The Social Contract
1 Tom Butler-Bowdon
NEW FULL DB (2.4M)
6 Henry Giroux
4 Jean Jacques Rousseau
3 Roger Scruton
2 Noam Chomsky
2 Joan Didion
2 Jean Baptiste Rousseau
2 H G Wells
2 Bren Brown
2 Albert Camus
1:reading ::: 50 Philosophy Classics: List of Books Covered: 1. Hannah Arendt - The Human Condition (1958) 2. Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics (4th century BC) 3. AJ Ayer - Language, Truth and Logic (1936) 4. Julian Baggini - The Ego Trick (2011) 5. Jean Baudrillard - Simulacra and Simulation (1981) 6. Simone de Beauvoir - The Second Sex (1952) 7. Jeremy Bentham - Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) 8. Henri Bergson - Creative Evolution (1911) 9. David Bohm - Wholeness and the Implicate Order (1980) 10. Noam Chomsky - Understanding Power (2002) 11. Cicero - On Duties (44 BC) 12. Confucius - Analects (5th century BC) 13. Rene Descartes - Meditations (1641) 14. Ralph Waldo Emerson - Fate (1860) 15. Epicurus - Letters (3rd century BC) 16. Michel Foucault - The Order of Things (1966) 17. Harry Frankfurt - On Bullshit (2005) 18. Sam Harris - Free Will (2012) 19. GWF Hegel - Phenomenology of Spirit (1803) 20. Martin Heidegger - Being and Time (1927) 21. Heraclitus - Fragments (6th century) 22. David Hume - An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) 23. William James - Pragmatism (1904) 24. Daniel Kahneman - Thinking: Fast and Slow (2011) 25. Immanuel Kant - Critique of Pure Reason (1781) 26. Soren Kierkegaard - Fear and Trembling (1843) 27. Saul Kripke - Naming and Necessity (1972) 28. Thomas Kuhn - The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) 29. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - Theodicy (1710) 30. John Locke - An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) 31. Marshall McLuhan - The Medium is the Massage (1967) 32. Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince (1532) 33. John Stuart Mill - On Liberty (1859) 34. Michel de Montaigne - Essays (1580) 35. Iris Murdoch - The Sovereignty of Good (1970) 36. Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil (1886) 37. Blaise Pascal - Pensees (1670) 38. Plato - The Republic (4th century BC) 39. Karl Popper - The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1934) 40. John Rawls - A Theory of Justice (1971) 41. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - The Social Contract (1762) 42. Bertrand Russell - The Conquest of Happiness (1920) 43. Michael Sandel - Justice (2009) 44. Jean Paul Sartre - Being and Nothingness (1943) 45. Arthur Schopenhauer - The World as Will and Representation (1818) 46. Peter Singer - The Life You Can Save (2009) 47. Baruch Spinoza - Ethics (1677) 48. Nassim Nicholas - Taleb The Black Swan (2007) 49. Ludwig Wittgenstein - Philosophical Investigations (1953) 50. Slavoj Zizek - Living In The End Times (2010) ~ Tom Butler-Bowdon, 50 Philosophy Classics ,
*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***
1:Reading is at the beginning of the social contract. ~ Alberto Manguel
2:I think the very idea of the social contract is in disarray. ~ Henry Giroux
3:The social contract is starting to unravel in many countries. ~ Jose Angel Gurria
4:No one gives out Congratulations on Not Being a Douche-Canoe medals, because good behavior is part of the social contract. ~ Jen Lancaster
5:Men like these are different. They don’t abide by the social contract. They don’t play by the same rules as everyone else. ~ Pepper Winters
6:No society can smash the social contract and be exempt from the consequences, and the consequences are chaos for everybody in society. ~ James Baldwin
7:What does one prefer? An art that struggles to change the social contract, but fails? Or one that seeks to please and amuse, and succeeds? ~ Robert Hughes
8:For the State, in relation to its members, is master of all their goods by the social contract, which, within the State, is the basis of all rights; ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau
9:When significant numbers of people see their standards of living fall despite an ever-growing economic pie, it threatens the social contract of the economy and even the social fabric of society. ~ Erik Brynjolfsson
10:It should be remembered that the foundation of the social contract is property; and its first condition, that every one should be maintained in the peaceful possession of what belongs to him. ~ Jean Baptiste Rousseau
11:You can’t let your dog crap on the sidewalk, but it’s perfectly acceptable to blow carcinogens down other people’s throats. Somewhere along the way, smokers exempted themselves from the social contract. ~ Jonathan Tropper
12:Everyone living under the social contract we call democracy has a duty to act responsibly, to obey the laws, and to abandon certain types of self-interested behaviors that conflict with the general good. ~ Simon Mainwaring
13:The Social Contract is nothing more or less than a vast conspiracy of human beings to lie to and humbug themselves for the general Good. Lies are the mortar that bind the savage individual man into the social masonry. ~ H G Wells
14:In fact, some leaders come right out and say it. Mario Draghi the president of the European Central Bank had an interview with the Wall St Journal in which he said the social contract's dead; we finally got rid of it. ~ Noam Chomsky
15:What man loses by the social contract is his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything he tries to get and succeeds in getting; what he gains is civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses. ~ Jean Baptiste Rousseau
16:Security was a myth, a grand lie we told ourselves to mask the jarring reality of the human condition: that the social contract was written in sand, not stone, and it could be blown away at any time, by anyone with sufficient breath his lungs. ~ Brad Parks
17:The New Héloise" in the field of sentiment and of the relation of the sexes, "The Social Contract" In political theory, and "Émile" in matters of education, were books whose influence upon Coleridge's generation it would be hard to estimate ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
18:Government is a gang, but not merely as meritorious as a private gang because it claims legal legitimacy. It pillages and uses violence but under the cover of law, and seeks legitimacy not through competition but through the myth of the social contract. ~ Jeffrey Tucker
19:Young people, under the social contract, suggest a long term investment. What we have today is a government that believes that young people - since they are a long term investment - are a liability. This is system that only believes in short-term investments. ~ Henry Giroux
20:All in all, I am not surprised that the people who want to unravel the social contract start with young adults. Those who are urged to feel afraid, very afraid, have both the greatest sense of independence and the most finely honed skepticism about government. ~ Ellen Goodman
21:The main thrust of Burr’s argument was that citizenship came from consent. Drawing on his favorite writer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Burr defended the basic premise of the social contract: citizens were not born, but made, through their participation in civil society. Gallatin ~ Nancy Isenberg
22:I mean, with the exception of Bernie Sanders, the Black Lives Movement, it's very difficult to, in a sense, especially since the 1980s, to talk about what the social contract is and what it means, and what it means to celebrate public goods, what it means to make, create social investments. ~ Henry Giroux
23:In America, one of our two major parties is dominated by extremists dedicated to destroying the social contract, and the other party has been so enfeebled by two decades of collaboration with the donor class it can offer only feeble resistance to the forces that are devastating everyday people. ~ Bill Moyers
24:In Europe there's an dangerous growth of ultra xenophobia which is pretty threatening to any one who remembers the history of Europe... and an attack on the remnants of the welfare state. It's hard to interpret the austerity-in-the-midst-of-recession policy as anything other than attack on the social contract. ~ Noam Chomsky
25:Does it seem to you impossible to imagine anything more inextricable than the social contract, when you think of the frightful number of relations that it must regulate -- something like squaring the circle, or finding perpetual motion? That is the reason why, wearied of the struggle, you fall back on absolutism and force. ~ Pierre Joseph Proudhon
26:I want you to understand exactly what you’re getting. You’re getting a woman who, for some time now, has felt radically separated from most of the ideas that seem to interest other people. You’re getting a woman who, somewhere along the line, misplaced whatever slate faith she had in the social contract and the whole grand pattern of human endeavor. ~ Joan Didion
27:The problem is to find a form of association which will defend and protect with the whole common force the person and goods of each associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before.” This is the fundamental problem of which the Social Contract provides the solution. The ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau
28:They're rights that should be endemic to any democracy. The right to a free quality education, from elementary school right through higher education. The right to have a decent social wage. The right to a decent job. Political rights; the right to vote. These are all parts of the social contract, from the New Deal onwards, that never went far enough. ~ Henry Giroux
29:The first right of every human being is the right of self-defense. Without that right, all other rights are meaningless. The right of self-defense is not something the government bestows upon its citizens. It is an inalienable right, older than the Constitution itself. It existed prior to government and prior to the social contract of our Constitution. ~ Larry Craig
30:Furthermore, by injecting moneymaking into the relationship between a citizen and the basic services of life—water, roads, electricity, and education—privatization distorts the social contract. People need to know that the decisions of governments are being made with the common good as a priority. Anything else is not government; it is commerce. One ~ Marc Lamont Hill
31:Like the Founders, the Conservative also recognizes in society a harmony of interests, as Adam Smith put it, and rules of cooperation that have developed through generations of human experience and collective reasoning that promote the betterment of the individual and society. This is characterized as ordered liberty, the social contract, or the civil society. ~ Mark R Levin
32:I am prepared to maintain that Honesty is essentially an anarchistic and disintegrating force in society, that communities are held together and the progress of civilization made possible only by vigorous and sometimes even, violent Lying; that the Social Contract is nothing more or less than a vast conspiracy of human beings to lie and humbug themselves and one another for the general Good. ~ H G Wells
33:Throughout the 1980s, we did hear too much about individual gain and the ethos of selfishness and greed. We did not hear enough about how to be a good member of a community, to define the common good and to repair the social contract. And we also found that while prosperity does not trickle down from the most powerful to the rest of us, all too often indifference and even intolerance do. ~ Hillary Clinton
34:The economic metaphor came to be applied to every aspect of modern life, especially the areas where it simply didn't belong. In fields such as education, equality of opportunity, health, employee's rights, the social contract and culture, the first conversation to happen should be about values and principles; then you have the conversation about costs, and what you as a society can afford. ~ John Lanchester
35:The danger is not only that these austerity measures are killing the European economies but also that they threaten the very legitimacy of European democracies - not just directly by threatening the livelihoods of so many people and pushing the economy into a downward spiral, but also indirectly by undermining the legitimacy of the political system through this backdoor rewriting of the social contract. ~ Ha Joon Chang
36:Inside his copy of The Social Contract he keeps a letter from a young Picard, an enthusiast called Antoine Saint-Just: “I know you, Robespierre, as I know God, by your works.”
When he suffers, as he does increasingly, from a distressing tightness of the chest and shortness of breath, and when his eyes seem too tired to focus on the printed page, the thought of the letter urges the weak flesh to more Works. ~ Hilary Mantel
37:There is an old French curse: may your fondest wish come true. If this treatment is cheap and available to everyone, it will destroy the earth through overpopulation. If it is dear and available only to the very rich, it will cause riots, wars, a breakdown of the social contract. Either way, it will lead directly to human misery. What is the value of a long life, when it is lived in squalor and unhappiness? ~ Douglas Preston
38:But if the individual is to sacrifice a measure of personal liberty within the social contract, then individual rights must be guaranteed by law. Thus, it has been said that, in law, rights are the fence an individual erects around himself for protection against his neighbors.
How absurd such a posture must seem from a worldview in which the individual emerges out of the society, rather than the other way around. ~ F David Peat
39:Golden sees parental uninterest in collective solutions as part of a larger “decline in the social contract”… "As a scholar, I'm very disturbed that we have more [media] articles about toxins in the home than the fact that we don’t have universal prenatal care, she says. “We’ve moved from collective concern about infant and child welfare into this very privatized focus on “my child” and this intensive child-rearing. ~ Emily Matchar
40:Natural rights theory arose during the Enlightenment to counter the belief in the divine right of kings, and became the basis of the social contract that gave rise to democracy, a superior system for the protection of human rights. This is what the English philosopher John Locke had in mind in his 1690 Second Treatise of Government (written to rebut Sir Robert Filmer’s 1680 Patriarcha, which defended the divine right of kings8 ~ Michael Shermer
41:Economics now drives politics. This gives us a system in which the relationship between power and politics is no longer fused. Power is global. We have an elite that now floats in global flows. It could care less about the nation-state, and it could care less about traditional forms of politics. Hence, it makes no political concessions whatsoever. It attacks unions, it attacks public schools, it attacks public goods. It doesn't believe in the social contract. ~ Henry Giroux
42:The intellectual and moral satisfaction that I failed to gain from the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the revolutionary methods of Marx and Lenin, the social contract theory of Hobbes, the "back to nature" optimism of Rousseau, and the superman philosophy of Nietzsche, I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. I came to feel that this was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. ~ Martin Luther King Jr
43:At the turn of the [21st] century it was really Sergey Brin at Google who just had the thought of, well, if we give away all the information services, but we make money from advertising, we can make information free and still have capitalism. But the problem with that is it reneges on the social contract where people still participate in the formal economy. And it's a kind of capitalism that's totally self-defeating because it's so narrow. It's a winner-take-all capitalism that's not sustaining. ~ Jaron Lanier
44:Disengagement is the issue underlying the majority of problems I see in families, schools, communities, and organizations and it takes many forms, including the ones we discussed in the “Armory” chapter. We disengage to protect ourselves from vulnerability, shame, and feeling lost and without purpose. We also disengage when we feel like the people who are leading us—our boss, our teachers, our principal, our clergy, our parents, our politicians—aren’t living up to their end of the social contract. Politics ~ Bren Brown
45:As a predatory competition for hoarding profit, neoliberalism produces massive inequality in wealth and income, shifts political power to financial elites, destroys all vestiges of the social contract, and increasingly views “unproductive” sectors—most often those marginalized by race, class, disability, resident status, and age—as suspicious, potentially criminal, and ultimately disposable. It thus criminalizes social problems and manufactures profit by commercializing surveillance, policing, and prisons. ~ Henry A Giroux
46:From infancy to employment, this is a life-denying, love-denying mindset, informed not by joy or contentment, but by an ambition that is both desperate and pointless, for it cannot compensate for what it displaces: childhood, family life, the joys of summer, meaningful and productive work, a sense of arrival, living in the moment. For the sake of this toxic culture, the economy is repurposed, the social contract is rewritten, the elite is released from tax, regulation and the other restraints imposed by democracy. ~ Anonymous
47:Co-ops tend to take hold when the order of things is in flux, when people have to figure out how to do what no one will do for them. Farmers had to get their own electricity when investors wouldn’t bring it; small hardware stores organized co-ops to compete with big boxes before buying local was in fashion. Before employers and governments offered insurance, people set it up for themselves. Co-ops have served as test runs for the social contracts that may later be taken for granted, and they’re doing so again. ~ Nathan Schneider
48:Politics is a great, albeit painful, example of social contract disengagement. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are making laws that they’re not required to follow or that don’t affect them, they’re engaging in behaviors that would result in most of us getting fired, divorced, or arrested. They’re espousing values that are rarely displayed in their behavior. And just watching them shame and blame each other is degrading for us. They’re not living up to their side of the social contract and voter turnout statistics show that we’re disengaging. ~ Bren Brown
49:The challenges that young people are mobilizing against oppressive societies all over the globe are being met with a state-sponsored violence that is about more than police brutality. This is especially clear in the United States, given its transformation from a social state to a warfare state, from a state that once embraced a semblance of the social contract to one that no longer has a language for justice, community and solidarity - a state in which the bonds of fear and commodification have replaced the bonds of civic responsibility and democratic vision. ~ Henry Giroux
50:It leaves him breathless at times, how much faith people put in one another. So fragile, the social contract: we will all stand by the rules, move with care and gentleness, invest in the infrastructure, agree with the penalties of failure. That this man driving his truck down the street won't, on a whim, angle into the plate glass and end things. That the president won't let his hand hover over the red button and, in moment of rage or weakness, explode the world. The invisible tissue of civilization: so thin, so easily rendable. It's a miracle that it exists at all. ~ Lauren Groff
51:Burke rejected the liberal idea of the social contract, as a deal agreed among living people. Society, he argued, does not contain the living only; it is an association between the dead, the living and the unborn. Its binding principle is not contract but something more akin to trusteeship. It is a shared inheritance for the sake of which we learn to circumscribe our demands, to see our own place in things as part of a continuous chain of giving and receiving, and to recognise that the good things we inherit are not ours to spoil but ours to safeguard for our dependents. ~ Roger Scruton
52:What man loses by the social contract is his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything he tries to get and succeeds in getting; what he gains is civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses. If we are to avoid mistake in weighing one against the other, we must clearly distinguish natural liberty, which is bounded only by the strength of the individual, from civil liberty, which is limited by the general will; and possession, which is merely the effect of force or the right of the first occupier, from property, which can be founded only on a positive title. ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau
53:I do consider the human capacity for violence is the central issue of the social contract. In boxing we have a peculiarly civilized form, in that boxers don't screech and holler. They don't use weapons. All of this seems to me quite amazing, because it is so disciplined, so controlled. It's ritualized, but absolutely genuine. And the cultural structure built around that ritual is absolutely fascinating to me. And it seems to me that boxing is one of those structures that is designed to promote harmony. I think that it is a stove that contains that fire in us and makes it safe and useful. ~ Katherine Dunn
54:What man loses by the social contract is his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything he tries to get and succeeds in getting; what he gains is civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses. If we are to avoid mistake in weighing one against the other, we must clearly distinguish natural liberty, which is bounded only by the strength of the individual, from civil liberty, which is limited by the general will; and possession, which is merely the effect of force or the right of the first occupier, from property, which can be founded only on a positive title. We ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau
55:What was in fact blown up on the 8th of November 2016 was the social contract, the paradigm that says you can live comfortably without getting your hands dirty with politics. The belief that it only takes your one vote every four years (or no vote at all: you’re above politics) to have your freedoms protected. This belief was torn to pieces. The belief that institutions are here to protect us and take care of us, and we don’t need to bother ourselves with protecting these institutions from being eroded by corruption, lobbyists, monopolies, corporate and government control over our personal data. ~ Nadya Tolokonnikova
56:I have received your new book against the human race, and thank you for it. Never was such a cleverness used in the design of making us all stupid. One longs, in reading your book, to walk on all fours. But as I have lost that habit for more than sixty years, I feel unhappily the impossibility of resuming it. Nor can I embark in search of the savages of Canada, because the maladies to which I am condemned render a European surgeon necessary to me; because war is going on in those regions; and because the example of our actions has made the savages nearly as bad as ourselves. [in response to Rousseau's "The Social Contract"] ~ Voltaire
57:Furthermore, the social contract makes sense only if future generations are included in it. The purpose is to establish an enduring society. At once, therefore, there arises that web of non-contractual obligations that links parents to children and children to parents and that ensures, willy-nilly, that within a generation the society will be encumbered by non-voting members, dead and unborn, who will rely on something other than a mere contract between the living if their rights are to be respected and their love deserved. Even when there arises, as in America, an idea of ‘elective nationality’, so that newcomers may choose to belong, what is chosen is precisely not a contract but a bond of membership, whose obligations and privileges transcend anything that could be contained in a defeasible agreement. ~ Roger Scruton
58:If companies want to benefit from the advantages of social norms, they need to do a better job of cultivating those norms. Medical benefits, and in particular comprehensive medical coverage, are among the best ways a company can express its side of the social exchange. But what are many companies doing? They are demanding high deductibles in their insurance plans, and at the same time are reducing the scope of benefits. Simply put, they are undermining the social contract between the company and the employees and replacing it with market norms. As companies tilt the board, and employees slide from social norms to the realm of market norms, can we blame them for jumping ship when a better offer appears? It's really no surprise that "corporate loyalty," in terms of the loyalty of employees to their companies, has become an oxymoron. ~ Dan Ariely
59:The Social Contract became the Bible of most of the leaders in the French Revolution, but no doubt, as is the fate of Bibles, it was not carefully read and was still less understood by many of its disciples. It reintroduced the habit of metaphysical abstractions among the theorists of democracy, and by its doctrine of the general will it made possible the mystic identification of a leader with his people, which has no need of confirmation by so mundane an apparatus as the ballot-box. Much of its philosophy could be appropriated by Hegel5 in his defence of the Prussian autocracy. Its first-fruits in practice were the reign of Robespierre; the dictatorships of Russia and Germany (especially the latter) are in part an outcome of Rousseau's teaching. What further triumphs the future has to offer to his ghost I do not venture to predict. ~ Bertrand Russell
60:hadn’t been able to avoid hearing about the Tea Party, a recrudescence of the far right sooner than I would’ve hoped. Depending on whom you ask, the Tea Party formed either as a spontaneous grassroots protest against the government’s massive interventions in the economy after the financial collapse of 2008, an hysterical backlash against our first black president, or just a hasty rebranding of the Republican Party now that the name Republican had taken on the same stigma as the Pinto, DC-10, and other products that reliably self-destruct. Their platform was the usual Republican wish list—cut taxes, gut the government, repeal the last century and revoke the social contract—and happened to coincide with the financial interests of their billionaire backers. They were widely regarded, on the left,* as dingbats. But today I was going to resist the impulse to sneer and feel superior and instead try, for once, to listen. ~ Tim Kreider
61:A precursor to the Social Darwinists, Hobbes argued from th premise that the primordial human condition was a war fought by each against each, so brutal and incesssant that it was impossible to develop industry or even agriculture or the arts while that condition persisted. It's this description that culmintes in his famous epithet "And the life of man, solitary, poor, brutish, and short." It was a fiction to which he brought to bear another fiction, that of the social contract by which men agree to submit to rules and a presiding authority, surrendering their right to ravage each other for the sake of their own safety. The contract was not a bond of affection or identification, bot a culture or religion binding togetehr a civilization, only a convenience. Men, in his view, as in that of many other European writers of the period, are stark, mechanical creatures, windup soldiers social only by strategy and not by nature... ~ Rebecca Solnit
62:The Social Contract is, primarily, an inquiry into the legitimacy of power. But it is a book about rights, not about facts, and at no time is it a collection of sociological observations. It is concerned with principles and for this very reason is bound to be controversial. It presumes that traditional legitimacy, which is supposedly of divine origin, is not acquired. Thus it proclaims another sort of legitimacy and other principles. The Social Contract is also a catechism, of which it has both the tone and the dogmatic language. Just as 1789 completes the conquests of the English and American revolutions, so Rousseau pushes to its limits the theory of the social contract to be found in Hobbes. The Social Contract amplifies and dogmatically explains the new religion whose god is reason, confused with nature, and whose representative on earth, in place of the king, is the people considered as an expression of the general will. ~ Albert Camus
63:It is not beside the point to note that, in the thought which will inspire our
revolutions, the supreme good does not, in reality, coincide with existence, but with an arbitrary facsimile.
The entire history of mankind is, in any case, nothing but a prolonged fight to the death for the conquest
of universal prestige and absolute power. It is, in its essence, imperialist. We are far from the gentle
savage of the eighteenth century and from the Social Contract. In the sound and fury of the passing
centuries, each separate consciousness, to ensure its own existence, must henceforth desire the death of
others. Moreover, this relentless tragedy is absurd, since, in the event of one consciousness being
destroyed, the victorious consciousness is not recognized as such, in that it cannot be victorious in the
eyes of something that no longer exists. In fact, it is here the philosophy of appearances reaches its limits. ~ Albert Camus
64:I tell you this not as aimless revelation but because I want you to know, as you read me, precisely who I am and where I am and what is on my mind. I want you to understand exactly what you are getting: you are getting a woman who for some time now has felt radically separated from most of the ideas that seem to interest people. You are getting a woman who somewhere along the line misplaced whatever slight faith she ever had in the social contract, in the meliorative principle, in the whole grand pattern of human endeavor. Quite often during the past several years I have felt myself a sleepwalker, moving through the world unconscious of the moment’s high issues, oblivious to its data, alert only to the stuff of bad dreams, the children burning in the locked car in the supermarket parking lot, the bike boys stripping down stolen cars on the captive cripple’s ranch, the freeway sniper who feels “real bad” about picking off the family of five, the hustlers, the insane, the cunning Okie faces that turn up in military investigations, the sullen lurkers in doorways, the lost children, all the ignorant armies jostling in the night. Acquaintances read The New York Times, and try to tell me the news of the world. I listen to call-in shows. ~ Joan Didion
65:We cannot, of course, expect every leader to possess the wisdom of Lincoln or Mandela’s largeness of soul. But when we think about what questions might be most useful to ask, perhaps we should begin by discerning what our prospective leaders believe it worthwhile for us to hear.
Do they cater to our prejudices by suggesting that we treat people outside our ethnicity, race, creed or party as unworthy of dignity and respect?
Do they want us to nurture our anger toward those who we believe have done us wrong, rub raw our grievances and set our sights on revenge?
Do they encourage us to have contempt for our governing institutions and the electoral process?
Do they seek to destroy our faith in essential contributors to democracy, such as an independent press, and a professional judiciary?
Do they exploit the symbols of patriotism, the flag, the pledge in a conscious effort to turn us against one another?
If defeated at the polls, will they accept the verdict, or insist without evidence they have won?
Do they go beyond asking about our votes to brag about their ability to solve all problems put to rest all anxieties and satisfy every desire?
Do they solicit our cheers by speaking casually and with pumped up machismo about using violence to blow enemies away?
Do they echo the attitude of Musolini: “The crowd doesn’t have to know, all they have to do is believe and submit to being shaped.”?
Or do they invite us to join with them in building and maintaining a healthy center for our society, a place where rights and duties are apportioned fairly, the social contract is honored, and all have room to dream and grow.
The answers to these questions will not tell us whether a prospective leader is left or right-wing, conservative or liberal, or, in the American context, a Democrat or a Republican. However, they will us much that we need to know about those wanting to lead us, and much also about ourselves.
For those who cherish freedom, the answers will provide grounds for reassurance, or, a warning we dare not ignore. ~ Madeleine K Albright
66:Political philosophers of the Enlightenment, from Hobbes and Locke, reaching down to John Rawls and his followers today, have found the roots of political order and the motive of political obligation in a social contract – an agreement, overt or implied, to be bound by principles to which all reasonable citizens can assent. Although the social contract exists in many forms, its ruling principle was announced by Hobbes with the assertion that there can be ‘no obligation on any man which ariseth not from some act of his own’.1 My obligations are my own creation, binding because freely chosen. When you and I exchange promises, the resulting contract is freely undertaken, and any breach does violence not merely to the other but also to the self, since it is a repudiation of a well-grounded rational choice. If we could construe our obligation to the state on the model of a contract, therefore, we would have justified it in terms that all rational beings must accept. Contracts are the paradigms of self-chosen obligations – obligations that are not imposed, commanded or coerced but freely undertaken. When law is founded in a social contract, therefore, obedience to the law is simply the other side of free choice. Freedom and obedience are one and the same. Such a contract is addressed to the abstract and universal Homo oeconomicus who comes into the world without attachments, without, as Rawls puts it, a ‘conception of the good’, and with nothing save his rational self-interest to guide him. But human societies are by their nature exclusive, establishing privileges and benefits that are offered only to the insider, and which cannot be freely bestowed on all-comers without sacrificing the trust on which social harmony depends. The social contract begins from a thought-experiment, in which a group of people gather together to decide on their common future. But if they are in a position to decide on their common future, it is because they already have one: because they recognize their mutual togetherness and reciprocal dependence, which makes it incumbent upon them to settle how they might be governed under a common jurisdiction in a common territory. In short, the social contract requires a relation of membership. Theorists of the social contract write as though it presupposes only the first-person singular of free rational choice. In fact, it presupposes a first-person plural, in which the burdens of belonging have already been assumed. ~ Roger Scruton
50 Philosophy Classics: List of Books Covered:
1. Hannah Arendt - The Human Condition (1958)
2. Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics (4th century BC)
3. AJ Ayer - Language, Truth and Logic (1936)
4. Julian Baggini - The Ego Trick (2011)
5. Jean Baudrillard - Simulacra and Simulation (1981)
6. Simone de Beauvoir - The Second Sex (1952)
7. Jeremy Bentham - Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789)
8. Henri Bergson - Creative Evolution (1911)
9. David Bohm - Wholeness and the Implicate Order (1980)
10. Noam Chomsky - Understanding Power (2002)
11. Cicero - On Duties (44 BC)
12. Confucius - Analects (5th century BC)
13. Rene Descartes - Meditations (1641)
14. Ralph Waldo Emerson - Fate (1860)
15. Epicurus - Letters (3rd century BC)
16. Michel Foucault - The Order of Things (1966)
17. Harry Frankfurt - On Bullshit (2005)
18. Sam Harris - Free Will (2012)
19. GWF Hegel - Phenomenology of Spirit (1803)
20. Martin Heidegger - Being and Time (1927)
21. Heraclitus - Fragments (6th century)
22. David Hume - An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)
23. William James - Pragmatism (1904)
24. Daniel Kahneman - Thinking: Fast and Slow (2011)
25. Immanuel Kant - Critique of Pure Reason (1781)
26. Soren Kierkegaard - Fear and Trembling (1843)
27. Saul Kripke - Naming and Necessity (1972)
28. Thomas Kuhn - The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)
29. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - Theodicy (1710)
30. John Locke - An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
31. Marshall McLuhan - The Medium is the Massage (1967)
32. Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince (1532)
33. John Stuart Mill - On Liberty (1859)
34. Michel de Montaigne - Essays (1580)
35. Iris Murdoch - The Sovereignty of Good (1970)
36. Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
37. Blaise Pascal - Pensees (1670)
38. Plato - The Republic (4th century BC)
39. Karl Popper - The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1934)
40. John Rawls - A Theory of Justice (1971)
41. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - The Social Contract (1762)
42. Bertrand Russell - The Conquest of Happiness (1920)
43. Michael Sandel - Justice (2009)
44. Jean Paul Sartre - Being and Nothingness (1943)
45. Arthur Schopenhauer - The World as Will and Representation (1818)
46. Peter Singer - The Life You Can Save (2009)
47. Baruch Spinoza - Ethics (1677)
48. Nassim Nicholas - Taleb The Black Swan (2007)
49. Ludwig Wittgenstein - Philosophical Investigations (1953)
50. Slavoj Zizek - Living In The End Times (2010)
~ Tom Butler-Bowdon, 50 Philosophy Classics,
68:What about me?’ said Grantaire. ‘I’m here.’
‘You? Rally Republicans! You? In defence of principles, fire up hearts that have grown cold!’
‘Are you capable of being good for something?’
‘I have the vague ambition to be,’ said Grantaire.
‘You don’t believe in anything.’
‘I believe in you.’
‘Grantaire, will you do me a favour?’
‘Anything. Polish your boots.’
‘Well, don’t meddle in our affairs. Go and sleep off the effects of your absinthe.’
‘You’re heartless, Enjolras.’
‘As if you’d be the man to send to the Maine gate! As if you were capable of it!’
‘I’m capable of going down Rue des Grès, crossing Place St-Michel, heading off along Rue Monsieur-le-Prince, taking Rue de Vaugirard, passing the Carmelite convent, turning into Rue d’Assas, proceeding to Rue du Cherche-Midi, leaving the Military Court behind me, wending my way along Rue des Vieilles-Tuileries, striding across the boulevard, following Chaussée du Maine, walking through the toll-gate and going into Richefeu’s. I’m capable of that. My shoes are capable of that.’
‘Do you know them at all, those comrades who meet at Richefeu’s?'
‘Not very well. But we’re on friendly terms.’
‘What will you say to them?’
‘I’ll talk to them about Robespierre, of course! And about Danton. About principles.’
‘Yes, me. But I’m not being given the credit I deserve. When I put my mind to it, I’m terrific. I’ve read Prudhomme, I’m familiar with the Social Contract, I know by heart my constitution of the year II. “The liberty of the citizen ends where the liberty of another citizen begins.” Do you take me for a brute beast? I have in my drawer an old promissory note from the time of the Revolution. The rights of man, the sovereignty of the people, for God’s sake! I’m even a bit of an Hébertist. I can keep coming out with some wonderful things, watch in hand, for a whole six hours by the clock.’
‘Be serious,’ said Enjolras.
‘I mean it,’ replied Grantaire.
Enjolras thought for a few moments, and with the gesture of a man who had come to a decision, ‘Grantaire,’ he said gravely, ‘I agree to try you out. You’ll go to the Maine toll-gate.’
Grantaire lived in furnished lodgings very close to Café Musain. He went out, and came back five minutes later. He had gone home to put on a Robespierre-style waistcoat.
‘Red,’ he said as he came in, gazing intently at Enjolras. Then, with an energetic pat of his hand, he pressed the two scarlet lapels of the waistcoat to his chest.
And stepping close to Enjolras he said in his ear, ‘Don’t worry.’
He resolutely jammed on his hat, and off he went. ~ Victor Hugo
69:Your laptop is a note in a symphony currently being played by an orchestra of incalculable size. It’s a very small part of a much greater whole. Most of its capacity resides beyond its hard shell. It maintains its function only because a vast array of other technologies are currently and harmoniously at play. It is fed, for example, by a power grid whose function is invisibly dependent on the stability of a myriad of complex physical, biological, economic and interpersonal systems. The factories that make its parts are still in operation. The operating system that enables its function is based on those parts, and not on others yet to be created. Its video hardware runs the technology expected by the creative people who post their content on the web. Your laptop is in communication with a certain, specified ecosystem of other devices and web servers. And, finally, all this is made possible by an even less visible element: the social contract of trust—the interconnected and fundamentally honest political and economic systems that make the reliable electrical grid a reality. This interdependency of part on whole, invisible in systems that work, becomes starkly evident in systems that don’t. The higher-order, surrounding systems that enable personal computing hardly exist at all in corrupt, third-world countries, so that the power lines, electrical switches, outlets, and all the other entities so hopefully and concretely indicative of such a grid are absent or compromised, and in fact make little contribution to the practical delivery of electricity to people’s homes and factories. This makes perceiving the electronic and other devices that electricity theoretically enables as separate, functional units frustrating, at minimum, and impossible, at worst. This is partly because of technical insufficiency: the systems simply don’t work. But it is also in no small part because of the lack of trust characteristic of systemically corrupt societies. To put it another way: What you perceive as your computer is like a single leaf, on a tree, in a forest—or, even more accurately, like your fingers rubbing briefly across that leaf. A single leaf can be plucked from a branch. It can be perceived, briefly, as a single, self-contained entity—but that perception misleads more than clarifies. In a few weeks, the leaf will crumble and dissolve. It would not have been there at all, without the tree. It cannot continue to exist, in the absence of the tree. This is the position of our laptops in relation to the world. So much of what they are resides outside their boundaries that the screened devices we hold on our laps can only maintain their computer-like façade for a few short years. Almost everything we see and hold is like that, although often not so evidently ~ Jordan Peterson
70:Your laptop is a note in a symphony currently being played by an orchestra of incalculable size. It’s a very small part of a much greater whole. Most of its capacity resides beyond its hard shell. It maintains its function only because a vast array of other technologies are currently and harmoniously at play. It is fed, for example, by a power grid whose function is invisibly dependent on the stability of a myriad of complex physical, biological, economic and interpersonal systems. The factories that make its parts are still in operation. The operating system that enables its function is based on those parts, and not on others yet to be created. Its video hardware runs the technology expected by the creative people who post their content on the web. Your laptop is in communication with a certain, specified ecosystem of other devices and web servers. And, finally, all this is made possible by an even less visible element: the social contract of trust—the interconnected and fundamentally honest political and economic systems that make the reliable electrical grid a reality. This interdependency of part on whole, invisible in systems that work, becomes starkly evident in systems that don’t. The higher-order, surrounding systems that enable personal computing hardly exist at all in corrupt, third-world countries, so that the power lines, electrical switches, outlets, and all the other entities so hopefully and concretely indicative of such a grid are absent or compromised, and in fact make little contribution to the practical delivery of electricity to people’s homes and factories. This makes perceiving the electronic and other devices that electricity theoretically enables as separate, functional units frustrating, at minimum, and impossible, at worst. This is partly because of technical insufficiency: the systems simply don’t work. But it is also in no small part because of the lack of trust characteristic of systemically corrupt societies. To put it another way: What you perceive as your computer is like a single leaf, on a tree, in a forest—or, even more accurately, like your fingers rubbing briefly across that leaf. A single leaf can be plucked from a branch. It can be perceived, briefly, as a single, self-contained entity—but that perception misleads more than clarifies. In a few weeks, the leaf will crumble and dissolve. It would not have been there at all, without the tree. It cannot continue to exist, in the absence of the tree. This is the position of our laptops in relation to the world. So much of what they are resides outside their boundaries that the screened devices we hold on our laps can only maintain their computer-like façade for a few short years. Almost everything we see and hold is like that, although often not so evidently ~ Jordan B Peterson
71:76. David Hume – Treatise on Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
77. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – On the Origin of Inequality; On the Political Economy; Emile – or, On Education, The Social Contract
78. Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy
79. Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations
80. Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason; Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace
81. Edward Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography
82. James Boswell – Journal; Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D.
83. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier – Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry)
84. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – Federalist Papers
85. Jeremy Bentham – Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions
86. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Faust; Poetry and Truth
87. Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier – Analytical Theory of Heat
88. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History
89. William Wordsworth – Poems
90. Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Poems; Biographia Literaria
91. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Emma
92. Carl von Clausewitz – On War
93. Stendhal – The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love
94. Lord Byron – Don Juan
95. Arthur Schopenhauer – Studies in Pessimism
96. Michael Faraday – Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity
97. Charles Lyell – Principles of Geology
98. Auguste Comte – The Positive Philosophy
99. Honoré de Balzac – Père Goriot; Eugenie Grandet
100. Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men; Essays; Journal
101. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter
102. Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America
103. John Stuart Mill – A System of Logic; On Liberty; Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography
104. Charles Darwin – The Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography
105. Charles Dickens – Pickwick Papers; David Copperfield; Hard Times
106. Claude Bernard – Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine
107. Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience; Walden
108. Karl Marx – Capital; Communist Manifesto
109. George Eliot – Adam Bede; Middlemarch
110. Herman Melville – Moby-Dick; Billy Budd
111. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov
112. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary; Three Stories
113. Henrik Ibsen – Plays
114. Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace; Anna Karenina; What is Art?; Twenty-Three Tales
115. Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger
116. William James – The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism; Essays in Radical Empiricism
117. Henry James – The American; The Ambassadors
118. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals;The Will to Power
119. Jules Henri Poincaré – Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method
120. Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
121. George Bernard Shaw – Plays and Prefaces ~ Mortimer J Adler
72:To narrow natural rights to such neat slogans as "liberty, equality, fraternity" or "life, liberty, property," . . . was to ignore the complexity of public affairs and to leave out of consideration most moral relationships. . . .
Burke appealed back beyond Locke to an idea of community far warmer and richer than Locke's or Hobbes's aggregation of individuals. The true compact of society, Burke told his countrymen, is eternal: it joins the dead, the living, and the unborn. We all participate in this spiritual and social partnership, because it is ordained of God. In defense of social harmony, Burke appealed to what Locke had ignored: the love of neighbor and the sense of duty. By the time of the French Revolution, Locke's argument in the Second Treatise already had become insufficient to sustain a social order. . . .
The Constitution is not a theoretical document at all, and the influence of Locke upon it is negligible, although Locke's phrases, at least, crept into the Declaration of Independence, despite Jefferson's awkwardness about confessing the source of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
If we turn to the books read and quoted by American leaders near the end of the eighteenth century, we discover that Locke was but one philosopher and political advocate among the many writers whose influence they acknowledged. . . .
Even Jefferson, though he had read Locke, cites in his Commonplace Book such juridical authorities as Coke and Kames much more frequently. As Gilbert Chinard puts it, "The Jeffersonian philosophy was born under the sign of Hengist and Horsa, not of the Goddess Reason"--that is, Jefferson was more strongly influenced by his understanding of British history, the Anglo-Saxon age particularly, than by the eighteenth-century rationalism of which Locke was a principal forerunner. . . .
Adams treats Locke merely as one of several commendable English friends to liberty. . . .
At bottom, the thinking Americans of the last quarter of the eighteenth century found their principles of order in no single political philosopher, but rather in their religion. When schooled Americans of that era approved a writer, commonly it was because his books confirmed their American experience and justified convictions they held already. So far as Locke served their needs, they employed Locke. But other men of ideas served them more immediately.
At the Constitutional Convention, no man was quoted more frequently than Montesquieu. Montesquieu rejects Hobbes's compact formed out of fear; but also, if less explicitly, he rejects Locke's version of the social contract. . . . It is Montesquieu's conviction that . . . laws grow slowly out of people's experiences with one another, out of social customs and habits. "When a people have pure and regular manners, their laws become simple and natural," Montesquieu says. It was from Montesquieu, rather than from Locke, that the Framers obtained a theory of checks and balances and of the division of powers. . . .
What Madison and other Americans found convincing in Hume was his freedom from mystification, vulgar error, and fanatic conviction: Hume's powerful practical intellect, which settled for politics as the art of the possible. . . . [I]n the Federalist, there occurs no mention of the name of John Locke. In Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention there is to be found but one reference to Locke, and that incidental. Do not these omissions seem significant to zealots for a "Lockean interpretation" of the Constitution? . . .
John Locke did not make the Glorious Revolution of 1688 or foreordain the Constitution of the United States. . . . And the Constitution of the United States would have been framed by the same sort of men with the same sort of result, and defended by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, had Locke in 1689 lost the manuscripts of his Two Treatises of Civil Government while crossing the narrow seas with the Princess Mary. ~ Russell Kirk
2 Jordan Peterson
2 Maps of Meaning
Wikipedia - The Social Contract