relationship. This definition of an illegitimate relationship resembles the kinds of relationships that the Dome...


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...and the purpose of government to be the most supportive of the Domestic Abuse Project and volunteer organizations in general. Rousseau’s concept that people must look beyond their private wills in pursuit of the General Will is a necessary capacity of an effective volunteer. Volunteering requires one can give up their time and abilities to give back to their community to make it a better place for everyone, not for one’s own private interests. Since volunteering requires some amount of public-spirit by the volunteers, it is unlikely that Rousseau would be critical of most organizations that support community values, such as the Domestic Abuse Project. After this semester, I plan to continue my service with this organization as well as look into what other ways I can give back to the Twin-Cities community using a public-spirited perspective to pursue the common good.

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