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State of War - Rousseau (31st October)

Rousseau wants to revert back to state of nature, but impossible. Rousseau sees
state of nature as isolated human beings, with little demands, desires and thus no
conflicts, abundance of resources, with empathy. State of nature is non-
confrontational, no society, no tribes. Rousseau sees state of nature with family
as a second stage, which changes human behaviour.

People start comparing once society forms, concerning imbalances of power. Zero-sum
game, power is relative to that of others.

But why start comparing only when society is formed? Because once associations form
then people need to compare.

Rousseau: more to be said about interstate relations, see Abbe Saint Pierre, to see
how the theory is developed

idea of state of nature being something positive is by Rousseau himself um

questioned in a way if you look at the social contract. Social contract: man was
born free but everywhere he is in chains. Relate to second discourse. Towards the
end people realise that state of nature is insufficient, but did not realise that
move away from state of nature would put them in chains.
Some scholars make the argument that Rousseau forgot what he said earlier. There is
a need to overcome shortcomings of state of nature = formation of state. At
beginning to SC, not interested in empirical development of state, but concerned
with the legitimacy of the state i.e. the social contract >> taking up Hobbes'
argument, that people only obey themselves, that's how they are able to make the
SC Book 2: people are the sovereign, obeying themselves. Citizens are the
sovereign, but also as subjects they obey the law. People are both citizens and

We find 'citizen' in Hobbes and Pufendorf (on the duty of man and citizen: no
conception of citizen because he is just a subject), only Rousseau talks about
sovereignty of people. Brits in this class, citizens of United Kingdom but also
subjects of Her Majesty. Inconceivable in countries like France. Republican idea =
if you are subject then you are subject to the laws given by the people, not by an
external force which you have no control. Roman tradition, of a participatory

Rousseau: general will need to be taught by the legislator, people need to be

forced to be taught the general will. (Tocqueville: Rousseau turns into despotic
revolutionary because of this) They have to be forced to be free. Freedom is core
in Rousseau's theory i.e. to obey the laws you give yourself. Rousseau is writing
for small city states, as citizens of Geneva. Wrote constitution for Corsica.
Realise the need for representation. Wrote proposal for constitution for Poland.
Rousseau's theoretical side and practical writings, differ in important terms.
Those who think they have the right approach and concept would force it on others.
Greens in german in 80s discussing unleathered petrol, a party at that time thinks
they have to be coerced into using it. Force for the right reason is absolutely
fine but problem in deciding which reason is right.

Real critique = benjamin constant criticises Rousseau, political participation is

outdated and burdensome. people want to go about their own businesses instead of
participating in politics. Unnecessary for modern society. Writing after French

People need to be forced to be free? Therefore they have to follow the laws they
develop? The general will: something allowing you to understand what are the right
things. What freedom actually means. Rousseau against majority rule. People as
sovereign obey themselves but in order to know what laws should be in place, the
general will is required. Rousseau like Machiavelli draws on the law giver =
republican problem. Rousseau thinks people needed to be forced to believe in the
general will, with the aim of political liberty, to allow people to live in a
state, legitimate and protecting individual liberty. Normative guidance to
understanding why particular wills might collide with the interests of the society.
If Rousseau doesn't want to rely on majority rule, then the general will has to
come in.

Rousseau dialectic, develops his arguments as he writes.

And now into the text

Discussion topics
- struggle between Rousseau and Hobbes, R's critique of Hobbes - we might not be
inclined to attack people but not vice versa, best defense is a good offence,
relative nature of power - fight for glory,

Hobbes: Cities are crtificially created to prevent war/get out of state of nature.
Rousseau: emergence of war is product of state organisation. Desire to increase
power, security. State of war is a permanent state ... relations between man and
man, .Relationship between man and man in in contant flux. but state of war needs
permanence. Rousseau highlights the dark side of the state, being omnipotent,
everyone is a member of the state before being a man.

Only states can go to war but not people

Thoughts? self-contradictory? War can start between individuals and then become a
state issue. e.g. conflict between kings? It's more shaded. Between groups, not
only states.

But R doesn't want to call any conflict a war. Individuals are accidentally enemies
not as man or citizens, but soldiers

Definition of war? Clausewitz?

Idea: R defines war as effect to destroy the enemy in self-preservation. Man

doesn't have the intention of eliminating other man. There is no use in destroying
other man. Parallel to Hobbes, remember the wolf quote, applies to between armies.
Hobbes: war of all against all, R: individuals are not really in war against war.
state of nature is not state of war, but sth different. Rousseau close reader of
Locke than Hobbes, but leans closer to Hobbes in the end.

Def of war, not denying conflict between individuals, but the point is it requires
state sovereignty. Laws of nature aren't really solving conflicts, due to

War is sth specific, requiring existence of the state. Distinguishes it from other
conflicts. Hobbes' natural law doctrine aims to reduce war by legal restrictions,
idea of law is deficient, state as conflict agent is characterising war. What makes
war legitimate? Can be found in the natural law tradition.
R: war requires a declaration. Individuals don't do that, without any warning.
Looking at every day conflicts.

What would R say about terrorist groups? They do declare war. Schimdt on asymmetric
warfare. Most terrorists/partisans don't follow rules of war. They're not
recognisable as open combatants. Need a different approach in fighting big nations.
Pirates? Not part of the understanding of laws of nature. Not inside the framework
but not addressed by R, Kant said something about it but unimportant because focus
on interstate conflicts. Soldiers are precious until Napoleon.

War, ideological/cold war? For R would it be a state of war? Gentilli: state

sovereigns are required to declare war. If we had only republics we won't go to war
but only prices declare them.

R: any other conflicts would not merit 'war'. Effect of mutual steady disposition
to weaken/destroy, prolonged, even without action, still maintains the state of
war. See Clausewitz.

'War' against all doesn't make sense.

Cold War is a state of war because of preparation to fight. War has to be physical,

Republics are exception in Rousseau's time, most of them are empires. Sovereign can
declare war.

Moral person? wtf?

Destruction of state doesn't always mean physical destruction, but you can destroy
the makeup of a state. Only sovereign states can wage war in the first place. I
think um part of the problem is it's not developed here, not really about social
contract/about the general will being 'sovereign'. Different subject!!!!!!!!!!
That's how we still define it today, vs internal conflict. War on terror is a
conflation of the term because there are no two states. Concept of enemy crucial
for Schimdt and Gentilli, enemy needs to have a certain status.

State of war existed between Helot and Lace? wtf? but one is master and one is
slave. masters are constantly at war with slaves? Hegel: perception/qualification
of enemy. Actual war/state of war. State of war can exist between individuals but
not actual war? R wants to reduce any other conflicts other than war because that's
the most devastating conflict there is and puts the responsibility of war on the
existence of state, critical of early modern state.

Private war? What is a private war? Only reducible to individuals? There are other
entitles, East India Company? Dutch writer, Gurchius? Does the company have a right
to impound a portugese vessel? Yes because they are at the state of war.

Necessity of states in declaring war.

Declaration of War.