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POLI 231 Final: Poli 231 Final Exam Review
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Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 231
Professor
Arash Abizadeh
Semester
Fall

Description
Poli 231 Final Exam Review Exam Date: December 20 Course Outline I. Political Obligation, Conscience, and Claims of Authority a. Sophocles (Antigone) b. Plato (Apology and Crito in the Trial and Death of Socrates) c. Thoreau (An Essay on Civil Disobedience) II. Legitimate Political Authority: The Moral Foundations of Political Life a. The illegitimacy of the state as an organization of force: Anarchism i. Wolff (In Defense of Anarchism) b. Legitimacy via the protection of individual rights: Liberalism i. Locke (Second Treatise of Government) c. Legitimacy via the collective exercise of popular sovereignty: Democracy i. Rousseau (Social Contract) ii. Sieyes (What is the Third Estate?) III. Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands a. Ends and Means: i. Machiavelli (The Prince) and Kagan (Normative Ethics) ii. Breaker Morant iii. Sartre (Dirty Hands) and Camus (The Just Assassins) b. Violence, Conflict, and Political Power i. Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth) ii. Gandhi (Selected Political Writings) iii. MLK (Letter from Birmingham Jail) Introductory Lecture: I. What is ethics/moral philosophy? a. Branch of thinking associated with “how should I live?” or “what should I do?” i. Distinction between “is” and “ought”, “fact” and “value”, “descriptive” and “normative” b. Ethics is concerned with the normative i. Definition: How ought the individual act ii. One cannot tell normative from just the words of the sentence, you have to thinking about implications iii. What obligations do I owe others? How should I treat others? How do we respect their rights? What do I owe the state? II. What is political philosophy? a. Definition: What makes the political order legitimate? b. How should we live together in a political community? What are the norms that dictate how we govern and function as a society? i. Should we be governed by a monarchy, democracy, or theocracy? c. What is distinctive about political theory in relation to ethical theory? i. Political institutions are backed by the state ii. Ethics are not backed by the course of power, rather by human nature iii. Political has sanctions of legal proportion iv. Political laws have an additional level of justification (the state) d. Key normative questions for political philosophy: exercise of political power i. Political philosophy: what makes the exercise of political power legitimate/justified? ii. Sheer power v. legitimate power 1. Sheer is illegitimate (unilateral execution) 2. Legitimate is by the power of law and courts iii. Illegitimate power v. legitimate authority 1. Authority: the claim that one has to obey political claims of political actors 2. Legitimacy: the acceptance of an authority e. Theory of the right v. good i. Theory of the right: what ought I do? 1. Think of consequentialism. What actions produce the greatest outcome? ii. Theory of the good: that which there is the strongest reason to want or desire. NOT what I ought to do Political Obligation, Conscience, and Claims of Authority Antigone (Sophocles) II. Conflict between Creon and Antigone: Several Dimensions a. Family ties (private) v. Political ties (public) i. Conflict is intensified because Creon’s son (Haemon) is Antigone’s fiancée. Creon is Antigone’s uncle 1. Antigone and Haemon are cousins ii. Antigone is treating a political matter as a family/private matter b. Individual (conscience) v. State c. Religious duties v. Political duties i. Creon claims that loyalty should be to the common good of the polis and the political community ii. This is to emphasize order above all else in order to ensure civil stability 1. Antigone is a threat to this order d. Morality/Justice v. Political law e. Political v. Divine law i. Antigone recognizes the criminality of her actions, but she justifies the religious aspect of her actions as being her moral obligation ii. We have higher loyalties than political duties, namely loyalty to the gods and religion 1. Political loyalties are feeble and breakable. They are shaped and defined by often unjust and corrupt humans 2. Why should we obey immoral or unjust laws? f. Personal ambitions v. collective good g. Authority v. legitimacy III. Question of Nature of Regime a. Authoritarian ruler v. ruler responsive to counsel b. Authoritarianism (Creon) i. Creon is a purely authoritarian ruler, while Haemon is an accountable ruler who says that rulers should be responsive to the citizen’s wants ii. Glory and fame can only come by how/what citizens think about you as a ruler. It is not self-conceived iii. Haemon also appeals to what the gods think, not just the people (a ruler cannot ruler alone) c. Responsiveness of Ruler (Haemon) i. The blind prophet Tiresias, warns that a ruler needs to be responsive to the advice of a wise council ii. Chorus of Theban Elders d. Different accounts of legitimacy i. Legitimacy comes from maintaining order, peace, and security (Creon) ii. Stems from citizens’ perspective iii. Laws that correspond to objective justice (e.g. from gods or wise counsel) iv. Independent standard for justice or morality v. Laws that result from responsiveness to citizens’ views 1. Laws are legitimate is they conform to the views of the citizens (democratic theory) and from some form of procedure IV. Unintended Meaning and Consequences of Action: Unpredictability a. Antigone’s actions are more than she intends. She expresses devotion to her family i. Refuses to make any political or religious justification for her brother (by law, he is a traitor) ii. In virtue of this stance, she unintentionally challenges the political role of a tyrant iii. She treats her sister in a cold and hostile manner, while showing complete devotion to her dead brother (Polyneices) b. Creon is the head of a family, but he defends his actions in a political realm (I am the king) i. He uses his political role as justification, not his role in the family as a father and uncle V. Issue: Lack of Sovereignty a. Greater context in which an individual is imbedded i. Greek view: an individual has forces greater than him (fate, gods, justice, city, family) VI. Statesmanship a. Problem of lack of sovereignty/fallibility b. Tiresias as a wise statesman c. Rigidity/arrogance/stubbornness/hubris v. Flexibility Questions: • What to make of self-righteousness of Antigone? Her cruelty towards her sister? • What role does Antigone’s willingness to face consequences play in your evaluation of her actions? o Why is this relevant? e.g. appeal to conscience of others • Critically assess the conflict between law and morality. When to disobey an unjust law? Political Obligation, Conscience, and Claims of Authority Trial and Death of Socrates: Apology and Crito (Plato) I. Justice v. Politics a. Socrates wished to give private council, not involve himself in politics i. Justice cannot be gained in the political forum II. The Philosophical Life a. Search for wisdom/truth (ethical ) + life of justice/virtue (corrupt) i. Refuses the command of tyrants to place someone in prison unjustly 1. Not doing so would result in death for Socrates ii. One can only fight for justice in private, not public iii. Defends private, philosophical life instead of private, political life iv. Defends the pursuit of justice and wisdom 1. Intrinsic in the philosophical life to question tradition and authority (subject to the light of reason). This is ultimately a challenge to authority b. Authority: rational critical scrutiny i. Constituted political laws 1. Justification must be scrutinized by reason (must be questioned) ii. Accepted religious beliefs 1. Socrates believed that there was a power higher than the polis (the gods) who had more meaning a. Does not take religious authority for granted (it is important to question it) b. “The unexamined life is not worth living” III. Apology a. Defense of the authority of reason and justice. Questioning the law b. Official Accusation: injustice because of: i. Impiety: disbelief in the gods of the city ii. Corrupting the youth c. Socrates appeals to an independent standard of right/wrong, not the general public d. Socrates’ Calling i. He wants to examine everything he is told (even by the oracle, who said that Socrates was the wisest man) 1. He wanted to see if there was truth to this claim 2. Went around to scrutinize the wisest in the land (politicians, poets, craftsman) a. Politicians: they speak very well (oratos), but their speech is just words and has no actual substance b. Poets: they have inspiration, but they do not understand the wisdom that they write i. They are only the medium of wisdom, not the source 3. Craftsman: the only ones that actually know and understand their craft. a. However, they often overestimate their wisdom and think they know more than their own craft b. They have first order knowledge (their craft), not second order knowledge (beyond) i. Socrates equates true wisdom with this second order knowledge 4. Life of reflection: knowing the limits of your own knowledge 5. It is Socrates’ calling to unmask false wisdom in Athenian society and claims to wisdom IV. Crito a. Crito’s Arguments: i. Unjust to betray oneself when escape is possible ii. Abandoning your sons iii. Lacks courage 1. Lack of virtue/courage to not resist the verdict handed down (a clearly unjust verdict) b. Socrates: I obey reason i. Socrates does not obey the common opinion, only the true opinion (the opinion of in this particular domain of law) c. Issue: Morality v. Law i. What is ethical for me to do, versus what the law tells me to do ii. The verdict was unjust, but this does not mean I have to do something illegal or unjust in return iii. Given the verdict of the Athenians, my duty is to obey the legal decisions arrived at by the legal counsel/body 1. Or am I supposed to obey an independent standard? d. Four arguments for obedience: i. Gratitude 1. Obey the laws of the city that raised and educated them (respect the polis) a. Express gratitude even if obedience is costly ii. Absolute parental/master authority 1. Socrates views himself as the child or slave of the polis (the master or father) a. Needs to show absolute obedience as a loyal subject iii. Consent 1. Not only did the polis raise me, I decided to stay even when I was completely free to leave. a. Never desired to leave b. By this, he has tacitly consented to the laws of the polis and must obey them iv. To disobey the law of the city, would undermine the laws and render them ineffective 1. It would undermine the spirit and sanctity of law a. Law ensures order and prevents chaos e. Socrates is not questioning the law, rather the people who interpret it and how they interpret it i. The verdict is legitimate, but it was unjustly passed down V. Possible Resolution of Tension a. Apology: critique of orthodoxy: cites beliefs b. Crito: acceptance of orthodoxy: cites obedience and actions Socrates’ actions in Crito stem from the ideal of a social contract existing between individual and state, as obeying the laws of the state reflects a political obligation given in exchange for enjoying certain freedoms and protections. First, Socrates’ view of the charges levied against him differ from his view of the procedures employed by the Athenian court to sentence him to death. Socrates continuously maintains his innocence in Apology against the accusation of corrupting the youth, however calmly accepts the court’s verdict in Crito. This acceptance is due to a sense of political obligation owed to the state, as Socrates accepts the legitimacy of the legal procedures taken against him. Despite unjust accusations by individuals including Meletus, Socrates agrees that obeying the laws of the state reflects an inherent obligation of the individual. He is careful to separate the verdict from the unjust manner in which it was arrived at. Perhaps the most important justification for the acceptance of the court’s verdict is his appeal to sanctity of law, a system that serves as the backbone of Athenian society. As a citizen of the polis, Socrates respects the institutions that raised and education him, and concludes that nullifying his verdict would undermine a commitment to the state. A moral inclination to resist unjust laws, often results from one’s obligation to respect what is just, rather than a blind respect for the law. Questions: Critically assess Socrates’ “persuade or obey” doctrine, and the notion that it is never just to respond to injustice with justice. [See Gandhi; contrast with Fanon] Political Obligation, Conscience, and Claims of Authority The illegitimacy of the state as an organization of force: Anarchism An Essay on Civil Disobedience (Thoreau) I. Key Issue: Freedom a. Three kinds of freedom: i. Liberal freedom 1. The absence of external constraints or threat of external constraints a. Laws present a constraint b. Laws stand in tension with freedom, restricting it c. Laws can however, provide freedom i. Protection from criminal actions of others ii. Political freedom 1. Anti-colonial liberation movements, which resisted colonial rule and supposed supremacy 2. Living under laws that you have the right to influence by electing representatives, to help make the laws in legislature 3. Liberalism places a great deal of value in freedom without restraints. a. Opposite is totalitarianism, in which the government regulates laws and freedoms 4. Democracy: rule by the people a. About the source of legitimacy in the first place: the people, from which legitimacy and acceptance of authority stems from b. Consent of the governed c. Authoritarianism (opposite): source of legitimate authority comes from above, not below iii. Spiritual freedom 1. The absence of internal constraints a. Internal, spiritual constraints prevent one from engaging in a desired action i. Ex: Public speaking b. Lack of full self-mastery b. Libertarianism/Anarchism i. Minimal government intervention and maximum individual rights and freedoms/rights ii. Freedom is valuable because Thoreau believes in acting by one’s conscience and ethical judgment iii. Liberal freedom = spiritual freedom II. Thoreau’s life and context a. Thoreau was a prominent abolitionist and existentialist b. Question for Thoreau: what is the standard for a fair and just government? c. Legitimacy of the U.S. government in particular i. U.S. is a slave state ii. It is conducting an unjust war against Mexico, concerned over slavery iii. U.S. is not worthy of association III. Nature of political obligation: arguments for civil disobedience a. Right of revolution b. Some moral constraints regardless of costs i. Cost-benefit analysis is not enough (deontologist) c. No duty to eradicate evil, but duty to not contribute to evil i. Justice v. morality ii. Negative duty: the duty not to do something; duty of omission 1. Moral duty of disobedience, not democratic action a. Does not preach to change/reform the law iii. Thoreau preached non-participation in unjust practices sanctioned by the government iv. Act by conscience/morality/ethics in private life 1. Do not commit injustice d. Thoreau criticizes blind patriotism i. One needs to be focused on justice, not respect for the law 1. Blinds people into blind and unwavering loyalty ii. Must not turn a blind eye to the egregious actions of the government such as slavery out of blind patriotism e. Abolitionists should withdraw support from the government f. Effectiveness of disobedience g. Principles of Legitimacy i. Normal Justification: if it can do better than me ii. Consent of individual IV. Best form of government in principle a. No government best: distrusts government i. temporarily, for now, want better government (reform it) b. Majority rule: i. Imposes slavery on the minority ii. Democracies cater to the majority c. Limited Government d. Best government: one that recognizes the individual as the highest power e. Ultimate obligation is to act based on what you think is right, not what the law says i. The right thing to do is inherently subjective, and individuals could be mistaken in what is right and what is wrong ii. Great deal of emphasis of individuality of mankind and personal pursuit Questions: • Socrates v. Thoreau • Tension between subjectivism v. objectivism and between consent v. normal justification thesis: o What if the individual’s conscience is wrong about a moral matter? o I.e. what if the government has a law you object to, even though your objection is based on immoral reasoning or a corrupt conscience ▪ E.g. you believe in slavery • Consequentialist objection: what if your disobedience actually results in greater injustice done to others o I.e. the consequence is harm o Then, isn’t “washing your hands clean” just a form of avoiding political responsibility? Moral grandstanding? • Thoreau introduces the concepts of Liberal, Political, and Spiritual freedom. o Explain; which do we value? Combination? [Compare with Gandhi] • Individualism present in Thoreau? Contrast to Socrates, Antigone o To who do we owe ultimate obligation? Thoreau’s disdain for political obligation and insistence on moral duty would be met with harsh criticism from Socrates, who would invoke the importance of civic over moral obligation as essential to legal integrity and order. The concept of individuality is essential for Thoreau’s philosophy of civil disobedience, as he believed that individuals were by nature, independent from the state. His view of this relationship is grounded in the notion of negative liberty, the freedom from external constraints. Legitimizing the state through consent of the governed, individuals carry a duty to challenge injustice and must refuse to compromise their values out of expediency or blind loyalty. Socrates would object by appealing to the importance of social order and stability. Recognizing the potential of having unjustly interpreted laws, Socrates is clear to distinguish their applications as separate from the written laws themselves. While the accusations against him were unjust, Socrates does not question the law, rather the people who interpret the law. Disobedience challenges a system that one has voluntarily complied to living by the laws of, as by free will, a member maintains the right to leave the compact. Maintaining residence illustrates that one has consented to entry into an agreement with the law. Thoreau’s contempt for the state is further grounded in individuality. One must assume self-responsibility and view themselves at a level independent from the state. Socrates would object to the individualistic views espoused by Thoreau and point to the benefits provided by the state, especially in maintaining order and security. The institution of the state promoted values respected by Socrates, and enforces the order of Athenian society. Thoreau does not favorably view this sense of duty, as the state often acts immorally, and argues that one’s obligation is to act by conscience alone. Socrates would be quick to point out that disobeying the law in retaliation for injustice, is just as much an evil as the unjust practices condoned by the state. Legitimate Political Authority The illegitimacy of the state as an organization of force: Anarchism In Defense of Anarchism (Wolff) Summary • Thesis: Authority is only legitimate if it is compatible with moral autonomy • Justification: Authority and autonomy are incompatible/at odds with one another • Conclusion; Thus, there is no such thing as legitimate authority (except unanimous direct democracy) I. Authority a. Sheer Power b. De facto authority: claims right to command c. Legitimate authority: the right to command and the right to be obeyed i. Compels you to obey based on a superior position of power ii. Obeying is blind following. i. Acting in accordance is different (conforming to a command based on other desires or motivations) d. Descriptive v. normative sense of legitimacy i. Descriptive: describing how people think and behave in society i. People conform because they think they have a duty to obey the order ii. Determining whether there is legitimate authority and if it is followed ii. Normative: questioning the order i. Should you obey the order? ii. Questioning the legitimacy of authority iii. Legitimacy rests in individual moral authority, as humans with morals have a duty to question ethics e. Should I pay my taxes because I need to give authority to the law and respect the sanctity of law? Or should I pay them out of practical concern, so that I do not get fined or go to jail? II. Wolff’s Assumption: legitimacy from compatibility with moral autonomy a. Under what conditions does the state have the authority to command you? b. Moral philosophy -> responsibility -> freedom of will c. Free will + reason = duty to take responsibility i. Free will and our capacity for reasoning gives us responsibility for our actions. i. Duty to reflect on what we ought to do (ethical questions) d. Moral autonomy i. Autonomy is simply the condition of taking full responsibility for one’s actions ii. We are morally autonomous and have a duty to exercise this autonomy iii. Forfeit your own autonomy, but you cannot forfeit your responsibility i. In order to take responsibility, we cannot blindly follow commands 1. You are forfeiting responsibility because you fail to determine whether that command is good or wise ii. You can conform to a command, but you cannot obey a command because you give up autonomy doing so iii. Even after subjecting to the will of another, you ultimately remain responsible for your actions iv. Refusing to engage in moral deliberation, by accepting as final the commands of others, you forfeit your autonomy e. Authority v. Autonomy i. Authority and Autonomy are incompatible with one another. i. Thus, there can be no such thing as legitimate authority ii. Unanimous direct democracy solves this conflict i. Everyone personally approves of law ii. Objection: very unrealistic and idealistic expectation iii. It assumes that we all ideally agree on issues and have the same interests III. Representative Democracy a. Majoritarianism: asserts that a majority of the population (categorized by religion, social class, language, etc) are entitled to make decisions for that society i. Wolff rejects this. Why should the minority abide to the majority? b. Unanimous original contract justifying majority rule i. What if we all agree with the majority choosing representatives to represent us? ii. Wolff’s answer: promising to obey the will of the majority is still an abdication of autonomy IV. Objections to Wolff’s Claim a. Unanimous direct democracy is unrealistic b. Is it really your moral obligation above all, to exercise moral autonomy? i. There are consequences of this that infringe on other individual’s autonomy i. Why is my autonomy more valuable than others’? c. What are you taking responsibility for? i. Realistically, you cannot be responsible for everything ii. Wolff has premised his argument on an unrealistic view of autonomy and responsibility Question: critically assess Wolff’s claim about political legitimacy and individual autonomy Legitimate Political Authority Legitimacy via the protection of individual rights: Liberalism Two Treatises on Government (Locke) Four Main Questions • How do people in the state of nature come to own things? o Theory of property • What makes government legitimate? o Theory of social contract (delegation theory of sovereignty) • How should the state be organized? o Theory of constitutional government • What is the relation between ruler and subjects? o Theory of trust o Defines the duties and obligations of each side I. What makes political power legitimate? a. No natural form of political rule i. Human by nature are free and equal and do not have natural authority 1. Authority is thus created b. State of Nature i. Human are originally in a state of nature before they enter society ii. Why would we leave the freedom present in the state of nature to enter into civil society? c. Problem with the State of Nature i. No established common law 1. Only natural law ii. Our property is left unsecured iii. No impartial judge iv. No formal executive power 1. The executive power in the state of nature is each individual a. Thus, they each have the right to punish those who violate the state of nature (enforcers of natural law) d. But not a State of War i. State of nature is not necessarily a state of war e. We enter in political society with an overriding purpose/end i. We are not extremely inclined to leave the state of nature (we need to be incentivized) ii. We leave the state of nature and enter into political society in order to secure the engagement of our natural rights of life, liberty and property iii. Purpose of government 1. To protect these rights that are left unsecured in the state of nature iv. Law through consent: direct or through representatives v. Government cannot rule by decree, rather through accepted legislative, judicial and executive procedures f. Legitimacy of Government comes from what? i. Exercise of political power is only legitimate if it seeks to secure our natural rights II. Property a. What is it? i. That which cannot be taken away without consent 1. Unless due process is applied b. Original Use i. Individuals naturally live in a communal state ii. Originally given for the communal good iii. In the state of nature, if all is held in common, no individual can rightly take away from the earth without unanimous consent c. Problem: how could there be individuated property rights (i.e. exclusive use rights)? i. Need to individuate property because of its necessity to human preservation 1. Not doing so infringes on natural right to life/self-preservation ii. Problem with consent 1. Need unanimous consent of all other individuals a. Not a practical solution iii. There must be some other way of acquisition of exclusive use rights 1. The natural way of acquiring property is by mixing your labor with it a. Has to be in a way that conforms to self-preservation b. However, there are two limits to this d. Solution i. Two limits/Two provisos 1. No spoilage proviso a. If you close off a piece of land and cultivate it (thus mixing your labor), you can enjoy your labor if only you use what you can use (waste = theft) 2. Sufficiency proviso a. As much as good for everyone b. You can take out of the common only if you leave as much opportunity for everyone else to do the same e. Money i. At some point, it becomes impossible to accommodate the sufficiency proviso 1. Scarce resources ii. With the introduction of money, you have the possibility of accumulation without violating both provisos 1. No more “natural” limit because money does not spoil f. Only Natural Right remaining is: Natural Right to Subsistence g. We enter into political society because the natural root of acquiring goods from the common has been closed off to us III. Consent a. Locke’s Theory of Consent: an act of releasing a duty or obligation. i. Consent is important because it reconciles obligation with one’s own free will 1. Thus, it does not infringe on freedom b. Express Consent i. Communicating to others your intention of taking on an obligation 1. It is explicit ii. Consequence of making you: Member of Society + Permanent Political Obligation c. Tacit Consent i. Living in a society and enjoying its benefits ii. Taking on obligations through your actions, not direct consent iii. Consequence: Temporary Political Obligations d. Is tacit consent plausible? i. Analysis of promise-making 1. Why does promise making create an obligation? 2. The institution of promise making is justified by the benefits it produces for people and society ii. Conditions for promise/consent to work: 1. Intentionality: consent must be given intentionally and knowingly a. Be in a right state of mind 2. Voluntariness: consent must be given voluntarily a. Not by duress or pressure iii. How can we justify the institutional of tacit consent? 1. Why would we accept such an institution? a. It would be too time consuming to explicitly consent to everything (not practical) 2. What valuable ends does it serve? a. Allows us to easily engage in our obligations 3. According to Locke, expressing dissent is leaving the state 4. Even if one hasn’t consented, they still retain obligations as citizens of the state 5. Do you have to be aware of all the laws of the state before consenting? iv. Conditions under which silence can indicate tacit consent 1. Situation clear 2. Definitive period 3. Obvious limit 4. Reasonable/easy 5. No grave consequences IV. Limited Government a. 3 Primary Threat to Individual’s Freedom i. Other individuals 1. Strong Government a. Establishes the rule of law and protects people from one another b. Strong legislative and executive = threat to individual rights and freedom ii. The government 1. Limited government a. Power must be dispersed to prevent a concentration of power b. Separation of powers c. Checks on government powers iii. Other organized groups in society 1. Corporate associations/organized groups 2. A strong state can remedy these sources of oppression and check their power b. Provisions for the dissolution of government i. Under two conditions 1. Changes in legislature a. Corresponds to his Theory of Constitutional Government 2. Violation of Trust a. Corresponds to his Delegation Theory of Sovereignty and Theory of Trust c. Theory of Constitutional Government i. Purpose: dispersion of power 1. Legislative should be supreme. a. The executive should not hinder the legislative agenda/meetings of the legislature 2. Separation of powers and constitutional government is not enough for protecting the freedom and security of individuals ii. Institutional Mechanism: Divided Government V. Delegation Theory of Sovereignty: Theory of Trust and Revolution a. Institutional Mechanism: Rule of Law + Elections b. Dissolution of government when: i. Property is invaded by government without consent of representatives and contrary to laws 1. Causes the government to cease legitimacy ii. People, not the government, are the ultimate sovereignty 1. If trust has been lost/violated, sovereignty reverts back to the people iii. When the executive 1. Corrupts the legislative process a. Preventing the legislative from meeting 2. Electoral process 3. Fails to enforce the laws iv. Tyranny: the abuse of power beyond right/authority 1. Violation of the social contract 2. Government is dissolved, but society is still functioning a. We do not revert back to a state of nature b. We are now in a state of war with the government c. Right of Revolution i. A justified and legitimate right ii. Natural right to bear arms? iii. Freedom must be protected by the use of force iv. Locke theorized that the individual is sovereign 1. Not subject to the arbitrary will of another 2. Individual is prior to political society 3. Retains natural rights and property 4. Contrast of Greek view a. Individuals are imbedded into the polis, not independent of it 5. Delegation Theory a. Individuals delegate their sovereignty to political society I. Locke’s State of Nature v. Political Society: Ideological Function a. Property i. Two ways of individuating property 1. Natural route a. Mixing your labor b. Adhering to the spoilage and sufficiency provisos 2. Conventional route (in society) a. Consent b. No taxation without representation i. You cannot unilaterally appropriate ones property b. Political Society: Delegation Theory of Sovereignty i. Distinction between State of Nature and Political Society 1. In the state of nature, one can enforce natural law 2. This is not the case in political society c. BUT: Domestic politics is not the only context i. Interstate context: Locke says that in the beginning, everyone was in the state of nature 1. Political society had not been developed yet ii. 17 century colonial context in the Americas 1. Locke justified European colonial ambitions 2. Locke excluded indigenous peoples in this theory of property a. People could legitimately take indigenous land without consent b. “Mixing your labor” excluded indigenous forms of labor and land use II. Justification of the European Colonial Project a. Controversy in the New World over Title to Land b. Key Question: How to justify European title or sovereignty over lands in the New World? i. Traditional Justification 1. Appeals to principles of defense and occupation 2. Royal charters, papal proclamations 3. Ignored native occupation of these lands ii. Two Rival Views of Sovereignty among European Settlers 1. Aboriginal self-understanding a. Aboriginals understood that they had claim to the land based on tradition and religious use of the land b. Communal property rights shared by tribe 2. Prevalent view amongst settlers iii. Treaties between natives and European powers gave Europeans permission to use the land and trade 1. To coexist and mutually benefit iv. Quarrel between 2 rival views III. Locke: Aboriginals are in a State of Nature a. What about Aboriginal modes of government and property? i. Political society 1. Locke regarded indigenous forms of government as inferior to European ones a. They do not have a separation of powers and very few forms of organizational government ii. Property 1. Locke believed that they were not mixing their labor in the proper manner a. Thus, they do not have property rights to this land iii. Aboriginals are still living in a state of nature b. 2 ideological functions of America: State of Nature i. Disregard Aboriginal Political Society ii. If someone violates the state of nature, individuals have the right to use the laws of nature 1. As punishment, it is legitimate to either: a. Kill b. Enslave (sparing their life) 2. When needed, Europeans could argue that nations were violating a state of nature and the laws of nature iii. Could deny any aboriginal property Questions What are the ends (purposes) of political society according to Locke? What do we think of the role of the individual and individual rights in Locke? How do these come into conflict with political life? [Contrast with Socrates, Antigone] Legitimate Political Authority Legitimacy via the collective exercise of popular sovereignty: Democracy Rousseau (Social Contract) I. Legitimacy of the Exercise of Political Power: How? a. Natural Freedom i. Present in the state of nature where this is no “natural authority” ii. “By nature, we are free and equal” b. The only way to legitimize rule by others is through a Social Contract i. Legitimacy comes from securing our freedom c. What could this new freedom be? i. In state of nature, natural freedom comes from 1. Independence from others’ will and self sufficiency 2. Nature is abundant enough to satisfy all our needs ii. Problem: in society, it is no longer possible to be independent iii. Not necessarily: 1. Our freedom is not always compromised when dependent on others 2. Our freedom is compromised by personal dependence a. The will of a particular other person 3. Why is it that we cannot be independent? a. Our powers have become specialized b. Our capacities have changed due to a division of labor in civilized society 4. Psychologically, our dependence has become cultivated as environmental/social interactions increase a. We become physically and psychologically dependent d. General Will i. Since we cannot revert back to the state of nature, perhaps we can structure society so that we are not dependent on a particular will, rather the general will of society 1. Eventhough you are dependent, you do not remain personally dependent 2. Eliminate personal dependence to arbitrary, political institutions (eg: monarchs) 3. Live under laws that reflect the general will a. The only way to be truly free is if these laws reflect your will, otherwise you are not ii. Laws have to express the general will of the political community 1. Equates to the legitimacy of political society e. Social dependence i. Laws have to be structured so that one is not dependent on an individual’s will 1. Again, eliminate personal dependence ii. You cannot fully get rid of dependence 1. But you can generalize dependence by appealing to a general will iii. Republican will 1. Personal will undermines the general will 2. Subordinating your personal will to the general will is what you makes you a good, republican citizen II. What is the Nature of the Political Community established by the Social Contract? a. The Social Contract i. Establishes a community with a general will that is the source of law ii. People are the source of legitimate authority 1. Notion of popular sovereignty iii. People themselves remain Sovereign: No Representatives 1. Not only are people sovereign, they must remain sovereign a. Cannot give it up to those who would legislate for them b. Sovereignty stays and remains with the people 2. Traditional View of the Social Contract: Doctrine of Double Contract a. Contract by which we form a political community b. Pact/contract of submission with confers sovereign power to a group of leaders 3. Rousseau: rejects doctrine of double contract iv. Complete alienation of individual’s powers to the community 1. This is not a loss, as you are giving it up for the sake of the common good 2. The general will is your, personal will b. Question: how to protect the individual from the power of the political community? i. Rousseau’s Solution: Political rule via the General Will and Laws 1. Political rule cannot be through decree 2. Laws must reflect the general will ii. Source of law is the general will and object of law must be the general will 1. Law cannot single out or a target a particular individual or minority of people a. This undermines the general will c. Contrast with Locke i. Locke: legitimacy from limitation on exercise of political power 1. Protection of individual rights ii. Rousseau: legitimacy from reflecting the general will of the people 1. Something all individuals share in common 2. People as a whole, are sovereign 3. Rousseau does not think we should have laws that protect individual rights a. He Is not a theorist of limited government, rather sovereign government 4. Law has to be general in source and general in its object iii. Legitimacy argument 1. Locke: natural rights are pre-political a. If a government infringes upon them, it has destroyed legitimacy 2. Rousseau: legitimacy = sovereignty of general will III. What is the General Will? a. What we will together in common in our capacity as citizens of the political community b. Preconditions for the General Will to Exist i. Background Presupposition: common interests 1. End of general will is to provide for the common good ii. Material precondition: 1. Relative economic equality 2. There cannot be freedom without economic equality 3. This can be traced to the roots of the French Revolution 4. Social divisions b/w rich and poor create a conflict of interests a. Undermines the general will 5. Money corrupts the political process a. Politics cannot be run by the wills of the wealthy iii. Cultural precondition: 1. Shared values/cultural homogeny a. Breeds common interests that society can work towards b. Values include republican virtue (patriotism) i. Willing to sacrifice personal will for the sake of the political community (contract to Thoreau) iv. Institutional Requirements 1. No partial associations in the legislative process a. No factions, interest groups, political parties b. This undermines grounding the law in the general will i. Encroachment of political wills c. Laws shouldn’t reflect particular interests IV. Two issues for Rousseau a. Capture of the state by particular wills b. Potential for distortion of the aggregation process V. Additional Notes on Rousseau a. If there is debate among the citizenry, this means that the republic has been corrupted i. This means that there is no general will and people have failed to come to a general will ii. We lack necessary virtue iii. Sign of corruption and division in the political arena b. Power of Rhetoric i. Content without substance ii. Orators can easily rile up a crowd 1. They mislead the people and corrupt the general will iii. Importance of the “great legislator” 1. A solution to a problem that Rousseau is trying to draw attention to 2. The legislator has the function of inspiring a sense of collective identity that allows citizens to identify with the whole and move to support legislation that will benefit the general will 3. The figure cannot have vested interest for one particular group a. Not bought by special interests 4. Acts for the good of the general will 5. Ideally, should be an outsider a. An impartial foreigner b. Foreigners don’t have vested interest in the political realm of domestic affairs VI. Summary of Principles of Political Right plus Questions a. Reconciliation of political rule with freedom i. Republican freedom 1. Individual is sovereign a. Structural independence b. Not bound to arbitrary wills of others in power 2. Means living under freedom based on laws that you helped create (directly or indirectly) b. What happens to individuals in the minority? Legitimate Political Authority Legitimacy via the collective exercise of popular sovereignty: Democracy Sieyes (What is the Third Estate?) I. France: Ancien Regime (Before the French Revolution of 1789) a. Class structure: 3 estates a. The Clergy 1. Owns 10% of French land 2. Tax exempt 3. Catholic Church has economic power b. The Nobility 1. Noblesse d’eppe a. Inherently aristocratic by lineage 2. Noblesse de robe a. Recently acquired aristocratic title through the purchase of their title c. The Third Estate 1. 97% of the population 2. Includes urban/poorer classes, peasants, working class 3. Also includes bourgeoisie (high class of the Third Estate) b. Political Structure: Absolute Monarchy a. Parlements: courts run by the aristocracy 1. “Independent from centralized monarchy” II. French Revolution 1789 a. Financial and economic issues in France a. General societal unrest and discontent b. Aristocratic Revolt a. Louis XVI calls for the convening of the Estates General 1. Hasn’t been called since 1614 2. Representatives from each Estate 3. Proposed reforms 4. Debate: vote by head v. vote by estate c. 1789 a. August 4: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen 1. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity 2. Storming of Louis’ palace in Versailles b. New Regime 1. Suppression of the old order 2. Nationalization and redistribution of Church land III. Attack on the privileges of the Aristocracy (Nobility and Clergy): Defense of Equality a. In the Ancient Regime, the Aristocracy enjoys: 1. Different political rights a. Political offices and courts were run by the aristocracy b. First 2 estates were over represented in the Estates General 2. Different civil rights a. Penalties for crimes were more lenient for aristocrats i. Unequal application of law b. Sieyes: Defense of Equality 1. Normative Thesis a. Equality under the law and equal political and civil rights before the law i. Privilege should be absent from law c. Argument or Justification for the Equality Thesis: Unified General Will of the Nation 1. A political justification a. Make reference to Sieyes’ view on legitimate political and legal institutions i. Exercise of political power must be legitimized 2. Society v. Politics a. In the social realm, people pursue private affairs b. In the political realm, people pursue political affairs 3. The problem with civil and political privileges a. Create divergent interests i. People who have privilege have different interests 1. Undermines the political/collective will b. Political expression of private interests i. Completely illegitimate in the political realm c. Citizenship i. Equality is the basis of citizenship ii. Privilege places you outside of the nation 1. Outside the collective will d. Politics must be based on the unified will of the nation 4. Explains why
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