Values File

One should only consent to do that which is morally

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Unformatted text preview: argues, and if God granted property in common, then it would require a unanimous agreement to take anything out of the common stock, or to institute an authority over them, a condition, in his view, that was simply impractical. SLHS Value File MOST PEOPLE NEVER CONSENT TO THE STATE'S AUTHORITY Vicente Medina, Professor of Philosophy, Bergen Community College, SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORIES: POLITICAL OBLIGATION OR ANARCHY?, 1990, p.150. If my analysis of political obligation is correct, then the large majority of people are not bound by (a social contract) it, although they may be bound to their community by their patriotic sentiments and their natural moral obligations. Most people are born as members of a particular political society (state), and they are never or hardly ever asked whether they voluntarily accept the state's authority and its benefits. Even those who argue that political obligations are generated through the "principle of fair play" fail in their quest for justification. UNREQUESTED SOCIAL BENEFITS DON'T GENERATE OBLIGATIONS Vicente Medina, Professor of Philosophy, Bergen Community College, SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORIES: POLITICAL OBLIGATION OR ANARCHY?, 1990, p.148-9. The fact that citizens in general receive benefits from the political community of which they are members cannot generate a serious obligation of gratitude. The reason is that the benefits we acquire in political society, like the benefits we acquire as members of a family, are hardly ever "voluntarily" accepted. Instead, such benefits are generally taken for granted. Most of the time we do not ask for these benefits, they are provided without our having requested them. In order for benefits to generate serious moral obligations, they must be requested and voluntarily accepted. Otherwise such benefits can be interpreted as "gifts" with no moral strings attached. Benefits thus provided by the political community (the state and its institutions) can never generate serious moral and political obligations. From these considerations it follows that one can never have a serious moral obligation of gratitude if one does not voluntarily request benefits. Whenever one requests benefits, one s...
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