Does Rousseau’s Du Contrat Social signal the advent of modern democracy? Or does it represent a dangerous recipe for the suppression of individual human freedom?

1895 Words Aug 24th, 2013 8 Pages
Does Rousseau 's _Du Contrat Social_ signal the advent of modern democracy? Or does it represent a dangerous recipe for the suppression of individual human freedom?

Rousseau 's social contract is often likened to modern democracy, however, most political ideologies can be likened to one another in some form and one doesn 't have to dig deep before they find some major differences between the two ideologies. In his writing, Rousseau tries to develop an ideology that maintains humans individual freedom, but in a social way. However his ideology is full of flaws and is missing a key ingredient for implementation into human life. In order to understand these flaws one must explore the features of his ideology. Firstly in order to understand
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He calls the relationship between a master and a slave aggregation whereas he calls the relation between a people and their leader an association. Rousseau emphasises the importance of the difference between these relationships in saying that a master and his slave have no bond of union, whereas a people is already a whole before they come to the unanimous decision of electing their leader to execute their will. (Keens-Soper, 1988, p.176). Rousseau further justifies the freedom of the individual by stating that, each man having given himself to the whole has given himself to no one. (Keens-Soper, 1988, p.178).

While one can see positives to this unity it is impossible to ignore that men remain private individuals with private interests. Rousseau 's solution to this problem is to fashion the members of the group in such a way that they develop and incorruptible identification with their state. This would require a massive level of prevention in the form of not allowing anything to come between the citizen and the state. Rousseau realises that the general will is constantly threatened by individual will, which has the power to dissolve the unity of the group. Part of protecting the unity is a strict and unwavering dedication to equality within the group. (Keens-Soper, 1988, p.183). The extreme necessity for unity can be seen in Rousseau 's view that any member who violates the social contract would need to be

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