According to Rousseau, social contract is an agreement between people that serves as a basis of their staying or not staying together, working or not working together, agreeing or not agreeing to something or a certain state or situation in their society. Social contract forms the basis on which many relationships in the society exist in situations where there are rulers and their subjects. The agreement to do something together or to agree to something in the society where there is leadership and subjects in the society is totally based on ones will and right to either be a ruler or a subject. However, the social contract that exists between people is not voluntary always as many times people are forced to get into social contract by circumstances. In social contract therefore, there are conventions that govern the existence of people in the patterns in which they exist. This is a clear indication that the life of human beings is governed by conventions that are largely held by the societies in which they live. That determines their behavior as well as their positions in the society. The conventions also determine how the members of the society operate whether
The Hidden Meaning in Rousseaus Social Contract
Rousseau explains the social contract by looking at the conventions on which the society operates. He does this by first of all offering an explanation of what the society is. According to him, the first society is the family. The family, as a societal unit is a symbol of the master or ruler and his subjects. According to Rousseau, every person is born free but forever lives in chains. Therefore explaining how this twist comes about is one of the most difficult tasks that the society has. The children in the family remain attached to their parents for preservation until they grow and become of age to an extent of being able to take care of themselves (Rousseau, 1762). When this time comes, they detach from their parents and they can decide to remain in good relationship with their parents or remain independent. This means that their continued working together with their parents is totally under their discretion to decide. The parent in this analogy resembles the ruler while the children represent the subjects. This means that each and every individual, just like the children in the society, has his or her own liberty which gives him or her, the right to do whatever he or she deems right. What this means is therefore that the administration in the leadership of the people in the society has no right t force people to obey it. The people have the right to obey or fail to obey because they are born and remain free even though some administrations might want to force the people to obeying them.
The agreement of children to remain in touch with their parents is only guided by the societal conventions that guide the behavior of the children. This implies that the obedience and loyalty of the people to the administration of the day remains guided by the exiting requirements of the society to do so. The rules and the regulations put in place to ensure this also help in ensuring that they people in the society obeys the administration of the day. However, even though that is the case, each and every member is at liberty to choose to obey or not to abbey because each and every person is capable of having different thoughts and opinions that generally differ from the general opinions the general public in the society. This does not necessarily mean that they are insane, but means that they look at issue in the society from a different perspective from that generally held by the public. This implies that the administration of the day should therefore give a listening ear to those who express their minds freely and try to reason out with them. That is what the social contract works in the society.
The relationship between the rulers and their subjects or a master and his or her subjects in the society is built on the assumptions that the subjects have accepted to be ruled by the ruler or the master. The agreement according to Rousseau is a convention based on their acceptance to be ruled and to obey the administration of the ruler. This also implies that if the subjects find it difficult to accept the administration under which they operate, they have the right to refute and withdraw their obedience and loyalty to their master because it is out of free will that they become subjects to their rulers. They are therefore at liberty to do become subjects or cease to be subjects either voluntarily or involuntarily. The hidden message behind this particular claim that Jean makes is that the it reaches a time when the oppressed in the society say enough is enough to administrators and leaders who subject them to misery through all sorts of unacceptable practices. This is the time that the less privileged find the space to achieve redemption from the hands of the oppressing rulers and masters. This is what brings about revolutions in the society. Leaders should therefore be aware that even though their subjects may look weak and meek, they have the capability and capacity of rendering them useless in the society by removing them from power. This happens when the social contract that exist between them and their masters or rulers becomes strained and the conventions fail to keep them continuously obedient to their masters and leaders in the society.
In trying to offer the meaning f the term alienation in human society, Jean explains that alienation is a situation where someone sells his or her liberty for benefit to the powers that be. By this, Jean clearly shows that the liberty of the members of the society cab be sold but for a return that is advantageous to them. This means that, if the members of the society accept to be subjects to ruler or a master in the society, they do so because they know that they are bound to enjoy benefits from the administration of their master to whom they submit. This means that the state of the society will therefore remain so as long as the advantages are enjoyed by the subjects of the rulers of the day in the society. The hidden meaning in this assertion is that leaders have a duty to fulfill to their subjects and to those who submit to their leadership in the society. They have a duty to ensure that the lives of the people they lead are taken care of fully to an extent that the people can be able to appreciate their leadership and take them in and accept their leadership to continue reigning on them. The benefit that the subjects expect from their leaders is the protection and the proper allocation of resources in a manner that benefits all the subjects. If this fails to happen, especially in a situation where leaders share the resources in a biased way, the subjects being ruled will definitely retaliate and withdraw their support for the leaders. This explains situations where the people ouster leaders from power forcefully because they become discontented by their behavior and practices.
On the reality of the situations of the society, Jean has it that wars are not fought in a manner that men fight against other men. Instead wars are fought on the basis of state against state. Jean argues that the principle of reality provides the basis on which states fight against the defendants of another state. And immediately one state is defeated and its men surrender to the winning state, they cease to be enemies and therefore no one has the right to take the lives of the men who have surrendered. The hidden message behind this argument is that the powerful states of the world in the name of superpowers do not need to continue pressing down the developing countries after depriving them of their own wealth through colonialism or war against them. The superpowers therefore have no powers over the states that are not yet developed to their states economically. This means that, they need not to have them crippled by putting all sorts of sanctions on them but they need to support such states to ensure that they recover. This is because they have already surrendered their situation and accepted to be subordinate to the powers that be and are therefore not enemies but have their own independent rights to run operate independently.
Commenting on the iconic leaders in our society, Rousseau argues that a ruler or a master has his own selfish interests even if he or she has millions under his or her command as subjects. This means that each and every person has his own interests and so are administrators and rulers as well as masters. These interests are however private and can be used to manipulate the rest of the members of the society depending on how well other members of the society get convinced by these private interests. The private interests will always surpass the interests of others in the administrators. By saying this, Rousseau seems to be justifying the inhuman acts of the administrators and rulers of the society. He justifies the evil acts of killing and corruption as well as theft of the public property by those in power. The question therefore remains where can the society and the powerless in the society go for survival if those in power still their property in the name of satisfying their individual private interests. This is a controversy but it is clear that Rousseau argued that the conventions that bring about the social contract between rulers and their subjects present advantages to both the ruler and the subjects of those rulers in the society. The agreement to become subjects and submit to a ruler by the members of the society is totally out of their discretion and this means that they can break the contract any time when they feel that the contract that exists between them and their rulers is no longer advantageous to them.
The implication of the whole scenario is that the even though the leaders might have their own selfish interests, there activities to satisfy their private interests should also make sure that their subjects are well catered for by ensuring that public resources are used both to satisfy the interest of the leaders or administrators and also the interests of the subjects being ruled. This is the only way of achieving societal equilibrium where each and every person is happy with whatever leaders do in the society. Failure to use public resources for both the benefit of the leaders and of the subjects in the society will destabilize and dissolve the social contract that may exist between the two parties and lead to things like rebellion of the existing powers. This is what breaks the links between the people and their rulers hence bringing political instability and fights between those who support the leaders with those who rebel against the leadership of the day. It is therefore prudent for leaders to understand that in whatever way they use public resources, the results should be beneficial to the society at large apart from being beneficial to them and their administrators in the leadership of the day.
However, it should be noted that taking care of the general opinion is different from taking the opinion of all. This implies that, leaders and rulers should make sure that each and every individuals opinions are taken into account with regard to how the public resources are utilized in a society. This is because, the general opinion only represents the general will of the people but is not all inclusive of all the opinions of each and every ,member of the society. There is often a great deal of difference between the will of all and the general will; the latter considers only the common interest, while the former takes private interest into account, and is no more than a sum of particular wills (Rousseau, 1762). This therefore means that leaders need to trade carefully in their...
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