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The Social Contract

“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.”

The cry for human liberty sparked the French Revolution and questions the role of government in democracy. Includes two discourses. Origin of Inequality that inequality is the natural result of civilization. Political Economy examines how politics affects people.


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    Raya راية

    Mar 17, 2017

    rated it
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     · 
    review of another edition

    “لقد وجدت الثورة الفرنسية إنجيلها في كتابات روسو.”

    قرأت في العديد من المقالات والصُحف وكتب المدرسة منذ صغري عن كتاب العقد الاجتماعي كونه أهم الكتب في السياسة وبقي اسم هذا الكاتب راسخاً في ذاكرتي. وفي الجامعة -كوني درست الأدب الفرنسي- تم إفراد مباحث خاصة في عصر التنوير وفلاسفته والثورة الفرنسية، وكان جان جاك روسو على رأس أولئك التنويريين الذين طمحوا لتغيير شكل الحُكم الملكي المُطلق؛ حيث كان يُعتقد بأن الحاكم هو ظل الله على الأرض. وقد تأثّر الكثيرون بفكر روسو التقدّمي مما أدّى إلى إسقاط حكم لويس ا

    قرأت في العديد من المقالات والصُحف وكتب المدرسة منذ صغري عن كتاب العقد الاجتماعي كونه أهم الكتب في السياسة وبقي اسم هذا الكاتب راسخاً في ذاكرتي. وفي الجامعة -كوني درست الأدب الفرنسي- تم إفراد مباحث خاصة في عصر التنوير وفلاسفته والثورة الفرنسية، وكان جان جاك روسو على رأس أولئك التنويريين الذين طمحوا لتغيير شكل الحُكم الملكي المُطلق؛ حيث كان يُعتقد بأن الحاكم هو ظل الله على الأرض. وقد تأثّر الكثيرون بفكر روسو التقدّمي مما أدّى إلى إسقاط حكم لويس السادس عشر وإنطلاق الثورة الفرنسية التي تجاوزت أفكارها حدود فرنسا وأصبحت مطلباً لكل شعوب العالم.

    يضع روسو في كتابه هذا قواعد العلاقة بين الشعب والحاكم، وكيف تنشأ الدول، وواجبات الأفراد تجاه دولتهم وحاكمهم، مسؤوليات الحاكم نحو شعبه، وأشكال الحكومة المختلفة وحقوق وواجبات الجميع في الدولة. ويرى أن الشعب هو العنصر الأساسي في الدولة وهو حر ولا يحق لأحد استعباده تحت أي ظرف، وأن الإرادة العامة هي التي توجّه الدولة. وأن الحريّة والمساواة هي أساس كل اشتراع سليم فيه خير للجميع.

    حين نقرأ ما كتبه روسو في القرن الثامن عشر من تنظيم للعلاقات في الدولة، ونقارن بين تقدّم أفكار السياسة الأوروبية في ذلك العصر وبين واقع سياساتنا العربية، نرى بأن هناك هوّة كبيرة أكبر من أن نحصرها! وهذا ما يدعو للبؤس والخزي! فيعود حُكّامنا لعصر الحكومة الإقطاعية والمُلك المطلق والعالم من حولنا يتطوّر وينعم بالحريّات والديمقراطيات وإرادة الشعب التي تعلو على أي إرادة. كم نحن بحاجة إلى دراسة علم السياسة وإلى إعادة تأهيل كاملة لفهم المصطلحات السياسية لنعرف حقوقنا وواجباتنا ومسؤولياتنا.

    بقدر ما تحصّلت على فائدة من هذا الكتاب بقدر ما تعكّر استمتاعي بسبب ضعف الترجمة، وكأن المترجم عمد إلى استخدام google translate!
    —–
    “بما أن كل إنسان يولد حرّاً سيداً لنفسه لا يستطيع أحد أن يُخضعه بأية حجّة كانت من غير موافقته.”



    —–

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    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    Jun 10, 2013

    rated it
    did not like it

    Recommends it for:
    Everyone
    Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by:
    Good Reading: 100 Signficant Books

    The one star rating does not mean I don’t recommend reading The Social Contract. Everyone should. It’s that important, that influential and reading this was certainly eye-opening. One star does not mean this was tedious, dry or difficult. In fact this treatise is not long, is easy to understand and can be read in a few hours. And Rousseau can certainly turn a phrase. Lots and lots that’s quotable in this book. But I don’t simply not like the book (which on Goodreads means one star) I absolutely

    He begins the first chapter of Social Contract with the stirring worlds: Man is born free and everywhere is in chains. But though he speaks of liberty and democracy it’s clear that his ideal state as he defines it is totalitarian. Those who don’t want any part of his state, who won’t obey, should be “forced to be free.” Locke argued inalienable rights included life, liberty, and property; governments are instituted to secure those rights. For Rousseau, life, liberty and property are all things you give wholly to the state “retaining no individual rights.” Rousseau states:

    Whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body… the social contract gives the body politic absolute power over all its members… when the prince says to him: “It is expedient for the State that you should die,” he ought to die.

    Even Rousseau thought his ideal system couldn’t work in large territories. He ideally wanted direct democracy, with all citizens meeting in assembly such as in the ancient city-state of Athens, not representative democracy, which he doesn’t see as true democracy. (And the larger the state, the more absolute in its powers and more autocratic the government should be lest it fall into selfish anarchy.) Alissa Ardito says in the Introduction to my edition that: “Politics… is also about language, talking, negotiating, arguing; and for that Rousseau had no need and little patience. The goal in The Social Contract is always about consensus, and in the end one suspects what Rousseau finally wanted was silence.” You cannot have liberty or democracy while shutting up and shutting down anyone who dissents from the “general will.” And then there’s Rousseau’s urging of a civil religion, where one literally worships the state. What you get then is the obscenity of a state as the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” whose only nod to democracy is in the name, and where its leader takes on a quasi-religious status.

    Can I see any good in this treatise? I can see the form the United States took in the discussion of a mix between monarchy (President), aristocracy (Senate, Supreme Court) and democracy (Congress) and checks and balances between them. But such features are also discussed in Locke’s Second Treatise of Government and in Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws, both of which predate The Social Contract. In fact, Rousseau’s categories of government can even trace its roots to Aristotle. So, what good I can see in it is hardly original. Well, and The Social Contract did argue for sovereignty being lodged in the people rather than a Divine Right of Kings–it’s supposed to have inspired the French Revolution, and its cry of “liberty, equality, fraternity.” If so, it’s easier to understand why the French Revolution turned into the Reign of Terror. I do consider this a must-read, and I’m glad I read it. It’s enlightening, like turning over a rock to see all the nasty things that were hiding underneath.
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    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Du contrat social: ou Principes du droit politique = The Social Contract = Principles of Political Rights, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    The Social Contract, originally published as On the Social Contract; or, Principles of Political Rights (French: Du contrat social; ou Principes du droit politique) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is a 1762 book in which Rousseau theorized about the best way to establish a political community in the face of the problems of commercial society, which he had already identified


    …more