We The People listeners, you know we have that wonderful debate between Bruce Ackerman and Randy Barnett on that question a few weeks ago. He does, however, make some important and influential adjustments by ameliorating Hobbes’ very reductive vision of human nature and by seeking to deal with what many perceived as the most dangerous feature of Hobbes’ vision of the political state, the excessive power in the hands of the sovereign. His answer is complex, and I have time here (again) to provide only a very rough preliminary sketch of his argument (in The Social Contract). So he has very little to offer by way of a practical program of action to achieve such a political ideal.The best examples of some of the main features of what Rousseau is proposing are offered by certain forms of communal living (the Israeli kibbutz, for example), where a relatively small community governs itself with the equal participation of all and where there is much less emphasis on competitive economic activity to promote the accumulation of personal goods to decorate a private space. If the citizens are educated enough to see the reasonableness of this arrangement (a very important condition), they will come to understand that in following the decisions of the majority of all the citizens (as these decisions emerge from an assembly of all citizens) they will be following the General Will of the state, which will always be right (provided, as mentioned, the citizens have all been educated in the appropriate way). Free resources to assist you with your university studies! Rousseau argues that an arrangement like this would enable people to obey the state without any sense of a loss of freedom, because they would be following what their reason told them was the right thing to do, and self-imposed rules do not register as a loss of freedom. We’re better off having a government we all obey than not–and each of us has a moral duty to do what best supports the better‐ off‐ ness of the world. Such a communitarian arrangement, Rousseau argues, must be extremely careful not to create a complex bureaucracy of government which will inevitably arrogate power to itself and sabotage the legitimacy of the state, which rests on the fact that all its members are equally important in the decision making. Such a view of individual rights is completely foreign to the Old Order, where the individual has no existence outside the state (indeed the state provides the individual his identity, his most fundamental sense of who he is)-whatever rights he enjoys (if he has any at all) are conferred by the state or by communal traditions, not by his existence as an independent human being-and he certainly has no authority to challenge the state in the name of certain rights he enjoys just because he’s a human being. Start a New Debate. We should obey the state, Hobbes argues, not because it’s established by God (it clearly is not), but because it serves our self-interest to do so. What Machiavelli recommends, above all, is an intelligent practical sense of what particular actions will work best in a given situation to make the ruler’s power more secure, combined with a ruthless willingness to undertake such action (such a quality Machiavelli calls virtu-hence the old saying about him, “There is no virtue in virtu”) . If utilitarianism (or some other form of consequentialism) is right and if obeying the law leads to good consequences, then it necessarily follows that we’re morally bound to obey the law. What should the Christian’s relationship be toward government? Libertarianism.org presents introductory material as well as new scholarship related to libertarian philosophy, theory, and history. Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a university student. As was the case with the other theories, natural duty can take more than one form. Hobbes begins by picturing what human beings are like without political organizations-in what he calls a state of nature. Because in the Hobbesian state our only duty is to obey the law, we have freedom to do whatever the law does not forbid. The social contract was a disaster because, in setting up society, human beings inevitably introduced inequality-some people ended up with more property or more esteem than others, and this brought about all human unhappiness and oppression, which arise, most importantly, not merely from material differences but also from psychological states. Adolf Hitler, with the pre-Nazi clergy, used their own perverted interpretation of To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below: If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: Our academic writing and marking services can help you! Clearly having just any state doesn’t maximize utility. Right reasons for obeying God are many, including: We should obey God because it's the right thing to do. 1st Jan 1970 Old traditions, inherited customs, traditional religious attitudes, long-standing personal relationships, old systems of rank and privilege-none of these matters unless the sovereign’s law makes them matter. If human life is to be worth anything, Rousseau argues, a person has to have a moral worth as an independent individual capable of making rational decisions about his own life for moral reasons, rather than operating merely as an economic agent whose only duty is to obey the sovereign’s law without question.Rousseau realizes that there’s no going back to a State of Nature, no matter how utopian that existence may have been. But a legalistic view that has proponents is the one that states that there is aprima facie legal obligation to obey the law because the law is the law and it ought to be obeyed except in circumstances where the law permits disobedience. Why does whoever happens to claim power right now get to override my judgment about utility maximization with his own? Of course we should not always obey our leaders. But let me offer a few highlights. Hence, where the law is silent, we acquire the freedom to do what we like, without the restrictions of public opinion or competing religious or community traditions. And finally, the political arrangements should encourage the full moral development of the individual citizen as a self-governing, independent, rational moral being. Hence through obeying the state we guarantee each others right. [T]he study is provocative and raises an issue of real importance. Why We Should Obey the Law. They do say, however, that moral reasons to obey the law should go beyond the reason ‘because the law says so’ or ‘because it is the law’. 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