POLISCI 1020E Chapter 2 - Justifying the state The State...

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Justifying the state The State Locke defined political power as the right to make laws, with the right too to punish those who fail to obey them Max Weber says: states possess a monopoly of legitimate violence Coercion is seen as primarily the state’s business All legitimate violence or coercion is undertaken or supervised by the state The state accepts the responsibility of violence We forfeit the right to protect ourselves only on the understanding that we do not need self-protection: the state will do what is necessary for us The state possesses two essential features It maintains a monopoly of legitimate coercion or violence It offers to protect everyone within its territory No state can really monopolize violence Nor can it protect everyone within its territory A state offers protection to all, but it sometimes fails to deliver it Many states ignore the minorities Minorities suffer from illegitimate violence from the state itself Persecution, purges, ethnic cleansing The goal of justification To show that there are universal political obligations To show that someone as the duty to obey the law Taxes To fight for the state Expose the enemies of the state Political obligation is the obligation to obey each law because it is the law, and not because it has some independent moral justification People occasionally think that what the law requires them to do is morally wrong Taxes The idea of universal political obligation is that it applies to all people who reside within the borders of the state The state could exempt certain people from certain laws (corruption) Everyone in the state is morally bound to follow its laws The Social Contract Voluntaristic obligation Defined by Locke: political power over me can be created only as a consequence of my voluntary acts Another person can have political power over me only if I have granted them that power Self assumption principle No one has any duties whatsoever unless they have assumed those duties Voluntarily undertaken them Locke’s problem: the existence of the state can be explained in voluntaristic terms Somehow, individuals have given the state its authority over them
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People have a natural right to freedom, so political power can be brought into existence only though their own consent Without consent, a state cannot exercise political power over people Social contract satisfies universalism: everyone must be obligated and voluntarism: consent Social contract is well in theory, but there is not historical evidence of such contracts Rousseau: savages would make no such agreements
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This note was uploaded on 10/16/2011 for the course ENGLISH 101 taught by Professor Parkin during the Summer '11 term at Wilfred Laurier University .

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POLISCI 1020E Chapter 2 - Justifying the state The State...

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