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Lecture 5

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Political Science
Simone Chambers

Lecture 51310101General WillWhat is itIt can never be mistakenGeneral will vs will of allHow can we find it how it discover it create itThere is a certain kind of argument Rousseau is making until the question of the legislature change in tonebefore this it is an abstract theory and the question he is asking is what would make laws legitimate What are the abstract rules true to every society and the answer is that it lies in a certain kind of consent The General will is first an idea of the common good He talks about the general will because he wanted to talk about people willing itsomething we choose It has to do with when wewillthe common good Or it can be put hypothetically what we would choose if we were looking at questions from a point of view that is good for the whole Two ways of looking at things is this going to be good for me And is this going to be good for the whole Sometimes these coincide but a lot of the time they dont Alternative view of democracy pluralist it is ok to go into the political arena looking out for ones personal goalsgains This is not Rousseaus picture to him democracy is not about competing interests but looking at public questions with the point of view of what is good for the group The general will isthe aggregate of notindividual wills but when everyone wills together for what is in the common good2LegislatorFoundingWhat about democracyCan use neither force nor reasonCan the general will be real in all societies No It only comes in very particular circumstances The problem some societies are too corrupted already to ever enact the general will some people are not sophisticated enough underdeveloped This is sort of a chicken and the egg questionwe need a third party to determine if a society is at a point between being too sophisticatedcorrupt and too unsophisticatedunderdeveloped If a society is at that point then the general will must grow organically People need to be socialized into thinking of themselves as anationality Canadian Roman etc and it must happen in a society with good lawsand good people before the common will can grow The legislator is not a democratic figure a top down figure who does not ask for consentthe argument is that democracy requires an individual to found its preconditions Page 163 he who dares to undertake the establishment of a people should feel so to speak he is in a situation to change human natureto alter mans constitutionRousseau has this malleability of human nature and our character is shaped over time We need an intervention a great founder who can set up the right constitution values ideals so that people who grow in this constitution develops an identity that is conducive to the common will How does the legislature bring this about Page 164 since therefore the legislator is unable to use force or reasoningcan persuade without convincing
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