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Single Idea 21100

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / d. Social contract]

Full Idea

Were you to preach in most parts of the world that political connections are founded altogether on voluntary consent or a mutual promise, the magistrate would soon imprison you as seditious for loosening the ties of obedience.

Gist of Idea

The idea that society rests on consent or promises undermines obedience


David Hume (Of the original contract [1741], p.278)

A Reaction

He cites obedience as the prime civic virtue, because the law can't operate without it. He doesn't seem to consider the limiting cases of obedience, which makes him essentially a conservative.

Book Reference

Hume,David: 'Selected Essays' [OUP 1996], p.278