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Rousseau vs. Burke
Transcript of Rousseau vs. Burke
‘Rousseau’s central aim is to explain the sources and limits of legitimate authority’ (Warburton, 2006) Criticisms of Rousseau Points to consider The state, society and social contract Rights of man Criticisms Religion Change & Revolution Sociological Observations Human Rights International Relations Modern Politics Modern Conservatism Modern Politics Capitalism Christian religion: “one great source of civilisation amongst us, and…we are apprehensive…that some uncouth pernicious, and degrading superstition, might take place of it.” p.188 Amour propre Respect Consumerism Other people have been taken too seriously, oneself not enough.
Sennett: 90-1 Each one began to consider the rest, and to wish to be considered in turn; and thus a value came to be attached to public esteem. Whoever sang or danced best, whoever was handsomest, the strongest...came to be of most consideration; and this was the first step towards inequality.
DI 90, OC III:169 The impulse of mere appetite is slavery..
Rousseau, Book I, Chapter VIII, p.23 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2 I say then that sovereignty, being nothing but the exercise of the general will, can never be alienated.
Rousseau, Book II, Chapter I, p.27
For the same reason that sovereignty is inalienable it is indivisible; for the will is either general or it is not.
Ibid, p.28 The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.
The North Atlantic Treaty, Article 5 Political legitimacy 'The people, being subject to the law, ought to be their author.'
Rousseau, SC II, Chapter 6, p.212 Return to simplicity It is time to return to core values, time to return back to basics, to self-discipline and to respect for the law, to consideration for the others...
John Major, 'Back to Basics' Campaign, 1993 Opposition parties Long term policy considerations Burkean Conservatism Rousseau and the Enlightenment Appeal to history Distaste for abstraction Importance of existing institutions and traditions “Society is a partnership (...). As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born”. Reflections, p 96 Community not only about individuals, but institutions and traditions. •Jean Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778
•‘The Social Contract’ 1772
•The Enlightenment period begins 1650-1700
•The Enlightenment period ends 1789-1803
‘among the seminal figures of the Enlightenment … French Revolutionary leaders later seized their opportunity to ignite the unity of political practice and theory … to his doctrine above all that they professed allegiance.’ (Wokler, 2001) Rousseau assesses the origin of inequality among men, he presents ‘two conceptions of ‘man’: man in the ‘state of nature’ is contrasted with man in the ‘civil state’.’ (Matravers, 2000)
•State of nature
•Change in man The Social Contract, Book I, Chaper XIII ‘from the state of nature to the civil state produces a very remarkable change in man’‘substituting justice for instinct in his conduct, and giving his actions the morality they had formerly lacked’‘instead of a stupid and unimaginative animal, made him an intelligent being and a man’ ‘from the state of nature to the civil state produces a very remarkable change in man’
‘substituting justice for instinct in his conduct, and giving his actions the morality they had formerly lacked’
‘instead of a stupid and unimaginative animal, made him an intelligent being and a man’
The Social Contract, Book 1, Chapter 8 The 'General Will'
‘he is forced to act on different principles, and to consult his reason before listening to his inclinations’
‘he deprives himself of some advantages which he got from nature, he gains in return others so great’ Rousseau’s three types of government•Democracy•Monarchy•Aristocracy (Natural, Hereditary, Elective) Prescriptive rights: the true rights of man No universal rights Unequal political rights: elitist politics •The sovereign
•The government Rousseau’s three types of government
•Aristocracy (natural, hereditary, elective) •The freedom and oppression paradox
•The true general will
•Factions influencing the common good‘
without a realistic possibility of discovering the common good Rousseau’s entire theory would crumble’ (Warburton, 2006) Slow progress based on process of experimentation Change and modernize in order to preserve and continue. Against transformational change, like the French Revolution. Unequal distribution of private property. At odds with the revolutionary spirit of his time? "Political Quixote" Role of the state: to ensure our real interests are achieved. “You would not cure the evil by resolving that there should be no more monarchs, nor ministers of state, nor of the gospel; no interpreters of law; no general officers; no public councils...
Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not to the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear. Otherwise you will be wise historically, a fool in practice.”
Burke John Rawls Laissez-faire Similarities Differences Both describe man through morals and principles Man gains from being in the state of society Rousseau: Modern man is better/ Enlightened Burke prefers the days of chivalry and obedience Rousseau : Man thinks for himself Burke: Man is governed/ under hierarchy