Analecto

22 de agosto de 2019

What I learned by reading “The Social Contract”.

Filed under: Livros, Notícias e política, Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , — Yurinho @ 15:28

The Social Contract” was written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Below, what I learned by reading his text.

  1. It is not politicians who write about politics: being in office, they validate their thinking with their actions, not words.
  2. If I were a politician, I would not write about politics; I would do politics.
  3. Everyone who participates in a society should reflect on politics.
  4. Dependence on family members is, at first, natural.
  5. The family may continue to exist when there is no longer dependence on each other, but in this case the family exists only by convention and not by necessity.
  6. No one gives up his freedom unless he gains something in return.
  7. If you have been a slave for a long time, you stop desiring freedom.
  8. The first slaves were enslaved by force, but the slaves who came later were enslaved by custom.
  9. Everyone has the right to rule, if they wanna compete and think they can do it.
  10. Any monarch who wants to avoid conspiracies, rebellions, or civil wars should get rid of his people.
  11. Obeying to force is not an act of morals, but of prudence.
  12. If disobedience is not an option, there is no morality.
  13. If the strongest is always right in his actions, then I have to be strong.
  14. I can only disobey the strong being stronger than him.
  15. You only sell yourself if you think you will profit from it.
  16. The king derives his subsistence from the people; we are the ones who keep the government alive.
  17. No one works for free.
  18. A war is always between governments, not between nations, as the people often don’t want war to happen.
  19. There is no such thing as full slavery.
  20. People came first, government came second.
  21. The social contract is the renunciation of natural freedom for the sake of a conventional freedom established by mutual agreement to obtain the benefits of life in society.
  22. There is a “general will,” manifest in the laws and enforced by the contract.
  23. It is unfair to have several rights and no duties.
  24. If you refuse to obey the general will of people, you will end up being dragged into doing só anyway.
  25. Society sets humans apart from other animals.
  26. There are two types of freedom: natural and civil.
  27. Civil liberties are characterized by private property.
  28. Obeying one’s own rules is freedom too.
  29. The first monarchs were not landlords, but lords of people.
  30. Nature has made everyone different, but the social contract implies making everyone equal, not by nature, but by law.
  31. The general will alone drives a society towards its common end, which is the welfare of all.
  32. If there is one thing everyone wants, the government must guarantee that thing to keep the people together.
  33. By pursuing satisfaction of these points of convergence of the will of the subjects, the general will, the government can pursue equality, for it will be literally attending to all.
  34. If you don’t fight something that is happening upon you, then you are consenting.
  35. The truth alone does not bring wealth.
  36. The general will can go the wrong way when people are led to desire what is bad for themselves.
  37. This can be done by lying to the people.
  38. General will is the sum of all wills, excluding those that contradict each other; this allows us to see what everyone wants.
  39. The government can’t order from a particular person an action that doesn’t serve everyone.
  40. Political decision implies the use of your own criteria of what makes a decision “good”.
  41. When deciding your vote, use only personal criteria.
  42. The general will always concerns the whole.
  43. To save our lives, we sometimes have to risk it.
  44. Lack of information can kill.
  45. If you violate the laws of your government, you are subject to punishment.
  46. On the other hand, if you don’t like the laws in your country, you can look for another country with laws that you like more.
  47. A government that kills many is a bad government.
  48. The more crimes committed, the more impunity; the more impunity, the more crimes committed.
  49. There is no country where there is no crime.
  50. Everyone has a sense of justice, but justice only happens if there is reciprocity.
  51. There are laws that favor the bad and harm the good.
  52. Natural laws are not civil laws.
  53. You cannot legislate for only one person.
  54. The act of governing implies making the human being act in an unnatural way.
  55. The wise will not be understood by the vulgar without adopting their language.
  56. There are too complex ideas to translate into colloquial language.
  57. Legislating is a very serious activity.
  58. Legislating is so serious that the first laws were inseparable from religion.
  59. One should not make laws that the people cannot accept.
  60. There are vicious nations with good laws that the subjects do not submit to.
  61. There are nations that thrive despite having horrible laws.
  62. The more people, the harder it is to keep everyone together.
  63. Big governments require levels of power: the president cannot rule the entire country alone if the country is huge.
  64. Countries that do not have enough resources are forced to conquer the territory of others.
  65. If the people are desperate, they will accept any law.
  66. The challenge of the law is not to establish a new good thing, but to destroy a known evil.
  67. Freedom cannot stand without equality: if everyone starts on equal terms, they are able to exercise their freedom in equal measure and no one can complain that they were at a disadvantage.
  68. No one should be so rich as to be able to buy another person or so poor to the point of selling themselves.
  69. Laws must ensure equality.
  70. If the country cannot produce its own wealth through agriculture, it should invest in other means of making money.
  71. Impunity allows criminals to legislate.
  72. The people can, by their desire, destroy good laws: if the people desire their destruction, who can stop them?
  73. All action depends on two elements: will and power.
  74. The will of the government is the legislative and the power of the government is the executive.
  75. When one power tries to act as the other (when the legislature tries to act as executive or vice versa) or when the people refuse to obey the laws, either despotism or anarchy occurs.
  76. The larger the people, the less political power each person has.
  77. The stronger the government, the less freedom people will have.
  78. Mathematics is not meant to measure political action.
  79. It is not the number of people that makes the revolution, but the action of that number, meaning that an intelligent minority can work great political changes.
  80. The ruler must watch over the interest of the people.
  81. If either the people or the government have to sacrifice themselves, let it be the government, not the people.
  82. The general will is sovereign.
  83. A desire is stronger the more it is personal.
  84. Because of this the general will imposes itself less than the private interest.
  85. If the government is handled by only one person, the temptation will be too great, the potential for corruption will be very high.
  86. A monarchy would be highly active.
  87. Each member of the government has political power in itself, but the people, while sovereign in a democratic government, have no political power unless they unite.
  88. If you divide the power into different people, not completely separate but dependent on each other, as in the democratic regime, there’s less risk of despotism.
  89. Even in a democratic government, not everyone participates in democracy.
  90. It is not good for the enforcer to be the legislator.
  91. People who can govern themselves don’t need a president, a monarch or a congress.
  92. Perfect democracy has never existed because of a variety of obstacles that make representative (not perfect) democracy more fitting.
  93. Luxury corrupts rich and poor.
  94. Democratic governments are always changing.
  95. Democracy is a perfect model and that is why it cannot be perfectly managed by imperfect beings, such as us, humans.
  96. In an aristocracy there are two general wills: that of the people and that of the rulers.
  97. Aristocracies can exist in three flavors: natural, elective and hereditary.
  98. The best man is not necessarily the richest, since wealth does not buy virtue.
  99. In politics, you have to make things change, but also give the impression that things aren’t changing.
  100. Monarchs rely on weak people: if the people came to not depend on a monarch anymore, they would overthrow him.
  101. Machiavelli’s work should be read by lay people to let them know how the rulers operate in order to defend themselves, as people, from political abuse perpetrated by the government.
  102. Those who strive to come to power by dubious means attest that they cannot rule by legitimate means.
  103. It is easier to conquer a territory than to manage it.
  104. The example of parents can be abandoned by the child depending on which way he wants to go.
  105. The best kings were not educated to be kings.
  106. If the government is bad and nothing can be done, the best you can do is to suffer until the end of the government’s term.
  107. The three forms of government do not always work in all territories: the monarchy will never work in certain countries, just as there are some who reject democracy.
  108. A country needs to accept the form of government that suits it best.
  109. The worker must make a profit from his work, or the country will be poor.
  110. When the government begins to fail, a revolution can put it back on track.
  111. The production surplus of a difficult task is smaller.
  112. Vegetarian diet is superior.
  113. It is possible to live better by eating less.
  114. The food from the hot places is more delicious.
  115. You can’t tell which type of government is the best, but you can tell when people are being well or badly governed.
  116. It is not possible to know which type of government is the best because one’s concept of “good governance” varies.
  117. Power tends to corrupt.
  118. Because of this phenomenon, there is no human government that lasts forever.
  119. This “natural death” of government can occur in two ways: when government is restricted (that is, when a democracy becomes an aristocracy or an aristocracy becomes a monarchy) or when government dissolves.
  120. When the government makes decisions outside the law or without consulting the people or when a member of the government usurps power for himself, a window for state overthrowing is open.
  121. In situations like this, the people are forced to obey, but they are not obliged, because no one can take from them the right to revolt.
  122. If the government dissolves, we go into anarchy.
  123. “Tyrant” is an illegitimate governor.
  124. The typical behavior of the despot (a tyrant who governs a democracy) is to act as if he were above the law.
  125. To do something well you must not try the impossible.
  126. Each political body has the causes of its own destruction embedded in itself.
  127. To make something stable, you have to give up your intentions of making it last forever.
  128. The human body is the work of nature, but the political body is the work of humans.

  129. It is possible to make the government last longer and longer, but it will eventually fall.

  130. Legislative power is the heart of government, while executive power is its brain.

  131. Not believing in freedom is the ideological slave certificate.

  132. One should not consider the future before considering the present.

  133. Freedom and tranquility do not always go together.

  134. If people are too busy in private business, it is because the government cannot provide enough for the people.

  135. Plenty of public services work against private businesses.

  136. If the government is bad, we may feel discouraged to vote.

  137. Good laws lead to better laws.

  138. Bad laws lead to worse laws.

  139. When people no longer care about the government, politics has died.

  140. If the people could speak for themselves, there would be no need to elect representatives to create laws.

  141. It is only a law if people follow it: it is no use making a law that everyone will break.

  142. Submitting to an unfair government is cowardice.

  143. Do not demand from others what you cannot do.

  144. No particular act should constitute law.

  145. Democratic government is the easiest to establish if none is in place.

  146. It would be interesting if any member of the executive power could be removed from there by the will of the people.

  147. To attack popular assemblies is to declare war against the people.

  148. It is possible to mask private interests under a mask of fighting for the public good.

  149. Freedom is inalienable to the human being.

  150. If there is doubt about what the general will wants, a poll should be enough.

  151. A bad government will last long, unless it encounters opposition.

  152. The ostentation of wealth can become a cause of poverty.

  153. When a government becomes corrupt, it can only subsist in two ways: either corruption is removed (purification) or corrupt laws are enacted (total decay).

  154. Too many crimes reveal useless laws.

  155. The problems of Rome did not come from Rome itself, but from its army.

  156. The first governments were theocratic.

  157. This is because, in the government of nature, it seemed inconceivable that a man could become lord over fellow men; only a superhuman being should rule the men.

  158. Although there are similar gods among different peoples, they are not the same god manifesting to different peoples.

  159. The reason Christians are persecuted is that Jesus separated religion and government.

  160. But over time Christianity has become corrupted.

  161. In Europe, after Christianity, religion and politics are different things.

  162. The fusion of church and government creates a situation in which it is effectively the church that rules, because it is worse to go to Hell than to jail.

  163. Religion is dangerous to government: neighborly love, humility, detachment from material goods, reluctance to kill, chastity, government has an interest in the opposite of all these things.

  164. Jesus’ precepts, for example, work against the economy, population growth, and the army.

  165. By merging religion and government, the believer comes to see other nations, which have different laws, as enemies of God.

  166. Christianity is not the religion preached by Jesus.

  167. A society of true Christians would not last long, because neighboring nations would take advantage of their military weakness (a Christian cannot kill).

  168. “Republic” and “Christian” are mutually exclusive terms: it is not possible to imagine that a government based on the teachings of Jesus can survive, especially in a war situation.

  169. Forming an army to kill in a war is to violate the Christian precept “thou shall not kill”.

  170. A citizen’s soul isn’t the government’s business.

  171. The government needs to make laws that encourage sociability among citizens.

  172. Government cannot compel anyone to believe in a religion because faith is a personal thing.

  173. If there is religious intolerance in the country, the priests of the religions with most followers become rulers, because in a situation where religions are fighting, the priests have increased credit.

  174. The priest who says that only those in his church will be saved is putting himself above the local political ruler (such as the president or the congress).

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