Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712-2 July 1778) was a renowned Genevan philosopher, composer, and writer in the 18th century during the period of Romanticism of French expression. His famous political philosophy was significantly popular during the French Revolution. His views affected drastically the contemporary development of sociological, political, and educational ideas. The Social Contract starts with the thrilling opening verdict, “Man was born free, but he is everywhere in the chains” and continues to further his argument that men in the society require not be in the stated chains, which undermines human freedom (Rousseau, 2007).
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Rousseau argues that if the state or civil society can be founded on an indisputable social contract, rather than fraudulent social contract shown in the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, humankind would in turn benefit the exchange for their independence with a far better form of freedom. He referred to this as liberty, republican or political. He states that this freedom will be only obtained through obedience of the self-imposed rules present in the society (Rousseau, 2007).
Concerning civic duty, Rousseau had a belief that an individual in the society in certainty has this duty. He believed that men in the society are there to promote the “common good”. This idea was fundamental in promoting the tenets of democracy in the society. Early in “The Social Contract,” Rousseau argues that the humankind has been overpowered by the hurdles of human preservation thus; man cannot cope with these obstacles. Therefore, according to Rousseau, the civic duty and cooperation has become vital not only for the survival of the authorities, but also for every individual in the society.
Rousseau's description of political freedom stirs an apparent problem. For whilst it can be voluntarily established that a person in the society is free if he abides by only rules and regulations one prescribes for self, this is so since a person is with a distinct willpower (Rousseau, 2007). A society, by distinction, is a set of individuals with a set of personal willpowers, and clash between disconnected wills is a reality of wide-reaching experience. Rousseau's reaction to the problem describes his civil society as a non-natural individual united by a universal willpower, or volonté générale. The social contract that unites society into being is a promise, and the society will persist being as a united group. Rousseau's republic is a formation of the universal willpower: a will that by no means falters in each individual to promote the public, national interest, or common, although it may conflict at times with individual interest.
According to Rousseau, there is a deep-seated dichotomy between the actual law and the true law. He says that the actual law in the Discourse on the origin of Inequality plainly maintains the status quo. On the other hand, true law, as provided in The Social Contract, is just law, which makes sure that the society is just and fashioned by the people themselves in a mutual capacity as autonomous and respected by the same people in their individual abilities as subjects. Rousseau is certain that such laws cannot be unfair since it is unimaginable that any people would formulate unfair laws for it (Rousseau, 2007).
However, Friedriche Nietzsche developed "the might makes right" theory which argues the position towards the relations of social contract. He argues that one must only do things that make them more authoritative. To be good to people will be degenerating oneself into moral slave. He says that we are not receiving everything we might out of life, since we are watching out for others peoples’ emotions. Nietzsche seems to approve that if we are discourteous, overpowering and powerful of our thoughts on others, we will truthfully be alive. Nevertheless, according to Nietzsche, that one specific group’s sentiments and law would triumph is not evil or deplorable however the natural mode of things—and the only way an individual in the society would attain its maximum possible and accomplish what he referred to as Overman (Nietzsche, 2003).
Nietzsche believes that morality is fundamentally a biological aspect of society, which results from two kinds of mentalities in an individual: master and slaves. He gives an illustration of lambs and birds of prey. The lamb does not like the birds of prey, which is not a strange thing; only it offers no ground from reprimanding these birds of prey for bearing of the little lambs. He says that according to the social contract, such separation on social classes is natural in the society, thus Nietzsche would substantiate a triumphant “particular view” as it has confirmed to be a master of the others, the powerful members of the species. Nietzsche believed that castration of person’s instinct and natural power, through misguided belief in a social contract, amounted to undermining individual’s capability in life to have an independent mind (Nietzsche, 2003).
Furthermore, in his argument on morality, Nietzsche says that he largely blames the effects of Judeo-Christian religion. Nietzsche is marveled at the religion’s capability to turn the aspect of morality on its head by instituting the slave mentality on their followers as (obedient, poor, and humble) “good” and that of a master (opportunistic, forceful, and aristocratic) as “bad.” He blamed this on the priests, which he believed are the ones who are responsible for installing this slave mentality on individuals in the society. He continues to say that these priests use their positions to influence the followers by praising kindness, abstinence, prudent, and good-natured, which make people slave of themselves (Nietzsche, 2003).
On the other hand, Rousseau finds some good aspects of religion that he believes religion is critical in promoting civil duty among the people in the society, which reflects the ideals Christianity praises and embrace in promoting the aspect of goodwill towards other members of the society, responsibility to the society, and offer assistance to the needy in the society (Rousseau, 2007).