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Single Idea 19790

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Natural authority]

Full Idea

The strongest is never strong enough to be master all the time, unless he transforms force into right and obedience into duty.

Gist of Idea

Force can only dominate if it is seen as a right, and obedience as a duty


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], I.3)

A Reaction

Presumably the people only accept force as a right and obedience as a duty if they appear to be in the people's interests - because the alternative looks worse. In other words, they are terrified.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.143