Lecture 21 - The Movement of Equality

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Lecture 21
Short definitions: 1 sentence or two. Definitions are in the topics of 5 exam questions.
Two essay questions taken from the 5
Historical materialism
The movement of democratic equality
Argument Manent is making is that the social bond in modern democratic societies is that of
equality
The question of social bond is: what is it that holds highly individualized society together?
What gives us cohesion over and above the diversity and difference contained in modern society?
EQUALITY
Main characteristics of society: organization of separations
Separate different realms and beliefs
The most common division that shapes who we are is the division of church and state
All of these divisions can only be understood as imperatives
Our society does not suggest a separation of church and state, we must
Because each division of separations allow us to be free
Division of power: the need of division of power, Montesquieu
Political power is dangerous and we must be careful with dealing with political power
Spirit of Laws Book 11, Ch 6. It is an eternal experience that everyone has power tends to abuse
it
Problem for montesqieu is that we must to avoid tyranny and stop despotism to be free, since
they will put an end to our freedom
How do we stop? We structure our political community and power in such a way that becomes
impossible for anyone to monopolize power
We pick power against power
In order for the separation of powers to work
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These different powers must be of an equal strength
We have to make sure that one does not become more powerful than others
One party can’t dominate the others
These powers must be confrontational, conflicting, and constantly “at war
By being equal in strength and confrontational, Montesquieu believes these powers will be force
to make a compromise
Question of equal powers and equal competing powers raises many problems and issues
What would happen if government were to be paralyzed, because you have 3 equal powers that
is in confrontation
What if…?
Montesquieu tells us that necessity will force the powers to compromise and reach an
agreement
Decision will have to be made
Because the decision will have to be made, this will be enough for all parties to seek for
compromise
In a certain sense, none of the 3 powers will be sovereign
For Montesquieu, necessity will be sovereign
Because the community is divided between equal and competing powers
Individual citizens will be unable to do much collective harm to each other, political power itself
will become almost harmless under the conditions of divisions of power
Because both the individuals and the community cannot do much harm, the division of power
will ensure the existence of freedom
Therefore you open up a space for individual freedom and liberty
When power stops power, a certain type of freedom can emerge
This particular organization of power will neutralized political power
It will neuter political power, making political power impotent, this is the basis of our liberty , it
is the basis of the liberty of the moderns (vs. ancients)
Modern liberty has the fact that citizens turn away from the political realm, from the realm of
organized impotence in order to affirm their independence, creativity and autonomy
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