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The State and Political Obligation.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

Politics 1020 September 20, 2012 The State and Political Obligation - Negative argument: the state is the only alternative to the state of nature - Is there a positive argument for a moral duty to obey the state? Why political authority is morally problematic - People are naturally free, equal and independent - Legitimate power is created by us - Authority requires my consent Key features of the state - Claims a monopoly of legitimate violence - In return, it is responsible for protecting us Universal political obligations - Justifying the state = showing that there are universal political obligations - Should we obey the law because it’s the law? - Universal applies to everyone The parent analogy - State to citizen relation is like the parent to child relation - Life and benefits generate gratitude and duty to obey - Problem: unreasonable orders and laws Voluntarism and the social contract - Voluntarism: state’s political authority depends on my consent - Social contract: political obligation based on contract or agreement Was there an original contract? - Original contract = actual, historical deal to consent to the state - No evidence for it - Highly improbable Main problem with original contract - A contract among them, back then, couldn’t obligate us, now o What happened in the past is not relevant to me now Express consent - Has every individual actually consented to the state? - Only a minority explicitly consent - What counts as a consent? Are There Universal Political Obligations  Voluntarism: state’s political authority depends on my consent  We
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