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Marx And Rousseau And The Classical Liberal Tradition

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Both Marx and Rousseau disagree with the classical liberal tradition and offer alternatives. Unlike the classical liberal tradition which is built on the ideas of individual natural rights, Marx and Rousseau believe that there is no such thing as rights by nature. Rousseau believed that you cannot talk about rights until there is consent. He also said that no individual has a claim to anything. For people to have rights in Rousseau’s eyes everyone must sit down as equals in a community and make a unanimous decision on the rights people have. Rousseau calls this the social construct. Marx believed that humans do not have rights by nature and that if you look to the past it will show that there have always been people ruling over others.…show more content…
The main thing that the classical liberals focus on is people’s freedoms which they didn’t have under feudalism. In the classical liberal tradition they also begin to focus more on using science to explain things rather than only using religion and god. Rousseau disagreed with the idea of natural rights being something you’re born with and believed that there are no rights by nature. In addition, he thought that the classical liberals were wrong to start from the individual because by nature humans are social creatures and there is nothing that is ours, and ours alone. Everything we are has been influenced by other human beings so there is literally nothing that we can call our own. Rousseau believed that human beings are dependant on one another for everything we have. Rousseau also believed that the right of war or conquest doesn’t exist because you can’t talk about rights when there is no choice. He also rejects Aristotle’s idea of slaves by nature. Aristotle believed people were unable to control or govern their passion with their reason which is why they needed to be ruled over. Aristotle said that, “Men are not naturally equal, but that some are born for slavery and others for dominion.” Rousseau countered with, “Aristotle was right; but he mistook the effect for the cause. Nothing is more certain than that all men who are born in slavery are born for slavery. Slaves become so debased by their chains as to lose even the
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