Political Philosophy by Rousseau - Essay Example

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Law - An abstract expression of the general will that is universally applicable. Laws deal only with the people collectively, and cannot deal with any particulars. They are essentially a record of what the people collectively desire. …
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Political Philosophy by Rousseau
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Download file to see previous pages He is free only if he can express his interest and individuality. He said, “Each man in giving himself to all, gives himself to nobody” (192). He was placing the individual in a responsible and responsive society that can create, run a government and participate in it. Collective decisions are the core of democracy, equality, liberty, fraternity. “As an ideal, the general will is, for Rousseau, a genuine universal….It is the unity through which the addictive collection of wills gets its meaning,” Dyke (1969, p.23). Rousseau argues in favour of general will at every step. “The general will is the will of all when we are not thinking about our own selfish interests but about the general interest” Roberts (1997). .


According to him if the laws of the land are good, it will reflect in the goodness of citizens and hence, the law is the root cause of good and bad both and so is highly significant. Especially the political, fundamental laws have to be wise and they connect the sovereign to people, one citizen to another, and connect the law to citizens. They also form the constitution of the state, which can wield power in every day life of the citizen. It is in the interest of all, it will affect all and rules all, and hence, participation of all is necessary.
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It is in the interest of all, it will affect all and rules all, and hence, participation of all is necessary.
"Rousseau's theory has often been decried as too abstract and metaphysical. This is in many ways its great strength; but where it is excessively so, the accident of time is to blame" http://www.4literature.net/Jean_Jacques_Rousseau/The_Social_Contract/
He never talks of an individual without talking of collectivity. "The most basic convent, the social pact, is the agreement to come together and form a people, a collectivity"2.is "the real foundation of society," (p.59) and such general will must be "forced to be free" (64). His democracy is the most direct, extremely strong kind and it depended on the general will coming together frequently to make rules for themselves. They should identify each other and the common interests. We should remember that the states were smaller in those days. He did not want the common man to loosen his grip over the authority. "The constant will of all the members of the state is the general will; by virtue of it, they are citizens and free." He also says that liberty is impossible if the general will in majority ceases. "To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man, to surrender the rights of humanity and even it duties," he says on slavery and hence, making of law is the duty and right of the individual. "This general will is supposed to represent the common good or public interest - and it is something that each individual has a hand in making. All citizens should participate - and should be committed to the general good - even if it means acting against their private or personal interests." http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-rous.htm
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