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Single Idea 19929

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

Full Idea

People have never given up their right and transferred their power to another in such a way that they did not fear the very persons who received their right and power, and put the government at greater risk from its own citizens than from its enemies.

Gist of Idea

Everyone who gives up their rights must fear the recipients of them


Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 17.01)

A Reaction

I take this idea to be Rousseau's key motivation for the idea of the general will, because you are there supposed to be alienating your natural rights to yourself (sort of). In a democracy you alienate them partly to yourself.

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.208