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The Role of Government Hobbes

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1 The Role of Government Hobbes
Justice only exists though government Life without government is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” Thoreau: “That government is best which governs least”

2 Political Philosophies
Justification of government The nature of justice The individual versus the state Civil disobedience

3 Anarchism Naive anarchism: people can live in peace without government
Militant anarchism: government is unjustified and must be overthrown Theoretical anarchism: government has no legitimate authority, but may be necessary

4 Robert Paul Wolff's In Defense of Anarchism
Authority means the right to command and to be obeyed An autonomous person makes moral decisions and lives by them An autonomous person cannot recognize an outside authority, such as the state

5 Social Contract Theory
Hobbes’ Leviathan Human nature is warlike Peace is achieved by forming contracts Locke’s An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent and End of Civil Government Some rights are inalienable Governments exist to protect our rights

6 The Question of Justice
Retributive justice: the proper allotment of punishment proportionate to the severity of a crime Distributive justice: the proper distribution of benefits and burdens

7 Justice as Merit Justice means people get what they are due according to their merit Plato Meritocracy: political power is proportional to merit Democracy is equivalent to mob rule Intellectual elite should rule society The Republic

8 Justice as Conformity to Natural Law
Natural law transcends human conventions All morally aware people can recognize natural law Aquinas’ Summa Theologica

9 Justice as Social Utility: John Stuart Mill
Principle of utility: a just society will minimize social harms and maximize social benefits Utilitarianism People maintain many conflicting theories of justice Utility should be the deciding factor

10 Justice as Fairness: John Rawls
People possessing merit are just lucky and should not be rewarded Criticism of utilitarianism: majority should not win at expense of minority Justice is accepted only if it is seen as fair

11 Rawls’ A Theory of Justice
Original Position: what if we could create our own society? Veil of ignorance: no one would know one’s social position in advance Principles of justice Equal liberty Fair equality of opportunity

12 A Feminist Critique of Rawls
Susan Moller Okin Justice, Gender, and the Family Rawls fails to address gender inequality What if those on the original position don’t know what sex they will be?

13 The Individual and the State
Extreme positions Anarchism Absolute totalitarianism Moderate positions Individualism Collectivism

14 Classical Liberalism Freedom of the individual
John Stuart Mill: On Liberty Power is only justifiable when used to prevent harm to others People must be free to seek happiness by their own methods

15 Marxism Economics is the root of human existence
Class struggle is constant through history Capitalism exploits the workers History is a dialectical process Capitalism will undermine itself and lead to communism

16 Marx’s Communist Manifesto
Society is based on the struggle of bourgeoisie and proletariat Calls for abolition of private property Philosophies are shaped by material existence Proletariat must wrest all capital from the bourgeoisie

17 Civil Disobedience An illegal action performed for the purpose of making a moral protest Must be public Protesters generally should be willing to accept consequences Generally nonviolent

18 The Case against Civil Disobedience
A violation of the social contract Majority rule Ends that do not justify the means Other alternatives

19 Plato's Crito Disobeying the law is exchanging evil for evil
A state cannot exist if the laws have no power By living in a place we agree to abide by its laws

20 The Case for Civil Disobedience
Preservation of moral integrity The duty to combat immorality A means of social progress No practical alternative Government may exceed its authority

21 Mohandas K. Gandhi Opposed discriminatory laws
Helped end British governance of India Nonviolent resistance - satyagraha

22 Gandhi’s Young India If a leader is unjust, the subjects have a duty to disobey Imprisonment is better than freedom won through acceptance of injustice Civil Disobedience must never descend into general lawlessness

23 Martin Luther King Jr. Helped overturn segregation laws and pass the Civil Rights Act Letter from Birmingham Jail Direct action is used to force negotiation An unjust law violates the moral law or law of God

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