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“Driving a Disabled Country”

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Before talking about a paralyzed state, let’s look into the qualities of a healthier one. A typical list of qualities for an ideal state includes freedom of speech, equality, employment, access to free media, women’s empowerment, justice, discipline, development, wisdom, reasoning, knowledge, self-sufficiency, the absence of hostilities within or outside the state, democracy, and all other pleasant state characteristics.

What would be the reverse, then? Maybe altering the ideal state qualities. But sometimes, sick states fall much lower than one could imagine. To drive or even to drag such a disabled body isn’t a walk in the park. Here we can use the term “intentional paralyzing”. One can try to eliminate natural disability, but if paralysis is intended, no amount of effort will be able to address it.

What techniques might aid in breathing life back into an expired body?

As we all know, a body is paralyzed when the mind stops working. And this formula is as it is applied to a society in order to have complete control of it. At first, people’s ability to think critically is curbed through fabricated opinion builders so that they become deaf to wisdom. This creates chaos as the hast of jumping to the conclusion becomes a habit/norm thus forming the basis of social paralysis. But history has preserved the thoughts of great minds that can guide us the way to drive out a stupefied state of mind.

Rousseau’s perspective of state:

In order to make a state workable, several philosophers have offered varying perspectives. Let’s look at Rousseau’s theory and attempt to apply it to the situation in the present. Rousseau draws the concept of state of nature. Where the natural conditions were peaceful, non-conflictual, isolated, solitary, self-centered neither happy nor unhappy Many nations now experience an artificial state of nature because they share many of the characteristics of Rousseau’s state of nature stated above.

Rousseau presented this thesis, which was framed by the violence, injustice, tyranny, exploitation, and authoritarianism that prevailed in France at the time. Similar things are occurring in third-world nations now. According to history, his “social contract theory” served as the impetus for the French Revolution. Thus, we can argue that there are two potential solutions to this problem. Revolt or an artificial state of nature/social contract.

To what type of societies social contract theory is applied?

Rousseau portrays a peaceful and calm state of nature converting to “Society” with the arrival of the concept of “Private property”. This ultimately brought in/raised the concept of good and bad which led to the formation of a “society”. As the man became civilized, he lost two of his qualities including freedom and pity. Man became dependent and the natural feeling of compassion replaced envy and competition. The society entered a “state of war” So, man decided to go back to the state of nature to experience freedom again. It is not humanly possible to go back in the past, for that matter, Rousseau suggests the creation of an artificial state of nature. He explains that as society has evolved, we need to have a contract in order to get rid of dependence and inequality. The social contract will basically be the “general will” of the people, which is not bound to any individual, agency or third party, rather it is the collective interest of a community/all individuals of society.

Following the general will is like following oneself. And this is how people become free as they were before. In such setups, general will is an idea that can be implemented in the shape of laws, and the government as an agency can enforce them. The crux of the whole explanation could be, there should be a sense of protection of life and property of each member of society, also people should obey themselves under general will. If this criterion is not being fulfilled by the government, then the contract is revocable.

But Rousseau also addresses some of the significant questions regarding society and rights. If we take a glance at the present societies, we can observe the prevalence of “Might is right ”. This menace is not confined to the state structure but also has chained the international system into its shackles. Viewing the world order, we can see a race between the states to become the mightiest in order to grab the sole superpower status. In this regard, Rousseau argues that force constitutes a right? By nature, right is free from the chains of strength and weakness. The mighty cannot enslave the weaker and also, the weaker, on acquiring strength, cannot exploit the precursory potent. 

Next, he asks about giving up liberty through convention.

At the international level, various agreements are now being signed by states. where they must give up a portion of their rights in order to abide by the terms of the agreement. UN, NPT, KYOTO Protocol, etc. However, these treaties take into account the overall will of the states. States voluntarily give up their rights in this case. However, deciding to give up all of your freedom is not an option. Accepting slavery, according to Rousseau, means you are not a human being, which goes against human nature. You become what you are not. Slavery and justice contradict each other. Slavery is, therefore never an option for nations to practice.

There are few strategies that Rousseau suggests in order to achieve sovereignty/liberty.

He proposes the look after of the general will of society by submitting your rights, since the society has right over you, at the same time it has a right over your property as well so that any unlawful acts could be curbed to keep the order of the society maintained. For that matter, all are accountable before the law.

Finally, do we lose anything in the social contract? Rousseau opines that instead of losing people only gain. E.g.: From no rights to better rights. Therefore, a closer look of the world today manifests that there are two extremes that take place in today’s societies.  The developed states are existing in an artificial state of nature where there is social contract among people with some exceptions. And under-developed states are in a transition period where there is the existence of society and exploitation in the name of private property. But here, the social contract of general will is yet to be penned!

Nazish Wahid
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