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Hume and the Utility of Practical Governance
Pages 8 (2008 words)
Pragmatism Over Partisanship: Hume and the Utility of Practical Governance Name Class Instructor Institution Department Date 1 Pragmatism Over Partisanship: Hume and the Utility of Practical Governance David Hume’s criticism of the original contract is neither ideological nor rebellious radicalism.
Central to this concept is the implicit consent of the governed, whose accession to this arrangement is assumed to be voluntary. Hume disputed this notion, however, citing, as example, that there is nothing voluntary about an individual who is too poor to leave or seek subsistence anywhere but the nation of his birth. “We may as well assert, that a man, by remaining in a vessel, freely consents to the dominion of the master; though he was carried on board while asleep, and must leap into the ocean and perish, the moment he leaves her” (Graham 2011, p. 186). Hume’s essay “Of the Original Contract” argued that ideas about government by consent and the authority of the state must have context and a basis in historical fact to be practical. Hume decried the notion of original contract as put forth by the Whigs, whom he felt offered little concrete evidence and left too much to discretion and interpretation. In his view, it amounted to an invitation to revolt at the drop of the political hat. In other words, such theorizing might encourage citizens to rise up “whenever (the people) find themselves aggrieved by that authority, with which they have, for certain purposes, voluntarily entrusted (the sovereign)” (Forbes 1975, 93). ...
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