Constitution - Constitution Tuesday September 7 2010 Social...

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Constitution Tuesday, September 7, 2010 Social contract theory - Notion that government arises from the consent of the governed - Social contract: pact that brings a people out of anarchy and into some form of government - Change from rule by divine right/inherent hierarchy - Thought experiment: state of nature o What if people were governed only by own human nature? o Doesn’t need to be a historical reality Hobbs - Dim view of human nature - Indifference to each other, maybe hostility - Narrow self-interest - Therefore state of nature dangerous place - Each of us has natural rights - Most important: self-preservation - I can do what I think is necessary to keep myself self o Including killing you before you kill me o You weren’t going to come after me? Well, tough Hobbs’ solution - Collective action problem o We all want to be safe from violent death. How? - By creating a social contract o We each agree to give our self-defence power to the King o We each agree to submit to the King - Hokey? Real life examples? The leviathan - What can the King do? o Whatever he wants o No control over the sovereign - Contract isn’t between me and the King - Contract is between me and you - Therefore revolution is illegitimate, wrong o Revolution is crime against everyone else in the Contract Locke - Starts with different state of nature - Arrives at different conclusions - People generally okay, but are a few bad apples - No unrestricted right of self defence o Must give people who wrong you a fair trial, etc - State of nature inconvenient, not dangerous bloodbath Inconveniences - Everyone has to protect his/her own rights (property, speech, etc) – difficult - No unbiased and fair way to settle disputes (everyone is own judge)
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- Without collective action, we get just rule by the strongest Locke’s solution - Same collective action problem (but less dire) - How to avoid inconveniences? - Form government o Hire someone to protect our rights Lockean government - Contract is between people and government - King (or government) has duties and limits - Therefore is right to revolution - Look at Declaration of Independence - Limited government Articles of Confederation - First attempt at “national” government - Follow-on from prewar/early-Revolutionary Continental Congresses - Problem: national government was too weak
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Constitution - Constitution Tuesday September 7 2010 Social...

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