Feb. 11, 2014
• The original contract? “Acknowledged to be real”
• Essay repudiating the original contract – legitimate authority comes from consent
(common to Hobbes and Locke)
• Was there an original contract? I acknowledge that when bands of people first got
together and formed a community, there was a form of consent.
• But, was that authoritative? No.
• Objections: Even if we go acknowledge some possible ancient contract to form states, it’s
so ancient and obliterated by change, it cannot be supposed to retain any authority.
• “So ancient, obliterated by a thousand changes of government and princes…cannot now
be supposed to retain any authority.”
• No “consent of the fathers to bind sons.” Once adulthood is reached, fathers cannot bind
• Further, no support in history – all government are founded on conquest
• All “force and violence”
• EvenAthens, “the most extensive democracy,” was not founded on the consent of
• No tacit consent (Locke – residing in a place rather than leaving) – but the burden of
leaving defeats the claim that a free choice s involved and therefore defeats the claim of
consent (residing in a place does not entail consent since the other option poses too great
• “implied consent” only arises where there is a real choice
• Objection to all varieties is found in the legitimacy of authority on consent: whence does