It has been remarked by bertrand russell that the

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It has been remarked by Bertrand Russell that the doctrines enshrined in his Social Contract,“though they pay lip service to democracy, tend to the justification of the totalitarian state.”Dr. McDoughall defines General Will as “The General Will is conceived as coming to be whenevery individual in a group or society has a conception or idea of the group as a whole andidentifies his good with the good of that whole.”Rousseau explains that by the free act of those who enter into an agreement, all their powers andrights vested in the community and their respective wills are superseded by the General Will. Hewas of the view that man possesses two kinds of wills:1.Actual Will:It is related to the will of the individuals. It is irrational will of man. This Will makes self-confined and self centered.2.Real Will:It is rational will of the individual. It always aims at general welfare of the society. It leads toeternal decision imparting self-satisfaction to the individual. It is based upon reason andrationality.Rousseau’s whole arguments depended upon the fact that a community of citizens is unique withits members, they neither make it nor have rights against it.Rousseau said, “The social order is a sacred right which is the basis of all other rights. ThePage35of108
Political Science (Paper 1)problem is to find a form of association which will defend and protect with the whole commonforce the person and goods of each associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all,may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before. Each of us puts his person and all hispower in common under the supreme direction of the General Will, and in our corporatecapacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.”Rousseau clearly distinguishes the General Will from will of the majority and the minority. TheGeneral Will may or may not coincide with any of these Wills; it may sometimes be coincidentwith the Will of an individual.Characteristics of the General Will:1.Unity:It is not self-contradictory. It is indivisible, because if it were divided it would not remainGeneral Will but would become Sectional Will.2.Unlimited:It is unlimited. Rousseau assigns absolute powers to his sovereign by following the Hobbes’s lineof action.3.Inalienable:The General Will and sovereignty are inalienable and undetectable.4.Un-representable:The General Will cannot be represented. That is why Rousseau laid the foundation of directdemocracy. The General Will can conveniently be realized in a small city state where thepopulation can assemble and pass laws for their interest. It does not admit of representativedemocracy.W. T. Jones appreciated Rousseau’s theory in these words, “The notion of the General Will is notonly the most central concept of Rousseau’s theory, it is also the most original, the mostinteresting, and historically the most important contribution which he made to political theory.”Criticism:1.

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