Equality & Political Ecology: From Spinoza to Politdoche
Feeling and ideas are renewed, the heart expands, the human spirit develops only through the reciprocal action of human beings on one another.---Alexis de Tocqueville
Referring to the prevalence of voluntary associations in America 180 years ago, de Tocqueville expressed the core of politdoche.
In a previous article here and on Daft Blogger, I considered how this new ideal of political organization based on a novel (hologramic) approach to representation, could overcome the problems pointed out by Hanna Pitkin and could readapt Rousseau’s mythical general will in a way that government could not. This third installment in the politdoche series explores how this new ideal stems from a view of equality at the root of the Enlightenment and the American and French revolutions. First, some points about the “social contract.”
The “social contract” and the social nature of law we owe not to Rousseau but to Hobbes. Hobbes was the first to point out that law and the political order are products of society, that only exist once human beings enter communal living. We each give up what we otherwise could do in exchange for similar waivers from others coupled with a promise from a political organization to enforce this contract. We can waive any “natural right” in so far as others reciprocate, except one: that of self-preservation.
Simplifying Hobbes to the inane expression “man is to man a wolf” says less about him than about the one doing the simplifying, especially since the same author advises “that every man ought to endeavor peace.” Reducing a great (or lesser) thinker to such banalities does less harm to the philosopher’s reputation than it does to the reader’s imagination.
Hobbes wrote less about the “nature of man” than about the nature of law and political organization. In entering society, “man” gives up many of his powers and submits to society’s will. TO READ THE REST CLICK HERE...