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Elizabeth Warren on the social contract

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1 Elizabeth Warren on the social contract

2 "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own – nobody
"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own – nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory - and hire someone to protect against this - because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless - keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." Elizabeth Warren

3 What is a social contract?

4 Hobbes' Philosophy Human life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes has a dim view of humanity. In a state of nature, human beings are constantly at war with each other due to fear and greed. Humans need a strong sovereign (a ruler or state) to keep them secure and stable. People agree to a social contract with the sovereign in order to ensure their safety and survival. They sacrifice their own freedom for security.

5 Locke's Philosophy Humans are tabula rasa, or “blank slates” at birth – experiences determine a person's character rather than nature. Human beings form social contracts between ruler and ruled, true, but not because they're naturally wicked creatures who would kill each other without those contracts. People have a natural right to life, liberty, and property; government exists to secure those rights.

6 Locke's Philosophy, continued
If a government fails to secure those rights or infringes upon them, then it has broken the social contract and the people have the right to dissolve the government in response, in order to form a new one better suited to their needs. Locke grounds his theories on government in rationalism; people are blank slates because all information is received through the senses. People need freedom of thought, and government should be limited to protection functions in order to secure that freedom.

7 Hobbes and Locke Both Hobbes and Locke used the concept of the state of nature – a theoretical state of human beings without civilization – to illustrate why social contracts originally formed. Both understood that without the structure of society, people were vulnerable to attack and theft. Both used secular justifications for political authority, rather than the religious mandate of the “divine right of kings.” While not anti- monarchy, they saw no reason to believe that human rulers received their authority from God.

8 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

9 The Social Contract Vocabulary:
Powers: Natural human abilities Without reservation: Freely, without limitation Corporate: Of a collection of people Tacitly: Unspoken Commensurable: Measurable by a common standard; proportionate Proprietorship: Ownership, ability to control Natural liberty: Freedom in the state of nature Civil liberty: Freedom in the general will Moral liberty: Freedom from selfish impulses Possession: Ownership by force Property: Ownership by right

10 What is Rousseau's idea of the social contract?

11 * What does one lose and what does one gain in Rousseau's social contract?

12 * How does Rousseau's idea of the social contract differ from that of Hobbes or Locke?

13 Who makes the decisions in Rousseau's model of society?

14 What is a state of nature?

15 What does Rousseau have to say about the state of nature
* What does Rousseau have to say about the state of nature? Is his view of the natural state of human beings any different from Hobbes' or Locke's view?

16 Which is more important to Rousseau – the individual or the community?

17 What is the general will?

18 * How do you deal with someone who isn't obeying the general will in Rousseau's model?

19 What is freedom, according to Rousseau?

20 How does obedience to the general will give freedom
* How does obedience to the general will give freedom? What is one free from in Rousseau's model of the social contract?

21 Charles Louis de Secondat de Montesquieu (1689-1755)

22 The Spirit of Laws Vocabulary:
Executive: The sovereign, the ruler of the government Legislature: The body of advisers who help the executive rule Entertain: Consider Encroachment: Overstepping one's limits Despotic: Tyrannical, power hungry

23 What is the difference between executive and legislative power?

24 What does an executive do?

25 * Why do you think Montesquieu believes that executive power should be in the hands of a single person? Why should the executive be a monarch?

26 What does a legislative body do?

27 * Why do you think Montesquieu believes that legislative power should be in the hands of many people, rather than just one?

28 What are some of the risks of having an executive unchecked by a legislature?

29 What are some of the risks of having a legislative body unchecked by an executive?

30 * Why is it important for there to be a separation of powers in government?

31 * Why do you think Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Montesquieu all made their arguments in reference to laws? What is the purpose of laws?

32 What is the relationship between laws and the four themes of the Enlightenment?

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