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Social Contract Theory

DanT
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8/27/2012 4:23:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

The idea behind the social contract is that government is instituted in order to protect the inalienable rights of the people; those are the rights to life, liberty, and property. The social contract theory states that government is instituted by the governed, for common protection of the governed, and deriving it's authority from the governed; when the government breaks this contract, the governed have a right to alter or abolish it.

The original social contract theory is echoed by the writings of John Locke, and the American Revolutionary governments that were influenced by Locke.

John Locke wrote,
"Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant
obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are
all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of
our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or
primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it
is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature.
It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we
can preserve no other."

The American Declaration of Independence reads,
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

The 1776 Pennsylvanian constitution reads,
"V.That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or community; and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single man, family, or soft of men, who are a part only of that community, And that the community hath an indubitable, unalienable and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish government in such manner as shall be by that community judged most conducive to the public weal.

VI. That those who are employed in the legislative and executive business of the State, may be restrained from oppression, the people have a right, at such periods as they may think proper, to reduce their public officers to a private station, and supply the vacancies by certain and regular elections.

VII. That all elections ought to be free; and that all free men having a sufficient evident common interest with, and attachment to the community, have a right to elect officers, or to be elected into office.

VIII. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion towards the expence of that protection, and yield his personal service when necessary, or an equivalent thereto: But no part of a man's property can be justly taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of his legal representatives: Nor can any man who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent, nor are the people bound by any laws, but such as they have in like manner assented to, for their common good. "

Likewise the 1777 Vermont Constitution reads,
"That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single man, family or set of men, who are a part only of that community; and that the community hath an indubitable, unalienable and indefeasible right, to reform, alter or abolish government, in such manner as shall be, by that community, judged most conducive to the public weal."

The 1776 Virginia constitution reads;
"A declaration of rights made by the representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free convention; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government.

SECTION 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity, namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
SEC. 2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.
SEC. 3. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and that, when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.
SEC. 4. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which, not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator, or judge to be hereditary "

The 1784 New Hampshire constitution reads,
"Article 1. [Equality of Men; Origin and Object of Government.] All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.
[Art.] 2. [Natural Rights.] All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights - among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness...
[Art.] 8. [Accountability of Magistrates and Officers; Public's Right to Know.] All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them. Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive...
[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind."
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
YYW
Posts: 38,565
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8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.
royalpaladin
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8/27/2012 5:37:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
It depends on the nature of the contract being discussed and the reason that people join society. I think Rawls has a better understanding of the contract than Locke does.
NixonianVolkswagen
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8/27/2012 5:52:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I thought the social contract theory was a way for philosophers to justify society without everyone feeling guilty about everything.
"There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions."

- Karl "Spartacus" Popper
Lordknukle
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8/27/2012 6:04:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Tl;dr

Social contract grants certain rights to individuals with the option of the government violating those rights to preserve them. Basically, it's collectivist if the government violates more than it gives and individualist if it gives more than it takes.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
DanT
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8/27/2012 6:08:39 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM, YYW wrote:
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.

"Social contract implies consenting." ~ Lordknuckle

It does nothing of the short.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
DanT
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8/27/2012 6:14:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 5:52:18 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
I thought the social contract theory was a way for philosophers to justify society without everyone feeling guilty about everything.

In John Locke's two treaties of Government he explains the social contract and the natural rights of man. The social contract was originally used in conjunction with natural rights, to explain the purpose of government as it relates to rights. John Locke was very spot on in his two treaties of government, as he did a hood job explaining the origin of our natural rights. The Social contract theory's original purpose was to argue against collectivism. It was used by individualist philosophers such as John Locke, and Hugo Grotius as a way of explaining government's role in regards to the protection of man's natural rights.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
THEBOMB
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8/27/2012 6:22:24 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"Political power then I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good." (Section 1, Second Treatise of Government, Locke)

The government has the power to create laws and defend society for the public good. As in the collective good.
OMGJustinBieber
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8/27/2012 6:23:41 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:08:39 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM, YYW wrote:
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.

"Social contract implies consenting." ~ Lordknuckle

It does nothing of the short.

I would say Rawls' does, because if you read Rawls he's speaking to a rational, disembodied mind. It's basically game theory used to justify certain methods of taxation and welfare.
Lordknukle
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8/27/2012 6:28:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:08:39 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM, YYW wrote:
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.

"Social contract implies consenting." ~ Lordknuckle

It does nothing of the short.

Quoting without context much? The social contract implies consenting for taxes because for the government (or society) to secure "inalienable rights" to the people, there needs to be a form of repayment.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
NixonianVolkswagen
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8/27/2012 6:31:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:14:35 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:52:18 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
I thought the social contract theory was a way for philosophers to justify society without everyone feeling guilty about everything.

In John Locke's two treaties of Government he explains the social contract and the natural rights of man. The social contract was originally used in conjunction with natural rights, to explain the purpose of government as it relates to rights. John Locke was very spot on in his two treaties of government, as he did a hood job explaining the origin of our natural rights. The Social contract theory's original purpose was to argue against collectivism. It was used by individualist philosophers such as John Locke, and Hugo Grotius as a way of explaining government's role in regards to the protection of man's natural rights.

No, this is not true in the straightforward way you're implying: at the time that Locke wrote, the collectivist vs. individualist dynamic did not exist in the modern sense. He might have been writing in order to both recommend and justify a government in a form other than The Divine Right of Kings or brute force, but there was no sense in which he wrote to prevent, say, the Soviet Union coming into existence.

You have to remember that he was a man of the world, not just of ideas, and that he wrote the Two Treatise, in part, as an attempt to legitimate an English power struggle.
"There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions."

- Karl "Spartacus" Popper
THEBOMB
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8/27/2012 6:36:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:22:24 PM, THEBOMB wrote:
"Political power then I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good." (Section 1, Second Treatise of Government, Locke)

The government has the power to create laws and defend society for the public good. As in the collective good.

Oh yea, and also...

"But though men when they enter into society give up the equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of Nature into the hands of the society, to be so far disposed of by the legislative as the good of the society shall require, yet it being only with an intention in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty and property"
DanT
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8/27/2012 6:50:24 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:31:07 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:14:35 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:52:18 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
I thought the social contract theory was a way for philosophers to justify society without everyone feeling guilty about everything.

In John Locke's two treaties of Government he explains the social contract and the natural rights of man. The social contract was originally used in conjunction with natural rights, to explain the purpose of government as it relates to rights. John Locke was very spot on in his two treaties of government, as he did a hood job explaining the origin of our natural rights. The Social contract theory's original purpose was to argue against collectivism. It was used by individualist philosophers such as John Locke, and Hugo Grotius as a way of explaining government's role in regards to the protection of man's natural rights.

No, this is not true in the straightforward way you're implying: at the time that Locke wrote, the collectivist vs. individualist dynamic did not exist in the modern sense. He might have been writing in order to both recommend and justify a government in a form other than The Divine Right of Kings or brute force, but there was no sense in which he wrote to prevent, say, the Soviet Union coming into existence.


It did too; the collectivists were the Tories who favored a single sovereign, whereas the individualists were the Whigs who believed in multiple sovereigns either with Parliament being the sovereigns or with sovereignty resting in the people.
The Tory and Whig Party was formed out of the English civil war between the crown and Parliament, which resulted in the British Isles becoming a Commonwealth (after the King's head rolled).
The Parliamentarians in the English civil war was split between people in favor popular sovereignty, and people in favor of parliamentary sovereignty.

The two treaties of Government were inspired by the glorious revolution, in which the Whigs overthrew the king.

When the Acts of Union 1707 was passed Scotland agreed to a Hanoverian succession. After the Acts of Union the Whigs in favor of popular sovereignty formed a coalition with the Jacobite Tories called the Country/Patriot Party. The Whigs in favor of Parliamentary sovereignty formed a coalition with Hanoverian Tories called the Court Party.
The Patriot Party was individualist and the Country Party was Collectivist.

The Patriot Party and the Court Whigs in the colonies were in favor of the revolution, while the Court Tories were against the revolution.

You have to remember that he was a man of the world, not just of ideas, and that he wrote the Two Treatise, in part, as an attempt to legitimate an English power struggle.

Which was individualist vs collectivist related.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
DanT
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8/27/2012 6:55:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:22:24 PM, THEBOMB wrote:
"Political power then I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good." (Section 1, Second Treatise of Government, Locke)

The government has the power to create laws and defend society for the public good. As in the collective good.

public good =/= collective good.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
THEBOMB
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8/27/2012 7:00:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:55:30 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:22:24 PM, THEBOMB wrote:
"Political power then I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good." (Section 1, Second Treatise of Government, Locke)

The government has the power to create laws and defend society for the public good. As in the collective good.

public good =/= collective good.

erm...the people make up the public do they not?
Lordknukle
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8/27/2012 7:05:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:55:30 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:22:24 PM, THEBOMB wrote:
"Political power then I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good." (Section 1, Second Treatise of Government, Locke)

The government has the power to create laws and defend society for the public good. As in the collective good.

public good =/= collective good.

Sigged.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Contra
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8/27/2012 8:24:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 5:52:18 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
I thought the social contract theory was a way for philosophers to justify society without everyone feeling guilty about everything.

Yes!
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DanT
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8/27/2012 8:29:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 7:00:34 PM, THEBOMB wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:55:30 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:22:24 PM, THEBOMB wrote:
"Political power then I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good." (Section 1, Second Treatise of Government, Locke)

The government has the power to create laws and defend society for the public good. As in the collective good.

public good =/= collective good.

erm...the people make up the public do they not?

collective good would be the good of the collective; that is without individual consideration. Public good can be either the collective good or the common good. The common good is the good of every individual within the community.

Public good (the best interests of the community.)
http://en.wiktionary.org...
Common good (the general interest of the population as a whole.)
http://en.wiktionary.org...
Collective good (the interests of the aggregated community)
http://en.wiktionary.org...
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
DanT
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8/27/2012 8:32:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 7:05:30 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:55:30 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:22:24 PM, THEBOMB wrote:
"Political power then I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defense of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good." (Section 1, Second Treatise of Government, Locke)

The government has the power to create laws and defend society for the public good. As in the collective good.

public good =/= collective good.

Sigged.

If I said Primate =/= Chimpanzee, would you sig that too?
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
YYW
Posts: 38,565
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8/27/2012 8:32:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:23:41 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:08:39 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM, YYW wrote:
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.

"Social contract implies consenting." ~ Lordknuckle

It does nothing of the short.

I would say Rawls' does, because if you read Rawls he's speaking to a rational, disembodied mind. It's basically game theory used to justify certain methods of taxation and welfare.

Interesting. Do elaborate.
NixonianVolkswagen
Posts: 481
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8/28/2012 9:16:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:50:24 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:31:07 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:14:35 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:52:18 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
I thought the social contract theory was a way for philosophers to justify society without everyone feeling guilty about everything.

In John Locke's two treaties of Government he explains the social contract and the natural rights of man. The social contract was originally used in conjunction with natural rights, to explain the purpose of government as it relates to rights. John Locke was very spot on in his two treaties of government, as he did a hood job explaining the origin of our natural rights. The Social contract theory's original purpose was to argue against collectivism. It was used by individualist philosophers such as John Locke, and Hugo Grotius as a way of explaining government's role in regards to the protection of man's natural rights.

No, this is not true in the straightforward way you're implying: at the time that Locke wrote, the collectivist vs. individualist dynamic did not exist in the modern sense. He might have been writing in order to both recommend and justify a government in a form other than The Divine Right of Kings or brute force, but there was no sense in which he wrote to prevent, say, the Soviet Union coming into existence.


It did too; the collectivists were the Tories who favored a single sovereign, whereas the individualists were the Whigs who believed in multiple sovereigns either with Parliament being the sovereigns or with sovereignty resting in the people.

This is reading a modern theme into history, they weren't collectivists or individualists in the sense that you or I would intend to mean it. You just have to look at what each did when in power to see that they were very much products of their age. Now, they might have been relatively individualist or collectivist, but to claim that they're synonymous with our mores and standards is erroneous.

The Tory and Whig Party was formed out of the English civil war between the crown and Parliament, which resulted in the British Isles becoming a Commonwealth (after the King's head rolled).
The Parliamentarians in the English civil war was split between people in favor popular sovereignty, and people in favor of parliamentary sovereignty.

The two treaties of Government were inspired by the glorious revolution, in which the Whigs overthrew the king.


That's not quite accurate, it was written, it's thought, to justify the insurrection during the Exclusion Crisis. Although, I appreciate that that could be seen as a sort of continuum of anti-James II feeling.

When the Acts of Union 1707 was passed Scotland agreed to a Hanoverian succession. After the Acts of Union the Whigs in favor of popular sovereignty formed a coalition with the Jacobite Tories called the Country/Patriot Party. The Whigs in favor of Parliamentary sovereignty formed a coalition with Hanoverian Tories called the Court Party.

The Patriot Party was individualist and the Country Party was Collectivist.

Again, this is reading the modern conceptual dynamic into the past. It might be relatively true, but it's not literally the same as now.

The Patriot Party and the Court Whigs in the colonies were in favor of the revolution, while the Court Tories were against the revolution.


You have to remember that he was a man of the world, not just of ideas, and that he wrote the Two Treatise, in part, as an attempt to legitimate an English power struggle.

Which was individualist vs collectivist related.

Sort of. In the same way that any political document can be argued to be. He was searching for a basis for government other than the monarchy or brute force.

Note: I have nothing against Locke, I just don't think he should be treated as a post-WW2 20th century academic.
"There is an almost universal tendency, perhaps an inborn tendency, to suspect the good faith of a man who holds opinions that differ from our own opinions."

- Karl "Spartacus" Popper
socialpinko
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8/28/2012 10:13:47 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 5:52:18 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
I thought the social contract theory was a way for philosophers to justify society without everyone feeling guilty about everything.
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TheHitchslap
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8/28/2012 10:47:53 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/27/2012 6:08:39 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM, YYW wrote:
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.

"Social contract implies consenting." ~ Lordknuckle

It does nothing of the short.

Yes it does, in fact have you ever read the social contract? He even speaks about it in numerous chapters, it's called the GENERAL WILL!
Thank you for voting!
Stephen_Hawkins
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8/28/2012 10:50:37 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
How come the debate on Social Contract theory is around Locke?

Locke came up with liberalism and the foundation of it, and essentially invented the foundations for libertarianism (nightwatchman analogy), the Original Position (tabula rasa & state-of-nature and yes I know it's Rawls), etc.

But he was the founder of these theories. I'd imagine we'd be discussing the innovators moreso, such as Rousseau or Montesquieu (cannot spell it). And Rousseau was certainly a collectivist, not an individualist.
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Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
TheHitchslap
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8/28/2012 11:39:08 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/28/2012 10:50:37 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
How come the debate on Social Contract theory is around Locke?

Locke came up with liberalism and the foundation of it, and essentially invented the foundations for libertarianism (nightwatchman analogy), the Original Position (tabula rasa & state-of-nature and yes I know it's Rawls), etc.

But he was the founder of these theories. I'd imagine we'd be discussing the innovators moreso, such as Rousseau or Montesquieu (cannot spell it). And Rousseau was certainly a collectivist, not an individualist.

^^ now THIS GUY knows what he is talking about!!!
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DanT
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8/28/2012 11:59:36 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/28/2012 10:50:37 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
How come the debate on Social Contract theory is around Locke?

Locke came up with liberalism and the foundation of it, and essentially invented the foundations for libertarianism (nightwatchman analogy), the Original Position (tabula rasa & state-of-nature and yes I know it's Rawls), etc.

But he was the founder of these theories. I'd imagine we'd be discussing the innovators moreso, such as Rousseau or Montesquieu (cannot spell it). And Rousseau was certainly a collectivist, not an individualist.

"Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void — is, in fact, not a law." ~ the social contract by Rousseau

Rousseau was a Democrat, not a Republican. He was an individualist when it came to sovereignty over the state, but he was a left wing individualist. When it came to the policies of the state he may have been a collectivist, but in regards to sovereignty over the state he was an individualist.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
DanT
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8/28/2012 12:01:03 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/28/2012 10:47:53 AM, TheHitchslap wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:08:39 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM, YYW wrote:
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.

"Social contract implies consenting." ~ Lordknuckle

It does nothing of the short.

Yes it does, in fact have you ever read the social contract? He even speaks about it in numerous chapters, it's called the GENERAL WILL!

"The social contract" is not the original social contract theory.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
DanT
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8/28/2012 12:02:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/28/2012 9:16:39 AM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:50:24 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:31:07 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:14:35 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:52:18 PM, NixonianVolkswagen wrote:
I thought the social contract theory was a way for philosophers to justify society without everyone feeling guilty about everything.

In John Locke's two treaties of Government he explains the social contract and the natural rights of man. The social contract was originally used in conjunction with natural rights, to explain the purpose of government as it relates to rights. John Locke was very spot on in his two treaties of government, as he did a hood job explaining the origin of our natural rights. The Social contract theory's original purpose was to argue against collectivism. It was used by individualist philosophers such as John Locke, and Hugo Grotius as a way of explaining government's role in regards to the protection of man's natural rights.

No, this is not true in the straightforward way you're implying: at the time that Locke wrote, the collectivist vs. individualist dynamic did not exist in the modern sense. He might have been writing in order to both recommend and justify a government in a form other than The Divine Right of Kings or brute force, but there was no sense in which he wrote to prevent, say, the Soviet Union coming into existence.


It did too; the collectivists were the Tories who favored a single sovereign, whereas the individualists were the Whigs who believed in multiple sovereigns either with Parliament being the sovereigns or with sovereignty resting in the people.

This is reading a modern theme into history, they weren't collectivists or individualists in the sense that you or I would intend to mean it. You just have to look at what each did when in power to see that they were very much products of their age. Now, they might have been relatively individualist or collectivist, but to claim that they're synonymous with our mores and standards is erroneous.

The Tory and Whig Party was formed out of the English civil war between the crown and Parliament, which resulted in the British Isles becoming a Commonwealth (after the King's head rolled).
The Parliamentarians in the English civil war was split between people in favor popular sovereignty, and people in favor of parliamentary sovereignty.

The two treaties of Government were inspired by the glorious revolution, in which the Whigs overthrew the king.


That's not quite accurate, it was written, it's thought, to justify the insurrection during the Exclusion Crisis. Although, I appreciate that that could be seen as a sort of continuum of anti-James II feeling.

When the Acts of Union 1707 was passed Scotland agreed to a Hanoverian succession. After the Acts of Union the Whigs in favor of popular sovereignty formed a coalition with the Jacobite Tories called the Country/Patriot Party. The Whigs in favor of Parliamentary sovereignty formed a coalition with Hanoverian Tories called the Court Party.

The Patriot Party was individualist and the Country Party was Collectivist.

Again, this is reading the modern conceptual dynamic into the past. It might be relatively true, but it's not literally the same as now.

The Patriot Party and the Court Whigs in the colonies were in favor of the revolution, while the Court Tories were against the revolution.


You have to remember that he was a man of the world, not just of ideas, and that he wrote the Two Treatise, in part, as an attempt to legitimate an English power struggle.

Which was individualist vs collectivist related.

Sort of. In the same way that any political document can be argued to be. He was searching for a basis for government other than the monarchy or brute force.

Note: I have nothing against Locke, I just don't think he should be treated as a post-WW2 20th century academic.

I would be interested in knowing what you deem individualist and collectivist.
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle
Stephen_Hawkins
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8/28/2012 1:33:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/28/2012 12:01:03 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/28/2012 10:47:53 AM, TheHitchslap wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:08:39 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM, YYW wrote:
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.

"Social contract implies consenting." ~ Lordknuckle

It does nothing of the short.

Yes it does, in fact have you ever read the social contract? He even speaks about it in numerous chapters, it's called the GENERAL WILL!

"The social contract" is not the original social contract theory.

Firstly, this is the original social contract theory. The first person to posit some idea of evolution comes from the Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles, but we say the origin is Darwin because that is the first properly full compilation of the theory. Similarly, Locke, as I said (though this post was not addressed at me), claimed the social contract (though slightly more explicitly than Empedocles with the example of evolution) first, but Rousseau really thoroughly went through all the finer details of it. And the social contract itself is quite vague in its conclusions; after all, Hobbes used it to prove the necessity of a totalitarian state (though whether he succeeded is dubious).

Lk said:
"Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void — is, in fact, not a law." ~ the social contract by Rousseau

Rousseau was a Democrat, not a Republican. He was an individualist when it came to sovereignty over the state, but he was a left wing individualist.

I call Bullsh!t. Calling Rousseau Democrat is like calling Obama FDP or Sarkozy a tory. I'm sorry, but I'm not letting people toss on labels to people to make it similar to modern politics, because the difference between Rousseau and the Democrats are so massive that it is not even intelligible to compare them.

Further, Rousseau was left wing? The closest political affiliations are either Christian Democrat or Conservative.

When it came to the policies of the state he may have been a collectivist, but in regards to sovereignty over the state he was an individualist.

Now, I'm afraid you lost me. An individualist regarding state's sovereignty? I would wager him being an atomist, but saying all atomists are collectivists is a massive push.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
DanT
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8/28/2012 2:48:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/28/2012 1:33:51 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 8/28/2012 12:01:03 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/28/2012 10:47:53 AM, TheHitchslap wrote:
At 8/27/2012 6:08:39 PM, DanT wrote:
At 8/27/2012 5:07:12 PM, YYW wrote:
A most interesting thread.

This:

I find it perplexing that the social contract theory has evolved into a collectivist doctrine, or at the very least a justification for collectivism. The social contract theory arose as an argument against collectivism, in favor of individualism.

I find perplexing, insomuch as while I grant the possibility of that occurring, I'd love to hear of the examples you thought of, and specifically those examples which impelled you to make this most interesting thread.

"Social contract implies consenting." ~ Lordknuckle

It does nothing of the short.

Yes it does, in fact have you ever read the social contract? He even speaks about it in numerous chapters, it's called the GENERAL WILL!

"The social contract" is not the original social contract theory.

Firstly, this is the original social contract theory. The first person to posit some idea of evolution comes from the Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles, but we say the origin is Darwin because that is the first properly full compilation of the theory.
Darwinism is a theory of extinction; the only thing Darwin contributed was an extinction theory. Therefore false analogy.
There were many evolutionists before Darwin, and so we cannot claim the theory of evolution is based on Darwinism, because there were evolutionary theories before Darwin was even born.
If A took place before B, it is illogical to say that B started A.

Similarly, Locke, as I said (though this post was not addressed at me), claimed the social contract (though slightly more explicitly than Empedocles with the example of evolution) first, but Rousseau really thoroughly went through all the finer details of it. And the social contract itself is quite vague in its conclusions; after all, Hobbes used it to prove the necessity of a totalitarian state (though whether he succeeded is dubious).

If I expanded on the communist manifesto, would I have been the inventor of communism? I think not.
Lk said:
"Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void — is, in fact, not a law." ~ the social contract by Rousseau

Rousseau was a Democrat, not a Republican. He was an individualist when it came to sovereignty over the state, but he was a left wing individualist.

I call Bullsh!t. Calling Rousseau Democrat is like calling Obama FDP or Sarkozy a tory. I'm sorry, but I'm not letting people toss on labels to people to make it similar to modern politics, because the difference between Rousseau and the Democrats are so massive that it is not even intelligible to compare them.

I'm not trying to equate him to the American Democratic Party, I'm simply telling you what he is. He is a Democrat, an advocate of a Democratic government. He prefers a Democracy over the other 5 constitutions (Tyrannies, Monarchies, Oligarchies, Aristocracies, and Republics).
Further, Rousseau was left wing? The closest political affiliations are either Christian Democrat or Conservative.

Left wing in regards to sovereignty over the state, in regards to the policy of the state I would have to go down a list of his stances.
By the way, first you say he's not a democrat, than you say he is; make up your mind.
When it came to the policies of the state he may have been a collectivist, but in regards to sovereignty over the state he was an individualist.

Now, I'm afraid you lost me. An individualist regarding state's sovereignty? I would wager him being an atomist, but saying all atomists are collectivists is a massive push.

Sovereignty over the State;
Collectivist = One Sovereign
Individualist = Many Sovereigns

Policy of the State;
Collectivist = Fascist
Individualist = Libertarian
"Chemical weapons are no different than any other types of weapons."~Lordknukle