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Western vision and American values. Western notions of freedom and democracy - Essay Example

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This question requires the discussion of the notion of the Rule of law and how it has developed within and through the Western Notions of freedom and democracy.My discussion explores the position vis a vis the two great democratic nations which have led the world in their quest for human rights …
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Western vision and American values. Western notions of freedom and democracy
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"Western vision and American values. Western notions of freedom and democracy"

Download file to see previous pages This question requires the discussion of the notion of the Rule of law and how it has developed within and through the Western Notions of freedom and democracy. My discussion explores the position vis a vis the two great democratic nations which have led the world in their quest for human rights and whose legal and political systems are deemed to be the envy of the world.It has often been said that the modern American Constitution along with the Declaration of Independence is a result of Lockean Ideals of Liberalism(that is John Locke’s Concepts based on liberty, freedom, instituting government, and the right to alter that government.).However proponents of the heavy influence of British/European ideals (Gary Wills for example) have argued that a much more important role in this regard has been played by Scottish philosophers ,the Dutch and more importantly Britain.(Kavka 1986:45).Thomas G. West (2003:95) has summarized the position with regards to John Locke’s ideals thus by way of stating,According to Sheldon the Declaration of Rights reflects “three dominant ideologies present during the American revolution and the founding of the American republic. These political philosophies were British liberalism…Classical Republicanism…and Christianity,” It can be seen that the Western Ideals of Government and Democracy are directly a result of the way ancient Roman and European philosophers sought to understand the human nature by the concept of the “state of nature.”
"state of nature." (Kavka 1986:87).This theory sought to look at human beings after stripping them of all their societal attributes, in the hope of uncovering their common characteristics.(Jean 1986:46) Through this theory they hoped to discover an effective theory of Government.For Hobbes man is purely motivated by self interest and in his notion of the state of nature all humans are competing with each other .(Jean 1986:58).For Locke of the state of nature reveals the obligations of humans to each other in terms of natural rights to life, liberty and property. In contrast for Rousseau in line with the tradition of the modern natural law there was a need to answer the "challenge of scepticism" and this would require a step by step approach to human nature based on self interest. (Jean 1986:69).For Hobbes men are politically obligated to each other based on their own selfish interests which is their state of nature. The notion of the state of nature assumes that it is each man for himself out there and every man is vulnerable. This he shows is not a desirable "state" to be in at all and therefore there is a need of an invisible assurance of security.For him this state of " perpetual and unavoidable war", will cause anarchy and will not benefit anyone.(Kavka 1986:87).Here he brings in his notions of the social contract which will help this society to restore stability and create a civil society. The first and most important law of nature commands that each man be willing to pursue peace when others are willing to do the same, all the while retaining the right to continue to pursue war when others do not pursue peace. The enforcement of the social contract thus involves the establishment of a society and the imbuement of one or many individuals with a sovereign status in order to "enforce and maintain" this contract. For Rousseau's the idea of the State of Nature takes a historic approach to this idea and mankind's progression into the civil society. He goes back to the historic state of nature for men and terms it as a peaceful time with a simple life for human kind. There was no competition as there was little population and plenty of resources. Armed conflict was barely there and people had little interaction with each other.For him human nature has corrupted into ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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