Rousseau’s Nonexistent Co-existing State

1618 Words Jun 20th, 2018 7 Pages
The idea of a utopian state is one many people have hoped for or thought of, a place where all people are treated equal and free. Jean Jacques Rousseau developed the theory of sovereign government and the ‘le volante general’, meaning the general will, in his book The Social Contract. There are certain problems with his theory such as, citizens will not be in similar situations, and so if the law was decided on, it will have different impacts on different people, leaving the minority at a disadvantage. Although citizens can help to set the general will they might not be moved to follow it, leading to an imbalance in equality. The will of the rulers can be general will as long as the sovereign agree, this can lead to authoritarianism. …show more content…
Constituting what Rousseau would call a form of slavery, in which you “hand over one’s general right of ruling oneself to another person or body…” (plato.stanford.edu). Just as the laws create a shift in equality, the will for people to follow these laws also creates a similar disruption in equality.
An imbalance of equality can be caused by citizens who help vote for the majority of what the general will was, but do not choose to follow it. A person may refuse to accept restrictions on their own actions out of their own self-interest or selfishness, but deem it okay to place a restriction on other people’s actions. This could lead to the infringement on people’s freedom and safety. An example of this would be, people that vote for the law, to eradicate violence, but use violence on those whom they see breaking this law. Another example of this is, if the sovereign was to put this law into place but torture or use corporal punishment on anyone that is caught or suspected of using violence. This would be highly hypocritical and unfair to those who also disagreed with the law but still had restraint not to break the law. The government’s ability to contradict the laws illustrates the power they hold compared to the rest of the state, such as enforcing their own will.
Freedom is not a true element of the general will because a ruler’s will can
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