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context for the social contract

Lordknukle
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4/4/2013 11:42:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
For all those lefties who claim that the social contract is the very basis of modern political thought and duty and haven't actually read the (mostly) founder of this contract, Rousseau, here's some context:

"This shows that equality of rights, and the idea of justice
arising from it, originate in the preference each man gives to
himself, and accordingly in human nature. It shows that
the general will, to be really general, must be general in its object as well as its essence; i.e. must come from all and apply to all; and that when it is directed to some particular and determinate object it loses its natural rightness, because in such a
case we"the joint owners of the general will"are judging
of something foreign to us, so that we don"t have any genuine standards to guide us.
Indeed, as soon as a question of particular fact or right
arises in some context that hasn"t already been regulated
by a general agreement, the matter becomes contentious.
It is a case""like a trial in a court of law""where the
individuals concerned are on one side and the public are
on the other; but I can"t see what law should be followed or
what judge should decide. Couldn"t we ask the general will
for an explicit decision on this matter? That is an absurd
proposal: the deliverance of the general will can only be the
conclusion of one of the sides and will therefore be seen by
the other as merely an external and particular will that is
subject to error and has on this occasion fallen into injustice.
Thus, just as a particular will can"t represent the general
will, the general will. . . ."just because it is general"can"t
pronounce on a particular man or fact.
"

In other words, the general will is only the common interest between ALL of the citizens of a sovereign. The general will, or the sovereignty of the sovereign, has no authority on dictating matters that are not universal. If we apply this logic further, we can conclude that ANY democratic process which represents a "particular will" cannot be the decision of the entire sovereignty, and thus it cannot be placed into law, since law is represented by the sovereignty. As a result, the social contract deems the illegitimacy of any contested laws.

Also, just another treat:

"This shows that the sovereign power"utterly absolute, sacred and inviolable as it is"doesn"t and can"t cross the boundaries set by general agreements, and that every man can do what he likes with any goods and liberty that these agreements leave him; so that it is never right for the sovereign to burden one subject more heavily than another, because that involves a particular decision and therefore isn"t within the range of the sovereign"s legitimate activity."

Striking contradictions to left wing economics.
"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."
YYW
Posts: 36,282
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4/4/2013 11:44:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 11:42:50 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
For all those lefties who claim that the social contract is the very basis of modern political thought and duty and haven't actually read the (mostly) founder of this contract, Rousseau, here's some context:

"This shows that equality of rights, and the idea of justice
arising from it, originate in the preference each man gives to
himself, and accordingly in human nature. It shows that
the general will, to be really general, must be general in its object as well as its essence; i.e. must come from all and apply to all; and that when it is directed to some particular and determinate object it loses its natural rightness, because in such a
case we"the joint owners of the general will"are judging
of something foreign to us, so that we don"t have any genuine standards to guide us.
Indeed, as soon as a question of particular fact or right
arises in some context that hasn"t already been regulated
by a general agreement, the matter becomes contentious.
It is a case""like a trial in a court of law""where the
individuals concerned are on one side and the public are
on the other; but I can"t see what law should be followed or
what judge should decide. Couldn"t we ask the general will
for an explicit decision on this matter? That is an absurd
proposal: the deliverance of the general will can only be the
conclusion of one of the sides and will therefore be seen by
the other as merely an external and particular will that is
subject to error and has on this occasion fallen into injustice.
Thus, just as a particular will can"t represent the general
will, the general will. . . ."just because it is general"can"t
pronounce on a particular man or fact.
"

In other words, the general will is only the common interest between ALL of the citizens of a sovereign. The general will, or the sovereignty of the sovereign, has no authority on dictating matters that are not universal. If we apply this logic further, we can conclude that ANY democratic process which represents a "particular will" cannot be the decision of the entire sovereignty, and thus it cannot be placed into law, since law is represented by the sovereignty. As a result, the social contract deems the illegitimacy of any contested laws.

Also, just another treat:

"This shows that the sovereign power"utterly absolute, sacred and inviolable as it is"doesn"t and can"t cross the boundaries set by general agreements, and that every man can do what he likes with any goods and liberty that these agreements leave him; so that it is never right for the sovereign to burden one subject more heavily than another, because that involves a particular decision and therefore isn"t within the range of the sovereign"s legitimate activity."

Striking contradictions to left wing economics.

Read Rawls.
Tsar of DDO
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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4/4/2013 11:47:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/4/2013 11:44:04 PM, YYW wrote:
At 4/4/2013 11:42:50 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
For all those lefties who claim that the social contract is the very basis of modern political thought and duty and haven't actually read the (mostly) founder of this contract, Rousseau, here's some context:

"This shows that equality of rights, and the idea of justice
arising from it, originate in the preference each man gives to
himself, and accordingly in human nature. It shows that
the general will, to be really general, must be general in its object as well as its essence; i.e. must come from all and apply to all; and that when it is directed to some particular and determinate object it loses its natural rightness, because in such a
case we"the joint owners of the general will"are judging
of something foreign to us, so that we don"t have any genuine standards to guide us.
Indeed, as soon as a question of particular fact or right
arises in some context that hasn"t already been regulated
by a general agreement, the matter becomes contentious.
It is a case""like a trial in a court of law""where the
individuals concerned are on one side and the public are
on the other; but I can"t see what law should be followed or
what judge should decide. Couldn"t we ask the general will
for an explicit decision on this matter? That is an absurd
proposal: the deliverance of the general will can only be the
conclusion of one of the sides and will therefore be seen by
the other as merely an external and particular will that is
subject to error and has on this occasion fallen into injustice.
Thus, just as a particular will can"t represent the general
will, the general will. . . ."just because it is general"can"t
pronounce on a particular man or fact.
"

In other words, the general will is only the common interest between ALL of the citizens of a sovereign. The general will, or the sovereignty of the sovereign, has no authority on dictating matters that are not universal. If we apply this logic further, we can conclude that ANY democratic process which represents a "particular will" cannot be the decision of the entire sovereignty, and thus it cannot be placed into law, since law is represented by the sovereignty. As a result, the social contract deems the illegitimacy of any contested laws.

Also, just another treat:

"This shows that the sovereign power"utterly absolute, sacred and inviolable as it is"doesn"t and can"t cross the boundaries set by general agreements, and that every man can do what he likes with any goods and liberty that these agreements leave him; so that it is never right for the sovereign to burden one subject more heavily than another, because that involves a particular decision and therefore isn"t within the range of the sovereign"s legitimate activity."

Striking contradictions to left wing economics.

Read Rawls.

In the context of the modern and historical political paradigm, I would contend that Rousseau was much more influential.
"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."