Rousseau Essay

726 words - 3 pages

In all of the “general will’s” different manifestations, it is what governs and preserves a society. One problem may be that people are simply unable to say what they really desire, or what they ought to desire, despite Rousseau’s distinctions between private and public will. Any group of people in its natural state, before the organization of society, will find itself caught up in disagreements between the general and the private will. No agreement appears to exist between the two in a "state of nature”. However, in the state of social order the private will and general will seem to collide, and I say they even become each other leaving us no worries that our private will is to be ignored.
The formation of the social contract is precisely, and the totality, of what you need in order to have a general will; this leads to a sort of agreement. When one enters this contract they have forgiven the right to disagree with a law that has been passed. I am not denying the existence of disagreement inside the contract; be that as it may, disagreement is merely private will, which carries zero weight in the political society. “When, therefore, an opinion contrary to mine prevails, this proves merely that I was in error, and what I took to be the general will was not so” (pg 82). This essentially rips the power away from any single vote, or opinion, unless it is a vote for the majority. Without agreement between private and public will, there can be no general will. That is to say, it is impossible to have the will of a particular group differ from the will of an entire society; this is because the very instant that the opinion becomes something other than the majority it is rendered null and void. This is why murderers cannot appeal to the nation by stating their will. In forming a society Rousseau states, “the total alienation of each associate, together with all of his rights, to the entire community” (pg 24), the keyword being ‘entire’. This alienation is nothing more than the ritual ignorance of your...

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