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Rousseau, Marx and the Critique of Classical Liberalism - Essay Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction There are many theories advanced by various philosophers and political theorists regarding freedom and equality and governance. The classical liberalists emphasize on moral equality and freedom means non interference of the state on private interests…
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Rousseau, Marx and the Critique of Classical Liberalism
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"Rousseau, Marx and the Critique of Classical Liberalism"

Download file to see previous pages Rousseau on the other hand, emphasizes on democratic political interdependence and economic self-sufficiency whereby all human beings are free and also tries to explain the origin of inequalities and how to resolve them. Just like Rousseau, Marx hates inequalities hence much of his work is criticism of the capitalist state and goes beyond political democracy to emancipation of the human race. The paper will discuss Rousseau and Marx approaches to critique of classical liberalism. Classical liberalism puts emphasis on securing the freedom of individual by limiting the power of the state and this freedom is referred as liberty. In this case, ownership of private property is encouraged and protected by the law and exchange of the property with a willing buyer is voluntary. It also advocates for the need to separate the church from the state hence freedom of religion and also free trade. This is in the belief that people have inalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and the role of the state is to safeguard these rights (Fremont-Barnes, 225). It is also based on the idea that people aim at maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain and that people engage in labor voluntarily to get a reward or due to fear of hunger. Much emphasis is placed on the individual since the society is a sum of individual members thus discourages formation of unions or group associations (Epstein, 1-12). Contrary to classical liberalism which emphasizes negative freedom whereby others should refrain from interfering with other’s rights, Rousseau views freedom as positive whereby individuals are enabled to realize higher goods. On the discourse on the origin and basis of inequality (1755), Rousseau acknowledges the existence of primitive societies who lived under the natural state and directed to act by their passions and desire. Under the natural state, all men are equal and inequality is brought about by men through civilization (Rousseau 1987, 26). Each society member has a task to perform and no one is forced to share tasks with others and the sovereign and the people have same interests. Contrary to classical liberalism, under this democratic government no one is above the law and if a government proves not fit for the society, the society has the right to overthrow it and form a new government. Such was the case with the French revolution which led to overthrow of the monarch. The government envisioned by Rousseau is a direct and not representative democracy where the people are sovereign with a general will and legislative power with the government being distinct from the sovereign (Rousseau 2008, 25). The government neither engages in conquest of its neighbors since it is self-sufficient nor expects to be conquered but instead it expects the neighbors to be of assistance in time of need hence political interdependence (Rousseau 1987, 27). On his second discourse, Rousseau points out two types of inequalities; natural inequality such as age, health and bodily strength; Moral or political inequality which is consented by men such as being more powerful, richer and more honored. He argues that the development of inequalities was as a result of evolution from natural to moral inequality. The formation of language was important in the evolution as it enabled the ideas to be spread widely otherwise in the state of nature, any ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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