return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 19921

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 4. Natural Rights / b. Alienating rights]

Full Idea

If people had wanted to keep any right for themselves, they should have made this provision at the same time as they could have safely defended it.

Gist of Idea

Once you have given up your rights, there is no going back

Source

Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 16.08)

A Reaction

Spinoza is wonderful for grasping nettles. The other fans of social contracts seem blithely cheerful about how it is going to work out. But forming a society is like marriage - a risky commitment which could go horribly wrong.

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.200