What Purpose And Composition Of An Ideal State Should Be And The Consequences Of The Individual

1894 WordsFeb 6, 20178 Pages
Among the more controversial intellectual ventures of continental philosophers is answering the question of what the purpose and composition of an ideal state should be and the consequences of that state on its citizens. Philosophers Hegel and Rousseau found common ground in the need for a form of authority separate from the collective people, but they prescribed different types of government based on their conflicting views on a state’s exact role in relation to the citizens. At the heart of both Rousseau and Hegel’s political theories is their anxiety about the alienation of the individual. In The Social Contract, Rousseau asserts that an individual is alienated from in nature because he is trapped in systems of envy and desire, shaped…show more content…
Despite this qualification, an elected aristocracy based in popular sovereignty is Rousseau’s ideal form of government. In an elected aristocracy the wisest govern the many which is ideal so long as they govern for the profit of the state and not for their own selfish goals. Assemblies are more easily held and issues are better discussed, both ingredients for a strong state ruled by the people. A government composed of popularly elected magistrates and a legislator are the key features of Rousseau’s state. Rousseau said “He who has command over men ought not to have command over laws, or else his laws would be the ministers of his passions and would serve to perpetuate injustices.” The legislator is necessary because although citizens want what is best for the collective, they do not usually think about what specifically would be best. Ideally, the legislative body would be a disinterested but all-knowing power objectively establishing rules. The social compact of the people breathes life into the body politic, and legislator gives it movement and will. When citizens vote they vote in favor of their own self-interests, but all citizens have common needs and desires so the majority of rational voters will reflect these collective agreements. The collective desires of the majority will

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