This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: te Medina, Professor of Philosophy, Bergen Community College, SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORIES: POLITICAL OBLIGATION OR ANARCHY?, 1990, p.147. If we agree that political obligation should be understood as a self-assumed obligation that we voluntarily impose on ourselves, as when we promise to do something, or when we enter into a contractual relation, then most people in society do not appear to be bound by this political obligation. Even naturalized citizens do not promise to obey the state and its institutions unconditionally, since they cannot give up moral agency on demand, as if selling themselves into slavery. One should only consent to do that which is morally acceptable. Individuals can always assent to do something morally wrong, but it does not follow that they are morally obliged to do so. On the contrary, once we recognize that we have promised to do something immoral, we ought not to fulfill our promise. ECOLOGICAL SCARCITY UNDERMINES SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY William Ophuls, former Professor of Political Science, Northwestern and A. Stephen Boyan, Professor of Political Science, University of Maryland, ECOLOGY AND THE POLITICS OF SCARCITY REVISITED, 1992, p.216. Ecological scarcity thus forces us to confront once again, perhaps in a particularly acute form, the hard realities and cruel dilemmas of classical politics, from which four centuries of abnormal abundance have shielded us. As a result, we shall have to reexamine fundamental political questions in the light of ecology and construct a new steady-state paradigm of politics based on ecological premises instead of on the individualistic, hedonistic, materialistic, and anthropocentric premises of bourgeois "social contract" theory (see Box 22). The alternative is to let the shape of the steady-state paradigm be decided for us by accepting the outcome of current trends toward technocracy. THE SOCIAL CONTRACT IS ENVIRONMENTALLY UNSUSTAINABLE William Ophuls, former Professor of Political Science, Northwestern and A. Stephen Boyan, Professor of Pol...
View Full Document
This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13