return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 19793

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / e. General will]

Full Idea

The problem is to find a form of association which protects with all common forces the person and goods of each associate, by means of which each one, while uniting with all, nevertheless obeys only himself and remains as free as before.

Gist of Idea

We need a protective association which unites forces, but retains individual freedom


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], I.6)

A Reaction

This is the clear purpose of Rousseau's famous concept of the General Will. The idea is that you submit to the general will because you helped formulate it, so you remain free. It is a lovely idea, but notoriously difficult to implement.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.148

Related Idea

Idea 19792 To overcome obstacles, people must unite their forces into a single unified power [Rousseau]