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Rousseau And Marx: The Radical Critics

1507 words - 7 pages

Throughout history, each political view, philosophy, or theology created has been reviewed and criticized during its time. The Classical Liberal Tradition emerging from Feudalism has created critics too. Two critics, Rousseau and Marx criticize the Classical Liberal Tradition’s central elements and form their own argument and alternative to others of their time like Hobbes and Locke.
The Classical Liberal Tradition key elements consist of rights and the rights of nature. For classical liberals like Hobbes and Locke, everyone has rights from nature and laws of nature. With these natural rights, we could then establish government based on consent of the people; thus the people forming a democratic system. In the state of nature, we are all free, and we are all equal. These rights apply to everyone and unalienable. The Classical Liberal Tradition is freedom for all by nature, for everyone.
With a movement as such, there exists philosophers and like-minded thinkings of their time who were also Classical Liberals, but much more radical, disputing their influentialists and the like. Rousseau disagreed with key elements of the Classical Liberal Tradition. In The Social Contract, Rousseau pokes fun at other philosophies about the force, slavery, and other points from other popular philosophers at the time. Rousseau’s human nature depicts a different story. Rousseau states that we [human beings] are social creatures. Human beings are intersocial and interdependent. Since human beings depend on each other, human beings must be equal, and there cannot be slaves. Rousseau states, “Thus, in whatever light we view things, the right of slavery is found null, not only because it is unjustifiable but because it is absurd and has no meaning. The terms ‘slavery’ and ‘right’ contradict and exclude each other”. Rousseau finds that if humans are not equal, there cannot even begin to have a solution to other philosophies. Rousseau explains this ideas as, “If each individual could alienate himself, he could not alienate his descendants; for, being born men and free, their liberty is their own, and no person can dispose of it but they themselves”, further stating to needing a solution.
Rousseau also attacks Classical Liberals on the idea of brute force. The section makes remarks that there is no rights when one is weaker to the other, yet takes away the rights with no justification. This revolves around the established principle, which Rousseau finds inherently wrong. Rousseau states, “Hence the right of the strongest--aright which seems ironical in appearance, but is really established on principle. But shall we never have an explanation of this term? Force is a physical power; I do not see what morality can result from its effects”. If we continue to use force as a means of unjustified power we will have again, master-slave relationship. Rousseau’s conclusion on the continuation of force is explained as, “For, if we admit that force constitutes right, the effect...

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