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Single Idea 19816

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 1. Purpose of a State]

Full Idea

The greatest good and purpose of every legislative system boils down to liberty and equality. Liberty because dependence takes force from the body of the state, and equality because liberty cannot subsist without it.

Gist of Idea

A state's purpose is liberty and equality - liberty for strength, and equality for liberty


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], II.11)

A Reaction

The idea of 'taking force' seems to cover the modern welfare state. Rousseau likes robustly self-sufficient citizens. To ensure equality, however, it may be necessary to restrict liberty.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.170