Winter 2016: Political Philosophy

 

PHIL 3400 Political Philosophy     

M/W: 1400-1515, A1045

Syllabus

Office Hours: M/W/F 12:00-1:30pm and by appointment, AA3102

Books ordered:

Aristotle, Politics, ISBN 0140444211, Penguin

Rousseau, Social Contract, ISBN 087220068X, Hackett

Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, ISBN 0156701537, Mariner Books

Arendt, On Revolution, ISBN 0143039903, Penguin

Arendt, Human Condition, ISBN 0226025985, U of Chicago Press

Arendt, On Violence, ISBN 0156695006, Mariner Books

 

Class Cancellations: If class is cancelled for any reason, the cancellation will be posted under the cancellations section of the main page of the Memorial University website.

Also note, the schedule on the syllabus may be updated during the semester, thus you should keep track of assignments, essays, etc., on this site below

 

Date Reading
Jan 6 Course introduction: Aristotle’s Politics

Introduction by Professor

Suggested secondary material: BBC, In These Times, “Aristotle’s Politics” (downloadable .mp3)

Jan 11 Aristotle, Politics, I, chapters 1-5 (Geoff S.)
Jan 13 Aristotle, Politics, I, chapters 6-end. (Nicholas W.)
Jan 18 Aristotle, Politics, III, 1-4;  Book IV 1-4 (Kim T.)
Jan 20 Aristotle, Politics, VII, 1-3, 8-10 (Rachel T.)
Jan 25 Rousseau, Social Contract, Book I-II (Natalie M. and Oluwaseyi A.)
Jan 27 Rousseau, Social Contract, Book III (Allison A.)

Rousseau, Social Contract, Book IV 1, 2, 8, 9. (Mellisa W.)

Feb 1 Arendt, Essays in Understanding, “Mankind and Terror,” and “On the Nature of Totalitarianism: An Essay in Understanding” (online) (Martin P.)
Feb 3 Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, all prefaces, 3-10 (Patrick J.); 54-88 (Rachel H.).

 

Feb 8 Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 123-157.
Feb 10 Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 158-184; 267-304.
Feb 15 Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, 460-482.
Feb 17
Feb 22 Winter Break
Feb 24 Winter Break
Feb 26 Winter Break
Feb 29 Short Paper (15 points; 6-8 pages, Times New Roman font, 12 pt., double-spaced, normal margins): In this paper, you will describe and define each of the elements of totalitarianism Arendt provides, defining clearly, using textual evidence, why these are particular elements in totalitarianism, how they helped crystallize into that kind of regime, and how this regime is different from forms of governance discussed in Aristotle or Rousseau.

The paper must have (1) a clear thesis statement (see here for help on this); (2) citations for all works used in developing ideas in the paper; (3) use of textual evidence and/or page citations for all major ideas attributed to an author; (4) a bibliography. See this grading rubric for other questions I will be asking while reading your paper.)

Arendt, The Human Condition, Part I, Part II, 22-49

Mar 2 Arendt, The Human Condition, Part II, 50-end
Mar 7 Arendt, The Human Condition, Part III, 79-100, 126-end; Part V, 175-211
Mar 9 Arendt, The Human Condition, Part V, 212-end.

 

Mar 14 Arendt, The Human Condition, Part VI, 248-end (Mitchell S.)
Mar 16
Mar 21 Arendt, On Revolution, “War and Revolution,” “The Meaning of Revolution”

 

Mar 23 Arendt, On Revolution, “The Social Question”

Arendt, On Revolution, “The Revolutionary Tradition and Its Lost Treasure”

Mar 28 Arendt, On Violence, Part II-III

Paper Topics Due: Write one paragraph, with a potential title, on your final paper. (Loss of one letter grade on final paper if not handed in on time.)

Mar 30 Arendt, On Violence, Part III
Apr 1  Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, “Epilogue”
Apr 4 Final paper Outlines Due (Loss of one letter grade on final paper if outline is not handed in on time.) via email to pgratton@mun.ca. No Class.
Apr  6 no class
Final paper Due Monday, April 18, noon. (Times New Roman Font, 12 pt., double-spaced, normal margins, 15-20 pages. Must have (1) a clear thesis statement(see here for help on this); (2) a short abstract describing what is in the paper (see here for help and here for examples); (3) citations for all works used in developing ideas in the paper; (4) use of textual evidence and/or page citations for all major ideas attributed to an author; (5) a bibliography. See this grading rubric for other questions I will be asking while reading your paper.

 

5 thoughts on “Winter 2016: Political Philosophy

  1. Rousseau Book IV Social Contract 1, 2, 8, 9
    Chapter 1: That the General Will is Indestructible
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau begins by talking about the best government. He believes that when people become a single body, they will put all their energy towards one goal, because they all want the common good, so order is created. This is the general will of the people that uphold politics. Rousseau believes the happiest politics are simple, as “[p]eace, union, equality are enemies of political subtleties” (Rousseau 79). The most ideal government would be a group of peasants making choices, so only a few laws are needed. However, due to necessity, formerly forbidden laws are passed when a persuasive politician knows others will agree. If the beginning of a government is corrupt, then it cannot be maintained. Though city people can dismiss country laws, Rousseau says that “Cromwell would have been sentenced to hard labor by the people of Bene” (80). However, good governments can become corrupted when social bonds relax, the state weakens, and small societies influence the large one. In this terrible state, people with secret motives will pass their private interests as laws, because the general will is muted, but not dead. When people place themselves over the state, instead of saying through their votes “it is advantageous to the state, [they are saying] it is advantageous to this man or that party that this or that view should pass” (80). Yet, the public interests are still in everyone’s interest. Even if one person gets what they want, they will still suffer with everyone else. Thus, the individual will also desire the general good, because it is also in their own interests. Furthermore, even if the general will is ignored, the citizens have the right to their own opinions.
    Chapter 2: On Voting
    The social compact is an implicit agreement among the members of a group for the common good. Everyone must agree to join the social compact voluntarily. Those who oppose the social compact can decide against being included. On one hand when people agree, the general will is strong, but when people disagree because of private interests, then the state declines. Too many different wills will lead to civil war. When there are two states in one, then a contradiction is created, but citizens will only have one will. On the other hand, too little will can lead to tyranny, and people will live with no wills of their own. This is why voting should be based on unity and the general will. The social compact makes the majority choices rule when voters are asked if law conforms to will. The good of majority becomes the good of everyone. Once people are free of private opinion, then a person can know what is in their favor. Important choices for laws require unanimity, but more brisk choices for public businesses need more agreement, and immediate choices should be decided by a majority vote.
    Chapter 8: On Civil Religion
    Rousseau believes God is king, before man accepts another as king, in nearly every society. Two alienated people, armies, and divisions are nearly always enemies, so they cannot obey the same leader. If religion and state are one entity, then all wars are religious. Pagan Gods are not jealous so they can divide the world, but still some would say is “not the possession of what belongs to your god Chamos… lawfully yours? By the same right we possess the lands our victorious god has acquired for himself” (97). The act of not recognizing a certain God was similar to political rebellion and “there was no other way of converting a people except by enslaving it… [then they would conquer them and leave] the vanquished their gods, just as they left them their law” (97). However, by conquering a people the Romans made a vast empire and a single will through common religion. The Christian challenge destabilized the united Gods, so they were viewed as rebels. Religion and state were supposed to be one, so with the rise of the Christian God the Roman state’s stability was challenged. Thus, Christians were persecuted. Religion is useful; all states are built on it, except for Christian law that is not useful. There are three kinds of religion: the religion of man, the religion of the citizen, and the religion of the priest. Religion of man is an internal cult of the supreme God, which consists of moral, pure, and simple divine law. Religion of the citizen is given to the gods and patrons, has dogmas, exterior cult laws, and is intolerant. Rousseau likes that the laws of the citizen teach people to love law, homeland, and service to the state. However, he finds the ceremonies are empty and it is constantly in a state of war, because they will kill for their god. The religion of the priest has contrary legislation, leaders, and duties, so it leads to “mixed and unsociable law” (99). These religions all have their faults that can cause a loss of unity. In Christian states, the church and state were separated because “no one has ever been able to know whether it is the priest or the master whom one is obliged to obey” (Rousseau 98). However, Christianity won its dominance over the sacred cult. Although Muslims were united by political and religious beliefs, the Arabs were subjugated because they became “prosperous, lettered, polished, soft, and cowardly” (98). Kings also tried to become the head of the church, but power was still divided between the state and the clergy. Rousseau believes Christianity creates a “society that unites… [its citizens that is] not dissolved even at death” but they are not forced to obey the law, cutting them from earthly things that will hurt the social spirit. Christianity promises the perfect society, but perfection is a flaw, because people will “lack a bond union” (100). While Christian society would be perfectly moral this religion is not concerned with the world and can be indifferent to success, glory, enjoyment, or pain. Furthermore, every person must be a good Christian. If even one is a hypocrite, then he will learn to lie, and become a tyrant. Rousseau believes this, because Christian beliefs are slave beliefs, so it would be easy for a dictator to take over. Furthermore, he thinks no holy war is possible because Christians need to be soldiers of priests or pagan emperors to have valor. The social contract does not have to go beyond its use. People can have their own opinions and the emperor does not have to know about it, unless it is important to the community. Without religious faith “as sentiments of society… it is impossible to be a good citizen” (102). Rousseau thinks that non-believers should be banished and anyone who “lied before the laws” should be put to death (102). For civil religion, people only need a few simple laws: believe in god and the next life, the good get rewarded, the bad get punished, and everyone should follow the social contract’s laws. Rousseau believes religious intolerance will lead to civil intolerance, which results in the king not being a true king, but an officer of the priests. There can no longer be a national religion as tolerance is needed if religious laws do not get in the way of civilian duties and no one says “outside the church there is no salvation” (103). Whoever said that should be banished, unless the state is also the church.
    Chapter 9: Conclusion
    Rousseau made the true principals of the political base. Additionally, he established a state on these principles, which also supports external relations.

  2. In Hannah Arendt’s essays Mankind and Terror and Nature of Totalitarianism: An Essay in Understanding she uncovers a common and mistaken view against Totalitarianism as a result of a revolution, and/or a tyranny. She states in Mankind and Terror: “One can of course say, and it has often been said, that in this case the means have become the ends. But this is not really an explanation. It is only a confession, disguised as a paradox, that the category of means and ends no longer works; that terror is apparently without an end; that millions of people are being senselessly sacrificed; that, as in the case of the mass murders during the war, the measures actually run counter to the perpetuator’s real interests” (302). Of course, unpacking this sentence is a book in-itself, but before I get into it a little, I will speak of my particular interest in it.

    The problem that Arendt addresses is a composition of many problems: first, the reference is Totalitarian terror regimes that has committed many obvious atrocities to humankind, second, the perception of why this type of regime is not effective is that the “means have become the ends”. But what does this mean? In a sense we can address a large chunk of 20th century history; in particular “Nazi Germany after 1938 and Soviet Russia after 1930” (297), by stating such a simple phrase. The underlying problem here is that we may not understand why these regimes are ineffective, and that we are feigning comprehension. Third, although Arendt’s point here is epistemological it holds ethical import as well, that is, we should know more about these terror regimes, how they came to be, how they functioned within the public sphere, their infrastructures, ideologies, and how they evolve.

    To begin, Arendt identifies two principal forms of terror: tyranny and revolution. In short, tyranny brings about a general disinterest in public life, and it makes “private individuals out of all citizens” (298). In a sense, it rules by terrorizing people enough to step back and not interfere. Revolution is the elimination of a particular opposition, and as Arendt notes: “The end of a revolution is a new code of laws” (298), or the revolutionaries simply run out of resources to continue (either by losing the revolt, or during the revolt). Another type, which Arendt labels as genuine totalitarian terror, comes about when there are no enemies left to eliminate (after the revolution, and/or tyrannical regime), and instead of a period of easing off this regime grows, aiming their sights against innocent populations.

    It seems that there are two primary reasons for this point of evolution in the terror regime: first that its primary function is to terrorize populations and will therefore continue doing what it knows best. Second (and I would argue more accurate), is that it has to give itself a reason to exist after the battle is over. Therefore, turning on innocent populations will give it a foothold to remain the principal authority within a nation, by creating new enemies. It is here that we begin to see the divergence from the means becoming the end, and are actually seeing a strong correlational contradiction with revolutions and tyrannical structures in general, that is, it turns against the people that—in some cases—it was fighting for in the first place. To use one of Arendt’s examples pertaining to Hitler’s desire for new categories to arrest and liquidate people on: “[Hitler] suggested that after the war all Germans should be x-rayed and that all families in which anyone suffered from a lung of heart disease should be incarcerated in camps” (301). In a case such as this, it seems that any sense of purpose is lost, or that the underlying logic for the regime has changed within an adaptive ideology, that does nothing but attempt to sustain itself.

    Arendt’s outlining of various culminations of Totalitarian rule throughout history, allows us to understand more of the logic (a notion treated in Nature of Totalitarianism: An Essay in Understanding), and to add concretion to our previous notions of why such a regime defeats itself.

  3. In Hannah Arendt’s essay “Mankind and Terror” she uncovers a common and mistaken view (and in many cases, no view at all) of Totalitarianism. She states in Mankind and Terror: “One can of course say, and it has often been said, that in this case the means have become the ends. But this is not really an explanation. It is only a confession, disguised as a paradox, that the category of means and ends no longer works; that terror is apparently without an end; that millions of people are being senselessly sacrificed; that, as in the case of the mass murders during the war, the measures actually run counter to the perpetuator’s real interests” (302).

    The problem that Arendt addresses is a composition of many problems: first, the subject is Totalitarian terror regimes, a practice aligned with some of the most atrocious actions committed to people of particular nations, races, and any other created marginalization. Second, the general elucidation of why this type of regime is not effective is because the “means have become the ends”. But what does this mean? Addressing such a large and world-changing portion of 20th century history by stating such a simple phrase is not justified. In other words, “Nazi Germany after 1938 and Soviet Russia after 1930” (297), requires more extrapolation. Knowledge that can understand the past and perhaps predict the future. Another issue with such statements is that it can be stated without any tangible understanding of these events at all, and that we are merely feigning comprehension. However, this point seems to be going in the wrong direction from Arendt’s central arguments. Third, although Arendt’s point here is epistemological, it holds ethical and practical import as well. It is ethical because we ought to know more about these terror regimes, how they have come to exist, how they function within the public sphere, their infrastructures, ideologies, and how they evolve. Moreover, we should be aware of these actions because of the outcome; the systematic killing of millions. This knowledge is practical because—as stated above—it can allow us to predict, and prevent another potential occurrence, whether within our own locale, or another part of the world. Simply stated, we can protect ourselves.

    To begin, Arendt identifies two principal forms of terror: tyranny and revolution. In short, a tyranny seeks to intimidate the general public in order to bring a general disinterest in public life. In Arendt’s words, it makes “private individuals out of all citizens” (298). In a sense, a tyrannical structure rules by terrorizing people enough to step back and not interfere, an aim focused on the passivity of its people, justified by a natural desire to protect themselves. Revolution is the elimination of a particular opposition, and as Arendt notes: “The end of a revolution is a new code of laws” (298), or the revolutionaries simply run out of resources to continue (either by losing the revolt, or by weakening during the revolt). Another type, which Arendt labels as genuine totalitarian terror, comes about when there are no enemies left to eliminate (after the revolution, and/or tyrannical regime), and instead of a period of easing off this regime grows, aiming their sights against innocent populations.

    It seems that there are two primary reasons for the Totalitarian regime: first, it was created to terrorize populations and will continue doing just that. Second (and I would argue more accurate), is that it has to give itself a reason to exist after the battle is over. Therefore, by creating new enemies from the innocent populations the regime gains a foothold to continue as the principal authority within a nation. It is here that we begin to see a strong contradiction with Totalitarianism in general, that is, it turns against the people that—in some cases—it was fighting for in the first place (i.e. a previous revolt). To use one of Arendt’s examples pertaining to Hitler’s desire for new categories, in order to arrest and liquidate more people: “[Hitler] suggested that after the war all Germans should be x-rayed and that all families in which anyone suffered from a lung of heart disease should be incarcerated in camps” (301). In a case such as this, it seems that any sense of purpose is lost, or that the underlying logic of the regime has changed within an adaptive and variable ideology. An ideology that does nothing but attempt to sustain itself.

    Arendt’s outlining of various culminations of Totalitarian rule throughout history, allows us to understand more of the logic and to add concretion to our previous notions of why such a regime exists.

  4. Philosophy 3400: Political Philosophy – February 3nd, 2016, Wednesday (23 Copies)
    Hannah Arendt: The Origins of Totalitarianism (54-88)

    Arendt preludes the first section on Antisemitism with a preface dedicated to each of the other divisions of her piece, so, a preface for Antisemitism, Imperialism and Totalitarianism respectively. Across all of these, Arendt sets the stage of historical and cultural context per each topic. Particularly regarding the preface to Antisemitism, Arendt makes note that in compiling her own book research, that there (at the time) had been a failure to provide a comprehensive and truthful treatment and report of Jewish history, that could consequentially help explain the origins of the ‘Jewish question’ in regards to the formation of the third Reich, ultimately leading to the organized genocide of the Jewish people.
    Arendt is also quick to make it clear that in sourcing the roots of totalitarianism in antisemitism that one should not simply reduce totalitarianism to mere acts of antisemitism (or racism or imperialism) but rather sum of abused ideologies that take the bare bones of actual class, or race issues and use them in their most extracted forms to have a propaganda like use.
    Arendt dives into the section on antisemitism by noting that it is a poor part of historians and philosophers or just about anyone to think that the Jewish people being the target of the Nazi regime was somehow accidental. While the historical and economic climate in tandem with the acquired wealth of German Jews made them an easy scapegoat in the eyes of the Nazi regime when their public privileges and influences were lost to them, Arendt argues that the growth and seizing of power of the Nazi party would have come about in any rate, regardless of who the “other’ was in this situation.
    Arendt addresses a number of issues when discussing the place Jews had in society at the time, namely to introduce the idea that the antisemitism of the time, both political and social arose from the Jews growing into a separate body, while also gaining more equality relative to other groups of the time, respectively. However Arendt focuses on this aspect of equality as to why the Jews became subject to such cruelty, arguing that society made equality a social rather than political trait, and in making a polarizing measure of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ and thinks that this is the root of cruelty faced by the Jewish community as, in gaining equality, the differences or abnormalities of a group also become more conspicuous. In historically and culturally being a very separate and distinct group from say a racialized group, Arendt argues that this is what put the Jews more at risk, in the sense of political danger.
    One aspect of the chapter that stood out for me was the aspect wherein the Jewish people were expected to become “exceptions of their own people” by becoming better than the common Jew and rise to be the newly educated and cultured type that could rub shoulders with those of European society, obviously forcing them into a corner of a psychologically demoralizing task that could only lead to disappointment. This sentiment similarly reminds me of comments heard in modern day conversations when people are very quick to bundle those of an ‘exotic’ or marginalized group with statements like “You don’t act very ____’, “You’re pretty for a _____”, “You’re not like those other _____”. Fill in the blank with whatever racialized or marginalized group you will; it simply works such that people in positions of privilege, similar to those of European society attempting to groom the Jewish community, the similar sentiment you hear today serves to point out that the privileged person giving these statements is explicitly othering the person this is directed at away from their particular group, which to a certain degree is meant as a compliment, simply because ‘X’ person doesn’t match the disagreeable stereotype in the speaker’s head. Or put another way, they are a more palatable version of a group associated with political or social standings not otherwise agreed with. Ultimately, however, to get back to the Jewish people under the Nazi regime, this distinction of education, class or wealth has no power when all groups of Jews, educated or no, are emancipated together. The social standing is an illusion and is a conditional gift given by those with social privilege or standing. Similarly with the marginalized groups of today, any special distinction a person or group is given does nothing to stop the person giving this distinction from perpetuating racist or marginalizing comments or behaviour, because they simply see that person as an exception to the rule who won’t mind how they treat the ‘others’ of ‘X’ (e.g. “The Jew”/”the backward brethren” versus those educated and cultured and assimilated into non-Jewish society) group. It is supposed to be taken as a gracious pass into a social space that is inherently problematic in the first place, until that group decides to withdraw this “token of security”. While the ‘notable Jews’ were eager to abandon their Jewish identity and its associations with the dark background and poverty of the time, it ultimately did not happen seeing as this social security was not in their control because Judaism had taken on a psychological property that either meant a polarizing decision to group one’s self in to “an over privileged upper class or to an underprivileged mass.”. Ultimately, as previously mentioned, as the distinctions between the groups blurred from racial to social to psychological, the ultimate distinction when the final emancipation was brought into act was the still standing characteristic that all Jews are Jewish and were a threat to the culture, the economy, the jobs and way of life of the European people.

  5. Summary of Rousseau’s Social Contract, Book III

    What is Government?
    Rousseau states that government is “an intermediate body set up between the subjects and the Sovereign, to secure their mutual correspondence, charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of liberty, both civil and political” (p. 42). He continues on, explaining how “the members of this body are called magistrates or kings, that is to say governors, and the whole body bears the name prince” (p. 42). He considers government to be a “legitimate exercise of the executive power”, and says that the magistrate or prince is the “man or body entrusted with that administration” (p. 42). Thus the government is regarded as “a new body within the State, distinct from the people and the Sovereign, and the intermediate between them” (p.46).

    It holds that different governments are good for different peoples, and even for the same peoples at different times, depending on the “countless events” that “may change the relations of a people” (p. 43). A fundamental principle, according to Rousseau, is that if the magistrates are more numerous, then the government will therefore be weaker.
    He goes on to say that there are three “essentially different wills” that can be distinguished in a “person of the magistrate” (p.48). The first is the private will of the individual which tends to pursue his own interests. Second is the common will of the magistrates which is “relative solely to the advantage of the prince” (p. 48) and is also called corporate will, since it is in relation to the government and to the State. This corporate will expresses the will of the government. Last is the will of the people or the sovereign will, which is general “both in relation to the State regarded as the whole, and to the government regarded as a part of the whole” (p.48). This general will expresses the will of the people as a whole.
    Rousseau writes that a perfect act of legislation would mean that “the individual or particular will should be at zero; the corporate will belonging to the government should occupy a very subordinate position; and, consequently, the general or sovereign will should always predominate and should be the sole guide of all the rest” (p. 48). In a large state, chances are that the individual will care more about himself and his own personal interests rather than the well-being and functioning of the state. This would most often lead to selfish anarchy. Rousseau argues that in order to avoid this, a large population should have a strong government to keep it in order.
    However, as Rousseau clearly asserts, a strong government does not necessarily have to be a large government. The smaller a government is, the stronger it will be. Thus, the larger the population, the smaller the controlling government should be.

    The Division of Governments
    Depending on the number of members which compose them, governments have various forms. Rousseau speaks of three divisions of government – democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy.

    Democracy occurs when the Sovereign commits “the charge of the government to the whole people or to the majority of the people, so that more citizens are magistrates than are mere private individuals” (p. 50). Rousseau is obviously skeptical of the viability of a democracy, explaining that the corporate will and the general will can be easily confused. This confusion can lead to unstable government and lead to civil strife. To be successful, a democracy must be small and consist of honest citizens who have little to no greed and who are simple peoples with little ambition.
    Aristocracy arises if the Sovereign “restricts the government to a small number, so that there are more private citizens than magistrates” (p. 50). While realizing that aristocracy is not always the best form of government, Rousseau favors aristocracy over the other forms. This preference is particularly for intermediate city-states, such as his home city. His reasoning is that there are fewer dangers, and remaining issues are more easily avoided than those dangers of democracy and of monarchy.
    A Monarchy, or Royal Government, transpires when the Sovereign “concentrates the whole government in the hands of a single magistrate from which all others hold their power” (p. 50). Since all power rests in the hands of one man, monarchy can be incredibly efficient. Unfortunately, this can also be dangerous as the corporate will is often nothing more than the particular will of the monarch.
    Rousseau declares that “there has been at all times much dispute concerning the best form of government, without consideration of the fact that each is in some cases the best, and in other the worst” (p. 51). He continues on to claim that no government is exclusively one of these three forms. Each government is at some extent, a mix of the other forms.

    The Marks Of A Good Government
    In this relatively short and simple chapter, Rousseau points out that the question “what absolutely is the best government?” is both “unanswerable as well as indeterminate” (p. 66). This is most likely because everyone has their own answer. One can, however, look towards different signs to show whether or not a given people is governed well. The increase of the numbers and the population of a city-state are the best signs of a good government. This is evident when Rousseau states that “the government under which, without external aids, without naturalisation or colonies, the citizens increase and multiply most, is beyond question the best…the government under which a people wanes and diminishes is the worst” (p. 67).

    The Abuse Of Government And Its Tendency To Degenerate
    According to Rousseau (p.67), there are two general courses by which government degenerates: when it undergoes contraction, or when the State is dissolved. “Government undergoes contraction when it passes from the many to the few, that is, from democracy to aristocracy, and from aristocracy to royalty…to do so is its natural propensity” (p. 67). In contrast, if the government goes from the few to the many, it is said to be relaxed. However, as Rousseau makes clear, this “inverse sequence is impossible” (p.67).
    Meanwhile, the dissolution of the State may occur in one of either two ways:
    “First, when the prince ceases to administer the State in accordance with the laws, and usurps the Sovereign power. A remarkable change then occurs: not the government, but the State, undergoes contraction…the great State is dissolved, and another is formed within it, composed solely of the members of the government, which becomes for the rest of the people merely master and tyrant” (p. ). Once the government usurps the Sovereignty, the social compact is broken, and then all private citizens are “forced, but not bound, to obey” (p.68).
    Second, when the members of a government “severally usurp the power they should exercise only as a body; this is as great an infraction of the laws, and results in even greater disorders. There are then so many princes as there are magistrates, and the State, no less divided than the government, either perishes or changes its form” (p.68).
    Once a state is dissolved, the abuse of government becomes anarchy. For example, “royalty degenerates into tyranny” (p.68) and the tyrant “arrogates to himself the royal authority without having a right to it” (p.68). Otherwise, the prince would assume and rule with authority which was not legitimate.

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