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Rousseau, Marx, and the Critique of Classical Liberalism - Essay Example

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Rousseau, Marx, and the Critique of Classical Liberalism

This name reflects the fact that it comes from the integrity of the people (nation, class), the presence of single will before the act of its public expression, and identity of the will and actions of the authorities. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx are the most prominent representatives of this theory of democracy. Rousseau’s Political Philosophy Idealizing the natural state, a kind of “golden age,” Rousseau believed that the civil state must guarantee the recovery of natural equality of man in the form established by the contract freedoms. Rousseau is considered the father of the classical theory of democracy, since he introduced the idea of popular sovereignty. By creating a state, people do not put themselves under the authority of the sovereign, but become the bearers of the supreme power. Considering the sovereignty of the people as indivisible, he opposed the division of sovereignty between any of the bodies. The legislature cannot be transferred to parliament, and must be carried out directly by the people. All laws are created by the common will of the people. Rousseau’s criticism of liberalism manifested itself most profoundly in the interpretation of the equality problem. Rousseau distinguishes between legal equality—or formal equality—and de facto equality. ...
And it would be unfair, according to ideologues of liberalism, if a fool and a wise man were equal. Rousseau, for all his “naturalism”, argues differently. By nature, he says, all people are equal. This does not mean that the strong and the weak are equal in strength. In physical strength they are not equal. But they are equal in the right to live. And if this equality is recognized, the strong will help the weak to survive. And then the weak will feel equally strong. But the strong can hurt the weak. And he can take advantage of the weakness of another person in order to subjugate him, to make him work in order to get rich, etc. Similarly, a stupid person can be treated in different ways: one can sympathize with his stupidity, but one can take advantage of his stupidity to deceive him for one’s own selfish purposes. According to Rousseau, natural inequality is compounded by the inequality in the social conditions of life. And the actual inequality of men is manifested primarily in the inequality of social conditions. That is why humanism in modern society should create equal conditions for healthy people and the most hopeless people with disabilities. Though it could be possible, with reference to their “inferiority”, simply to reject physically defective people, or enclose them in special reservations. Modern society has become so rich that it can afford to be humane. At the time of Rousseau, it was not so rich. Rousseau proclaimed the need for the actual equality of all people in the society, which was still very far from the economic state when equality could be achieved. Rousseau can be accused of utopianism. But without such utopians ...Show more


Rousseau, Marx, and the Critique of Classical Liberalism Introduction Many thinkers tried to overcome the shortcomings of the liberal state and to implement a genuine democracy, in other words, the concept of collectivist democracy. This type of democracy in theory was designed in sufficient detail…
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