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#1 2002-04-24 10:53:16

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

This thread is created with the hope that we might discuss the relevance of the theories presented by Rosseu in "The Social Contract" when considering the best form and means to create a "Martian Government".

While different forms of government will be presented, the focus should be on which, and how, these different governments succeed (or fail) in relation to the ideas expressed by Rosseu.

All interested parties are welcomed.

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#2 2002-04-24 13:23:58

clark
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Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Rosseau holds that politcal unity, or the social contract, arises from individuals movement from the State of Nature, to a Civil State, which is charcterized by the acceptance of the idea and respect of individual personal property. This is not to imply that everyone must have individual property, or that individuals should have property, and not government, or vice versa- it is to establish that the fundamental idea of "property" must exsist, otherwise, movement from the state of nature can never occur.

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#3 2002-04-30 16:10:25

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

You mean possession?

What do you mean by ?property?? A ?right? to something that you do not possess? A right that only exists in the minds of those who are willing to agree to it?

I'm not that familiar with Rosseau's writing, so feel free to educate me. smile


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#4 2002-05-01 08:18:13

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Well, Rosseau argues that prior to man entering into Civil Society, he is in a State of Nature- which means that all that he needs, is his, all that he uses, he posses- in the state of nature, as I understand it, Man has a right to everything, but owns nothing, as such, he can claim anything he wants, but he can never posess it truly. The transistion from the State of Nature is when Man can actually POSESSS items- that is, we each, as individuals, recognize each others right to posess "things"- however, the trade off is that we no longer have a right to everything- we limit our freedoms to gain more freedoms- I can't have everything, but I can have some things, completely- does this make sense?

This lays the foundation for a social compact- an agreement- which all society is- an agreement between indivduals. As such, when we enter into society, we agree to respect the Will of All, which is the force which protects and ensures the social compact- I recognize your right to own your house, you do the same for me- however, if the General Will decides that "I" need to move out of my house, the General Will can then superceed my individual right to my property.

Understanding this basic concept is crucial to developing a framework for an eventual society. I know using Rosseau is ironic for this endeavour, since he also argues that the People themselves must decide what type of government they want, as to impose something upon them is to court failure.

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#5 2002-05-02 14:00:55

Alexander Sheppard
Member
Registered: 2001-09-23
Posts: 178

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

No, I think the idea of property is totally unnecessary for the creation a society, and is actually a detriment to society, making it more uncivil rather than the other way around. People should be able to distribute resources how they want to, as individuals. If I want to build a house, I can ask some people to help me build it or I can try to do it all by myself. But there should be no central authority saying "You have a right to this, and you to this, etc". Then liberty is decreased. Your liberty is not increased by having such an arrangement in any concievable way. So, people should be able to distribute property as individuals, not as automatons of the state, acting as it tells them to.

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#6 2002-05-03 06:17:11

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

This is explained in Roseau, however, I will try to explain:

No, I think the idea of property is totally unnecessary for the creation a society,

Then WHY would society ever form? The idea of property is integral becuase it acts as the "reason" for their to BE a society in the first place. The need for society, or others, is neccessitated when our ability to overcome an obstacle is less than is needed- it then becomes imperative that we have additional force, in the form of other people, to overcome the obstacle.

Prior to a civil state, Man exsists in the State of Nature, which states that all he needs, is his, but he can posses nothing- he enforces this right through his force alone- ie, anarchy- your rights are only guareented by your own available force.

and is actually a detriment to society, making it more uncivil rather than the other way around.

On the contrary, it establishes a rule of law and provides the means for resolution of conflicts without the use of force. The idea of property allows for agreements and definitions to be created which allow for boundaries (for rights)- By entering into Civil Society, we give up the right to Everything, for the right to HAVE all that we posess. Civil Society allows us to recognize personal property, which means that in order for private individuals to TRADE property, their must be a society that recognizes property. As such,  personal property is only guareented by society- your individual right to own your "property" is established and maintained by your agreement with the rest of society- it is only fair, that the guareetor of all that you posess should have some level of control over your personal property, since you would not even have the luxary of considering its use without the society upon which you depend for security.

People should be able to distribute resources how they want to, as individuals.

I agree, however, they may not do so if it infringes upon my rights, or the General Will. If your actions pose a threat to others within the society, or society itself, Society has every, no duty, to prevent your illegal actions. The general will be definition is always allowed to defend itslef.

If I want to build a house, I can ask some people to help me build it or I can try to do it all by myself.

True, but then you are enteringinto an agreement with those individuals- that does not release you from the agreement with the rest of Society- the land upon which you build your house is part of Society, and ultimetly it should only be used for the Society's interests- and you being a memeber of the Society, it would then be used in it's interest..

But there should be no central authority saying "You have a right to this, and you to this, etc"

A central authority is only the expression of the General Will- what is wrong with having people agree to the rules upon which they all wish to live?

Then liberty is decreased.

NO! Liberty is increased! Liberty is maintained therough the rule of law- the rule of force limits liberty becuase you are only as free as your available force.

Your liberty is not increased by having such an arrangement in any concievable way.

Read the Social Compact. It will open your eyes.

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#7 2002-05-10 18:04:21

Alexander Sheppard
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Registered: 2001-09-23
Posts: 178

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Clark, what do you mean by society?

It seems to me that most of these arguments are rather meaningless, really.

"Liberty is maintained therough the rule of law- the rule of force limits liberty becuase you are only as free as your available force"

I do not think that the only options are either the 'rule of force' or the 'rule of law'. People don't need laws to keep force at bay. In fact, it seems that one is really just a somewhat toned down version of the other.

"what is wrong with having people agree to the rules upon which they all wish to live?"

And dissent?

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#8 2002-05-13 08:15:55

clark
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Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Clark, what do you mean by society?

Society is a group of individuals who choose to freely associate with one another based on shared values, and an agreement on a basic social compact that binds their individuals wills into a larger whole.

I do not think that the only options are either the 'rule of force' or the 'rule of law'. People don't need laws to keep force at bay. In fact, it seems that one is really just a somewhat toned down version of the other.

What other option exsists besides the rule of law or the rule of force? The rule of law is the product of an agreement between individuals that belong to the same society. By beinag a member of a Society, you submit your will to the General Will, in exchange for the security and maintence of your persomal security and liberty. No matter how strong you are, no matter how weak, you are subjected to the same rules equally, just like every other member of Society.
The rule of force however is the maintence of your personal liberty and security through force alone- your liberty is only as safe as the personal security you may provide for it, and nothing more. The rule of force also recognizes that any other may challenge you and overcome you if they are strong enough, and there is NO recourse. The rule of law however states that force alone is not acceptable, it establishes boundaries over what we can and cannot do, which ultimetly ENSURES our rights.

"what is wrong with having people agree to the rules upon which they all wish to live?"
  And dissent?

There is nothing wrong with dissent, however, the General Will is NEVER wrong. The General Will, as described by Rosseau, is incapable of any action save that which is best for Society. However, when the General Will does make a "wrong" decision, it is due to false or misleading information.

Individuals are motivated by their personal interests, as such they will hardly ever support the General Will's interest unless it fits into their perosonal views. Now, there is nothign wrong with this, since individuals ultimetly know what is best for themselves (once they reach a state where they can make their own decisions)- however, not all selfish intrests are best for Society- it behooves some to have slaves, while others it would not benefit from such a relationship. Society does NOT exsist solely to ensure that YOU get whatever you want- Society exsists so that the General Will, which is everbody, is treated fairly and equatibly. How is it in Societies intrest to allow those who do not like certain laws to flout those laws?

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#9 2002-05-14 02:36:37

Josh Cryer
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Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Wow, am I tired or what? sad

Society is a group of individuals who choose to freely associate with one another based on shared values, and an agreement on a basic social compact that binds their individuals wills into a larger whole.

I guess we can agree here, but when you say ?freely associate? you are misleading by implying free association. Some societies are objectively more free than others. So I think it's unfair for you to use this terminology since in many cases this free association you speak of is really quite the opposite.

What other option exsists besides the rule of law or the rule of force?

You cannot go without law, but you can certainly go without irrational authority. Which just so happens to be what most law is.

No matter how strong you are, no matter how weak, you are subjected to the same rules equally, just like every other member of Society.

Some societies have laws and rules that are only applicable to a select few. Often for ideological reasons. To say that men are subjected to the same rules equally as women in a muslim society is laughable at best.

If you're trying to define the perfect society, (as proposed by Rosseau or something) then okay, but you must understand that property law by nature becomes law for a select few.

Society you speak of doesn't exist. And if it did, it wouldn't have property laws. Otherwise you have to:

1) Create a framework where everyone has equal access to property (socialism with a free trade infrastructure).
or
2) Eradicate those without property, as they are not part of Society.

I hope I'm seeing what you're saying wrong. I'm tired, though. Maybe that's it.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#10 2002-05-14 09:58:35

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Thank you John, you are getting there.

Yes, Rosseau discuss's the ideal society, which is as it says, an ideal, not the reality. The reality that you list is actually discussed by Rosseau in the Social Compact. The application of law to a select few is really a sign of th breakdown of social cohesion. What happens is that groups form within the Society- these groups develop Group Interests, and use their power as a group to influence or control the General Will- it is at this point that the General Will is no longer represented- it is a breakdown in the system.

As for why we should discuss this ideal at all, well, I thought the goal of any NEW society was to make it better than the previous- I say we revisit some of the tenets that Rosseau proposes for a just Society.

Maybe a form of government that does not allow for politcal association of Groups- thus NO parties may form- only individuals may assess the issues, as individuals. This would prevent one of the greatest threats to the stability of the General Will.

Some societies are objectively more free than others. So I think it's unfair for you to use this terminology since in many cases this free association you speak of is really quite the opposite.

Almost ALL societies have a means for individuals to no longer associate with that Society if they wish to, however the Society does have the right to regulate the fashion in which this takes place. There is no god-given Right for things to be "easy".

You cannot go without law, but you can certainly go without irrational authority. Which just so happens to be what most law is.

Law by definition is just. If a law is unjust, then it was, is, and never will be a law. It is immpossible to violate an unjust law, becuase by definition, unjust laws have no power and are merely the application of Self intrest, and have no power other than someone talking out their rear.  Rosseau deals with this as well.

Some societies have laws and rules that are only applicable to a select few. Often for ideological reasons. To say that men are subjected to the same rules equally as women
  in a muslim society is laughable at best.

Then those socieites are unstable and will eventualy fall. You must also alliow for others to decide on what is best for their society- some are not ready for the Civil Society, and not all are ready for the same  form of government- the Loya Jurga works for Afghanistan, but not Britain- neither is right or wrong, they are merely the expression of self-determination.

Society you speak of doesn't exist. And if it did, it wouldn't have property laws. Otherwise you have to:

You call ME out for discussing about a Society that dosen't exsist- isn't that what we ALL are doing by discussing a future Mars?

) Eradicate those without property, as they are not part of Society.

Unnneccessary. The basic Right ov every Person is that they have the right to all that they need to exsist. This is how we derive the right to self defense- why it is NOT wrong to steal food if you are starving and no alternative to stealing exsists. As long as there is opportunity, then we're fine.

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#11 2002-05-14 14:00:20

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Previously, Josh wrote:

You mean possession?
What do you mean by ?property?? A ?right? to something that you do not possess? A right that only exists in the minds of those who are willing to agree to it?

Josh makes an essential point about "property" - it can only "exist" in the minds of human beings. In one sense, property is a shared mass delusion whereby groups of people agree that these 40 acres are mine and those 40 acres are yours.

As of today, people have yet to establish a consensus or otherwise agree upon which delusions will apply to celestial objects such as the asteroids and Mars - therefore property rights in space objects do not yet exist.

A less loaded word for delusion is "virtual"  -  property is created when virtual characteristics such as ownership or title are attached to physical objects.

Naturally, various human groups have a vested interest in assuring that their version of the mass delusion becomes the version most accepted by all humanity. "This land is mine!" is the claim of both Likud and Hamas which leads to war, a war having the goal of forcing others to accept one particular idea of the virtual or delusional characteristics of Palestine.

Also, if a group of people were to come to my city and claim that my ownership of my house is merely a delusion they intend to disregard, I know a great many people who will band together with me to fight those intruders.

De Soto carries the analysis a step further. "Capital" (as in capitalism) requires that we attach still more virtual characteristics to property. Once a thing becomes property it can be bought and sold and once property becomes capital it can be invested and made to do financial work, yet all of this is done entirely in the minds of the members of society. Not all property is capital. Only property that is placed in productive financial work is capital.

Can a society exist without property? Rousseau wrote that society begins when someone says "this is mine" and others believe him.

This is an academic question at best as I know of NO human societies which have ever existed without property. Marx does not abolish property, or capital, but rather places title to all capital in the hands of the State. Also, everyone has the idea of property in his/her head. Property cannot be abolished unless the idea of property is erased from everyone's minds.

As a practical matter, the delusion of property and the delusion of capital arose and survives because those human groups which adopt such delusions out compete those that do not. If a society is formed (on Mars, perhaps?) that does not recognize property, that society will only survive at the indulgence and forebearance of the rest of capitalist humanity.

(I recognize that this is the heart of the globalization debate. I agree that the capitalist societies have often oppressed weaker nations. I do NOT agree that the historic success of capitalism arose from or depends upon such repression. Therefore, the solution is not to abolish capitalism but to allow all people a place at the capitalists' table - again following the thinking of Hernando de Soto.)

I have great sympathy for those who feel that the idea of property has caused much suffering and injustice. It has. However, we can no more abolish property than we can return into Eden and un-bite the proverbial apple. Therefore, we are charged to establish property laws which best advance the interests of all humanity.

This is the first political question for any permanent Mars settlement.

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#12 2002-05-14 14:09:48

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Yes, Rosseau discuss's the ideal society, which is as it says, an ideal, not the reality.

Okay then, now I understand where you are coming from. I was under the impression that you were talking about current society.

Maybe a form of government that does not allow for politcal association of Groups- thus NO parties may form- only individuals may assess the issues, as individuals.

This sounds like direct democracy. Almost anarchy, to me. What kind of government are you talking about?

[...] however the Society does have the right to regulate the fashion in which [disassociation] takes place.

I guess you could say that Society can execute dissentors, but this Society sounds like a dictatorship to me. People, being able to think freely, aren't going to put up with a dictatorship. So I don't see why this is inherent to Society, if anything is inherent to Society, freedom is. If a Society is not free, it cannot survive very long. The sustainablity of irrational authority is quite short term.

There is no god- given Right for things to be "easy".

No one said there was. But, if you believe in god, I think it's fair to say that we have a god-given right to think for ourselves. Given that, I don't see why we wouldn't want things to be as easy as possible.

Law by definition is just. If a law is unjust, then it was, is, and never will be a law.

Just laws are unnecessary. As they say, ?Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the law.? I feel that all you need to do is eradicate unjust law (laws for some / irrational authority) and just laws will automatically exist in a natural state.

the Loya Jurga works for Afghanistan, but not Britain- neither is right or wrong, they are merely the expression of self-determination.

When a society has free thinkers who want to overthrow irrational authority within that society, I would say that the way that society is functioning is wrong. And I would say that that society lacks long term sustainablity.

You call ME out for discussing about a Society that dosen't exsist- isn't that what we ALL are doing by discussing a future Mars?

No, I'm sorry. I was just saying that to propose solutions to the contridiction in what you were saying. I thought you were applying those ideas to current society. What you said I can agree with 100%; Society, must, by definition have rules that all are subjected to equally for it to work.

Any inequality, will, in a free thinking society, be overthrown.

The basic Right ov every Person is that they have the right to all that they need to exsist.

I must read this Rosseau, heh.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#13 2002-05-14 14:18:42

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Bill White smile

I guess we were posting at the same time.

Read this little story. smile

The ?Monkey Master? fable

In the feudal state of Chu an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his service. The people of Chu called him ?ju gong? (monkey master).

Each morning, the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard, and order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains to gather fruits from bushes and trees. It was the rule that each monkey had to give one tenth of his collection to the old man. Those who failed to do so would be ruthlessly flogged. All the monkeys suffered bitterly, but dared not complain.

One day, a small monkey asked the other monkeys: ?Did the old man plant all the fruit trees and bushes?? The others said: ?No, they grew naturally.? The small monkey further asked: ?Can't we take the fruits without the old man's permission?? The others replied: ?Yes, we all can.? The small monkey continued: ?Then, why should we depend on the old man; why must we all serve him??

Before the small monkey was able to finish his statement, all the monkeys suddenly became enlightened and awakened.

On the same night, watching that the old man had fallen asleep, the monkeys tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they were confined, and destroyed the stockade entirely. They also took the fruits the old man had in storage, brought all with them to the woods, and never returned. The old man finally died of starvation.

Yu-li-zi says, ?Some men in the world rule their people by tricks and not by righteous principles. Aren't they just like the monkey master? They are not aware of their muddleheadedness. As soon as their people become enlightened, their tricks no longer work.?


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#14 2002-05-14 14:41:10

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

The ending of the Fable:

Once the monkies had fled to the mountains, each was hunted down by the villiagers of Chu. They were then killed and eaten in a great celebration to mark the New Year. Those monkies who were not caught, died of malnutruion during the droughts, and froze during the harsh winter months when no shelter was available. You see, the Monkey master provided the monkies with security from those who wished to devour them. He also provided them with medicine when they were ill, shelter when they were cold, and of course food, when there was little for them.

Yu-li-zi says, ?Some men in the world rule their people by tricks and not by righteous principles. Aren't they just like the monkey master? They are not aware of their muddleheadedness. As soon as their people become enlightened, their tricks no longer work.?

Some men in the world live like monkies, never looking beyond their own personal self-interest. They are not aware of thier muddleheadness.

Do you want to be a monkey?

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#15 2002-05-14 14:59:10

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Hahah! clark tongue

Once the monkies had fled to the mountains, each was hunted down by the villiagers of Chu.

Hah... they risked being eaten every time they got food for the man, so I don't see how this matters.

You see, the Monkey master provided the monkies with security from those who wished to devour them.

Fair enough. But this security was only temporary, and who is to say he didn't eat the monkeys himself? He did cage, them, after all. This security came at a huge price. First, the monkeys gave away their freedom for it, and the monkeys had to endure pain. Such security, in my mind, isn't worth it.

Is security without liberty worth it?

I think the moral of the story is that they didn't depend on him for anything. And the things they did depend on him for were totally illusionary.

Some men in the world live like monkies, never looking beyond their own personal self-interest. They are not aware of thier muddleheadness.

It was in the monkeys self-interest to work together. As it is in all mens interests. The monkey master wasn't working together with the monkeys (did he go out in the woods with them and protect them from hunters? did he allow them to live in house with him and not in cages?), he was controlling them to his means. The monkeys knew the extent of their self-interest. This is why they weren't muddleheaded.

Do you want to be a monkey?

I don't want to be a monkey master, nor a monkey slave. tongue


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#16 2002-05-14 14:59:35

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

This sounds like direct democracy. Almost anarchy, to me. What kind of government are you talking about?

The type of government is largely irrelevant, since all governments are merely the expression of the General Will- some groups work better with a democracy, others with a Republic- the type of government is largey dependant on the group that will form it. What i am considering are the basic "principals" upon which any enduring Society should adhere to.

I guess you could say that Society can execute dissentors, but this Society sounds like a dictatorship to me.

On the face of this statement, I would agree- however, if Society (ie The General Will) dictates that disenters of a certain type should be executed for the welfare of the State, then that is Just. Should all dissenters be executed, NO, of course not- that works contrary to the welfare of the State- But let me provide you an example that puts this issue into perspective: Treason. One can make an argument that an act of Treason is merely one individual (or group) dissenting from the rest of Society- however, as a member of the Society, upon whom you draw your life and sustenance, you have violated the compact that exsists between you and others within your group. You have dissented from the General Will, The Group, Society (any way you want to put it) that endangers the welfare of Society- it is just to execute you since you pose a threat to Socities Welfare. Dissent, like everything else, can be REGULATED by Society.

People, being able to think freely, aren't going to put up with a  dictatorship.

Sounds like a bet, and a bet you will lose. People, thinking freely, constantly submit to one form of dictatorship to another- how much freedom do you have in your job? How much freedom do you have in the apartment you rent from your landlord? What f the millions of free thinking individuals that currently live under dictatorships in their home countries? People will not put up with a dictatorship if it does not represent the General Will.

If a Society is not free, it cannot survive very long.

Human history suggests otherwise- of course maybe you should define "very long". American History has several hundred years of slavery- prior to that, most civilizations practiced slavery of one form or another, it still continues to this day- centuries of slavery... isn't that "very long"?

But, if you believe in god, I think it's fair to say that we have a god-given right to think for ourselves. Given that, I don't see why we wouldn't want   things to be as easy as possible.

Really? Why would we want everything to be easy? Is it in our best interest to have passage of Constutional Ammendments as "easy as possible"?

Just laws are unnecessary. As they say, ?Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the law.

Rosseau would agree with you, however, this is a side issue- the point is that UN-Just laws are not laws, but decree's, and we as free-thinking individuals have no reason to follow them. Rosseau explains this principle better than I.

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#17 2002-05-14 15:32:58

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

On the same night, watching that the old man had fallen asleep, the monkeys tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they were confined, and destroyed the stockade entirely. They also took the fruits the old man had in storage, brought all with them to the woods, and never returned. The old man finally died of starvation.

Exactly! This is what happened when the European merchants and traders of the 1500s - 1600s - 1700s overthrew the feudal princes and ended the so-called divine right of kings.

The legal protection of private property was the mechanism that fueled the great burst of human liberty beginning in the late 1700s.

Some day, millenia from now, people may voluntarily and unanimously choose to own everything in common, but unless/until human nature experiences a significant improvement, private property will remain as the greatest safeguard of human liberty.

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#18 2002-05-14 16:25:13

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Dissent, like everything else, can be REGULATED by Society.

Dissent is the best thing to happen to a free thinking Society. People have emotion. When people see black people getting hosed down by racist segregators, there is a potential for the Society to change. When it's seen that women are not getting equal treatment in the voting booth, dissent can change that. Dissent, if anything, is what changes society.

I don't think dissent would exist in your Society, though. If I'm understanding it properly.

People, thinking freely, constantly submit to one form of dictatorship to another- how much freedom do you have in your job? How much freedom do you have in the apartment you rent from your landlord?

I guess I can agree with that. But but I think there is always potential to see and overthrow irrational authority. It's not hard for a free thinker to feel robbed (if they are being robbed) in their Society. Unions are a great example of this.

People will not put up with a dictatorship if it does not represent the General Will.

We agree on this too. And a ditactorship wouldn't be able to exist because the General Will is based on just law and rule. (Rational authority.)

centuries of slavery... isn't that "very long"?

I admit that there was something weak with my statement, but I feel that the bigger our civilization gets, the less potential there is for slavery and so on. Would you not agree that laws for a select few lack sustainablity? I would say that laws for a select few are the cause for every war or revolution.

I guess it's possible to build a society of mindless worker clones, but still. smile

Really? Why would we want everything to be easy?

Not everything. Just things. Most things. smile

Why wouldn't we want work to be easy? Why wouldn't we want growing food to be easy? Why wouldn't we want, say, travel to be easy? Why wouldn't we want most things to be easy?

I can give you one reason, like I've said before; dependency is profitable. tongue

The point is that UN-Just laws are not laws, but decree's, and we as free-thinking individuals have no reason to follow them

I find it amazing that we are agreeing so much. Maybe I'm just agreeing with Rosseau? smile

We should discuss this over coffee some time. wink

The legal protection of private property was the mechanism that fueled the great burst of human liberty beginning in the late 1700s.

I don't have a problem with property, in a possessive sense. ?Possession is 9/10ths of the law,? and I believe that. The thing I am gripey about is that property law extends beyond what we'd call possession, to what we'd call control. I enjoy calling property laws ?demand restrictions? or ?demand laws? (laws that insure demand exists).

You want to know a good example of property law being defied? Check out the Boston Tea Party.

Some day, millenia from now, people may voluntarily and unanimously choose to own everything in common, but unless/until human nature experiences a significant improvement, private property will remain as the greatest safeguard of human liberty.

I think socialism is going to be the society of the coming future. China, with their acceptance of democracy, is truely showing the potential of such a society. The Democratic party in the US are quite socialistic (they won't admit it; though I can't blame them), and I would say that half of Americans have socialistic ideals.

This is all just my opinion though. smile

BTW, we're not necassarily talking about sharing your cars and houses in common. We're talking about roads, food, electricity, and tools. Things like that. There's a fine line between property and possession, but it's not hard to define with a little thought. We're not talking about ?defying human nature.?


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#19 2002-05-15 10:19:50

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Dissent is the best thing to happen to a free thinking Society.

NO! Dissent is the WORST thing for a society. What is important though is that all individuals can make their voice heard. Dissent from the General Will should NEVER happen, becuase by definition, the General Will can never make a wrong choice, and if that is the case, dissenting from the General Will is CHOOSING the wrong choice. As an individual there is never a time where meeting your own self interest is better than meeting the General Will. Case in point, Defending the Country. The General Will decides to place individuals in harms way in order to protect the General Will of the Society. As an individual, this is ludicrous, since you may be sacrificing your life, or at the very least, putting yourself in harms way- you endanger your self for the welfare of the General Will. You do this to preserve the General Will, which ultimetly preserves you as an individual. An individual may dissent from the General Will by not participating in the Defense of the Country- How would that be in the best interest of a free-thinking Society? Every individuyal that dissents in this fashion weakens the whole. Individuals should be allowed to disagree on what is best, this is the best way to discuss what IS BEST for Society- however, once a decision has been made, no dissent can be allowed unless regulated by the General Will.

I don't think dissent would exist in your Society, though. If I'm understanding it properly.

No, it would not, becuase in an ideal Society there would be no need for dissent, since all Laws would be agreed upon, and only Just Laws would be introduced, there would be no need for dissent from the General Will- maybe you should define who is desenting and from what.

And a ditactorship wouldn't be able to exist because the General Will is based on just law and rule.

Amazingly, you are wrong. A dictatoraship may exsist, since a dictatorship is merely acts as a means to express the General Will. However, a dictatorship is fraught with the danger of the individual self interest that a dictator represents. There are times when the General Will may consider it advantagous to become a dictatorship, look to Socities in crisis, or in war- in such times, they often turn to the effeciency of action that only a dictatorship may provide. As Rosseau points out, the danger with a dictatorship is in allowing the Executor of the General Will become the Legislator of the General Will. Or put another way, that I believe Rosseau would agree with, those who enforce the laws should not be the ones to make the laws- that's why dictatorships don't last very long (or one of the reasons).

I admit that there was something weak with my statement, but I feel that the bigger our civilization gets, the less potential there is for slavery and so on.

There is always the danger of loss of liberty as long as there are two or more people. The greatest defense to a loss of liberty is an in crease in education, the ability to Reason and access to TRUE information to inform our Reason is the cornerstone of Society.

I would say that laws for a select few are the cause for every war or revolution.

Every war?

Why wouldn't we want work to be easy? Why wouldn't we want growing food to be easy? Why wouldn't we want, say, travel to be easy? Why wouldn't we want most things to be easy?

Sure, we want some things to be easy as possible- say like VOTING. However, my point is that we do not neccessarily want EVERYTHING to be easy. In the instance of disassociating from Society, as I was refering to, it is not neccessarily in Socities best interest to make it easy for people to leave Society, by making it easy, we endanger the long term stability of Society since at any  moment people can up and leave, making the whole instution of Society questionable.

I find it amazing that we are agreeing so much. Maybe I'm just agreeing with Rosseau?

You are agreeing with my interpretation of Rosseau, so in a sense, you are agreeing with me. You really should read it for yourself. His arguments are so clear- if a bit complicated.

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#20 2002-05-30 09:04:32

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Hello.  MS member since 6/01.  I've read (and continue to read) material pertaining to Jean Jacques Rousseau; I've read _Introducing Rousseau_ by Totem Books, and have started _The Confessions_.  Added to this, I've read other material pertaining to JJR on both the web and in _Introducing the Enlightenment_, also by Totem Books.

In _The Social Contract_ Rousseau advocates too much Group-Think scenario for my comfort.  He also stated a person in his society who was either an atheist or who acted as though he didn't believe in the social religion should be put to death.  He *did* try to have that specific sentiment rescinded from _TSC_ before it went to print; however, with no success.

And in all fairness, Rousseau did have some good intentions.  However, he was too much of a dreamer, and unrealistic.

I much prefer Voltaire's outlook on things.

--Cindy

P.S.:  I am the owner and moderator of an Enlightenment-era
mailing list.  Write me at ecrasez_l_infame@yahoo.com for more information, if interested.  smile


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#21 2002-05-30 09:18:25

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

P.S.:  I am the owner and moderator of an Enlightenment-era mailing list.  Write me at ecrasez_l_infame@yahoo.com for more information, if interested.

Do you agree that the coming settlement of Mars may give humanity the opportunity to re-argue many of those wonderful political issues that so vexed the Enlightenment philosophers?

And to have those arguments mean something outside a dry academic setting?

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#22 2002-05-30 09:34:47

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Bill wrote:  Do you agree that the coming settlement of Mars may give humanity the opportunity to re-argue many of those wonderful political issues that so vexed the Enlightenment philosophers?

*Hi Bill.  Well, I think Voltaire said it best when, writing in reference to America, he said "only in a new town can real progress commence."

Yes, I'm quite sure (in response to your question).  Obviously there will be settlers from different political backgrounds; for instance, a democratic USA citizen and an English Monarchist may be neighbors.  However, I think it's a "given" that a Mars society will most likely -- at least initially -- will "follow" the political bent of the majority; i.e., if most new settlers on Mars are English Monarchists, chances are good they will, to some degree, hold onto their sentiments.  This is natural; we are all "impressed" by the sociopolitical (and other) environments in which we are raised.  The 2nd and 3rd generation of Marsians would be interesting to watch, particularly as new colonists move in -- with their own sociopolitical backgrounds.

And to have those arguments mean something outside a dry academic setting?

*I'm not sure how to answer your question.  Hopefully they would have meaning outside of dry, stale conversation!  smile

--Cindy

Mars Society member since 6/01


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#23 2002-05-30 10:01:51

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

NO! Dissent is the WORST thing for a society. What is important though is that all individuals can make their voice heard. Dissent from the General Will should NEVER happen, because by definition, the General Will can never make a wrong choice, and if that is the case, dissenting from the General Will is CHOOSING the wrong choice. As an individual there is never a time where meeting your own self interest is better than meeting the General Will.

How does an individual member of society know whether their political leaders are speaking and acting consistent with the General Will or whether those same leaders have cloaked their private agenda in the guise of following the General Will?

What if two powerful factions hold contradictory but utterly sincere opinions on what the General Will calls for in a particular situation? Are they not doomed to open warfare as each would see the other as a false usurper of the General Will?

Does the "General Will" in America favor or oppose abortion rights?

Does God - and the General Will - favor those with the most political clout and/or the strongest army?

IMHO, my ability to truly know the General Will (as well as everyone else's) is rather like my ability to know the "mind of God" - -> the more certain I am that I have grasped the truth of such matters, the more likely such truths have eluded me.

I believe Rousseau does add much to the debate on how to form a just society, but unless he is tempered with a strong dose of George Orwell - - "Animal Farm" comes to mind - - Rousseau's theories can be too easily co-opted by rascals who cloak their private agendas behind a public face of following the "General Will" 

*Worse yet* are those sincere and devoted folk who actually believe they know the General Will and therefore are justified in using extreme violence to assure that their peculiar vision of the General Will is enacted and followed by all of Society.

In theory, obeying the General Will is obviously, and by definition, the right course to follow. How, in practice, can anyone know whether a particular course of action conforms with or violates the General Will?

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#24 2002-05-30 10:02:34

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

Bill wrote:  Do you agree that the coming settlement of Mars may give humanity the opportunity to re-argue many of those wonderful political issues that so vexed the Enlightenment philosophers?

**Addendum to my reply to Bill**

I also feel that the Mars Society is definitely a child of the Enlightenment.  I've often wondered what would be the reactions of Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire to MS, its mission and purpose.  I'm quite certain it would be absolutely glowingly positive; after all, Voltaire was one of the first science fiction writers with "Micromegas."

--Cindy

Mars Society member since 6/01.


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#25 2002-05-30 10:12:27

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: The State - Rosseu's "The State" & How it applies

NO! Dissent is the WORST thing for a society.

*How are you defining the word "dissent"?

What is important though is that all individuals can make their voice heard.

*And if they happen to disagree with one another?

Dissent from the General Will should NEVER happen, becuase by definition, the General Will can never make a wrong choice, and if that is the case, dissenting from the General Will is CHOOSING the wrong choice.

*Is "General Will" synonymous with "the majority rules"?

--Cindy

Mars Society member since 6/01.

To join my Enlightenment-era mailing list, feel free to write me personally!  smile


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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