Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778, lived and wrote during arguably the most exhilarating period in the intellectual history of modern France – the Enlightenment. He was one of the bright lights of this intellectual movement, contributing to articles to Diderot`s Encyclopedia and participating in the Paris Salons, where the great intellectual questions of his time were pursued. This racial contract is, to some extent, a meta-contract that determines the limits of personality and the parameters of inclusion and exclusion in all the other contracts that follow. It manifests itself both formally and informally. It is an agreement, originally between European men in early modern times, to identify themselves as “white” and therefore fully human and to identify all others, especially the natives with whom they began to come into contact, as “others”: non-white and therefore not completely human. Thus, race is not only a social construct, as others have argued, it is above all a political construct created to serve a particular political goal and the political goals of a particular group. The treaty allows some people to treat others, as well as the land they inhabit, as resources that need to be exploited. The enslavement of millions of Africans and the appropriation of America by those who inhabited them are examples of this racial treaty that has been at work throughout history (such as Locke`s claim that Native Americans did not own the land on which they lived because they did not cultivate it and therefore did not own it). This contract is not hypothetical, as Hobbes describes the contract argued in his Leviathan. It is a real contract or a set of contracts concluded by real men of history. It is found in documents such as papal bulls and Locke`s writings on Native Americans and has been used in historical events such as Europeans` voyages of discovery and colonization of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
The racial treaty allows and justifies certain people, by virtue of their alleged superiority, to exploit the peoples, lands and resources of other races. For Rousseau, this means an extremely strong and direct form of democracy. You cannot transfer your will to someone else to do what you think is right, as you do in representative democracies. On the contrary, the general will depends on the fact that the whole democratic body, each individual citizen, meets regularly to decide together and at least almost unanimously how to live together, that is, which laws should be promulgated. Since it is composed only of individual wills, these private and individual wills must be composed regularly for the general will to continue. One implication of this is that the strong form of democracy, compatible with the general will, is only possible in relatively small states. People need to be able to identify with each other and at least know who they are. They cannot live in a vast area too dispersed to meet regularly, and they cannot live in such diverse geographical circumstances that they cannot be united under common laws.
(Could today`s United States fulfill Rousseau`s concept of democracy? That was not possible. Although the conditions for true democracy are strict, they are also the only way in which we can save ourselves after Rousseau and regain the freedom to which we are naturally entitled. The central assertion that social contract theory is approaching is that law and political order are not natural, but human creations. The social contract and the political order it creates are only the means to an end – the benefit of the individuals involved – and are legitimate only to the extent that they fulfill their part of the agreement. Hobbes argued that the government is not a party to the original treaty and that citizens are not obliged to submit to the government if it is too weak to act effectively to suppress factionism and civil unrest. According to other social contract theorists, if the government does not guarantee their natural rights (locke) or satisfy the best interests of society (called “general will” by Rousseau), citizens can withdraw their duty of obedience or change direction through elections or other means, including, if necessary, violence. Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable and that, therefore, God`s rule replaced governmental authority, while Rousseau believed that democracy (self-government) was the best way to ensure prosperity while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law. Locke`s concept of social contract was cited in the United States Declaration of Independence. Social contract theories were eclipsed in favor of utilitarianism, Hegelianism, and Marxism in the 19th century; they were built in the 20th century. == References ===== External links ===* Official website  The Buddhist king Asoka is said to have pleaded in his rock edicts for a broad and far-reaching social contract. Buddhist vinaya also reflects the social contracts expected of monks; Such a case is when the inhabitants of a particular city complain that monks are slaughtering sakas, the Buddha tells his monks that they must stop and give way to social norms.
One of the first critics of the theory of social contracts was Rousseau`s friend, the philosopher David Hume, who published an essay “Of Civil Liberty” in 1742. The second part of this essay, entitled “From the Original Treatise”, points out that the concept of the “social contract” is a convenient fiction: Epicurus seemed to be in the fourth century BC. J.-C. to have had a keen sense of the social contract, with justice and law rooted in mutual agreement and advantage, as these lines prove. among others, from his main teachings (see also Epicurean Ethics): Hobbes` political theory can be better understood if it is understood in two parts: his theory of human motivation, psychological egoism and his theory of the social contract, which is based on the hypothetical state of nature. Hobbes mainly has a certain theory of human nature that leads to a certain vision of morality and politics, as developed in his philosophical masterpiece Leviathan, published in 1651. The scientific revolution, with its important new discoveries that the universe could be both described and predicted in accordance with the universal laws of nature, greatly influenced Hobbes. He tried to provide a theory of human nature that would match the discoveries in the sciences of the inanimate universe. His psychological theory is therefore shaped by the mechanism, the general idea that everything in the universe is created only by moving matter.
According to Hobbes, this also extends to human behavior. Human macrobehavior can rightly be described as the effect of certain types of microhavior, even though some of the latter behavior is invisible to us. Behaviors such as walking, talking and others are therefore themselves generated by other actions in us. And these other actions are themselves caused by the interaction of our body with other bodies, human or otherwise, which create in us certain chains of causes and effects and ultimately lead to human behavior that we can clearly observe. According to this view, we, including all our actions and decisions, are then just as explainable in relation to the universal laws of nature as the movements of celestial bodies. The gradual decay of memory can be explained, for example, by inertia. As more and more sensory information is presented to us, the residue of previous impressions “slows down” over time. From Hobbes` point of view, we are essentially very complicated organic machines that respond to the stimuli of the world mechanically and in accordance with the universal laws of human nature.
Carole Pateman`s 1988 book The Sexual Contract argues that beneath the myth of the idealized contract as described by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau lies a more fundamental contract about the relationship between men and women. .