This book was in my to-read list after all the “conflicts” about people rejecting vaccines during the pandemic. As far as I remember from school, this book was important in the French Revolution and used on most European democracies and constitutions . So I was curious about how the situation would have been managed under the rules of the social contract.
I am was quite surprised that book was quite thin but it was sometimes quite dense (like a good old tiny-letter contract…) and difficult to follow. There are many comments about Sparta, Venice, Jewish law and mainly Rome. And comments from other authors mainly Montesquieu and Maquiavelo.
In general, I consider JJ Rousseau a pure romantic. It seems man is good by nature and the common will makes things fall into its place… As the goal of this contract is to maintain the human freedom in the society. As well, this contract proves that the right of the strongest doesnt work. And political parties are not good!! As well, only in the social contract you can have real (private) property. I struggles to understand the difference between Sovereign and state. A good point expressed is legislation needs to been understood by the people. So it is very important how the language is used to express ideas. So I was quite surprised by that, looks like a genuine interest to reach the masses and he was aware of that difference. Too, the proportion of inhabitants per land benefits different political systems. And the legislator looks a like a special human being that is going to the best for Society. That’s for me one the “most” romantic things in the book. It reminds me a bit to the dictatorship of the proletariat. That is not going to work because Man is not good by nature.
There is a division of power between legislation and executive. Legislation is based on Equality and Liberty (and you add Fraternite’ = France 🙂
It is important of the number of magistrates in a government. It is curious because I think this happens nowadays with parliaments and civil servants.
I expected the book to be mainly focus in “democracy” but when reading about the classification of governments: democracy, aristocracy and monarchy. The best gov is mainly based on the size of the country. So democracy works best in small countries because leaving in a demo”crazy” requires “you” to be a very active part of the government. And looks like it is not very well suited for me… There are three types of aristocracy: natural, elective and hereditary, considering the “elective” the best. That for me, it is kind of the current democracies. We vote for somekind of elite and the govern for us….
And in any kind of government, the challenge is to put the good people in the correct post.
It is interesting that as well, based on the economy and weather!, different types of government are most suitable! And a government is not forever. It needs to change, that is a good thing we do, as power corrupts (man is not good by nature…) And it is very important to have periodic reunions to check on the status (like in Rome) and there shouldnt be a fix capital city so that keeps everybody on their toes regarding the government matters as it is something you can ignore.
Money is showed as a chain, so nothing really positive from an active member of society as it distracts you from the main goal: group will. As well, wealth can make you ignore your responsibilities in the social contract and with too much wealth, you have poverty. Another thing that doesnt work well as you can buy votes, etc etc.
One interesting point is that dictatorships sometimes are needed but must have a fix short term. This is mainly when there is agreements.
A nice quote: “It is easier to conquer than to rule” – true story
Interesting things I found is the death penalty is accepted. I am not sure if I understood well but considers God as the source of Justice.
There is a section about “censorship” that is mainly to keep morality… I wasn’t very sure about this.
And the last part talks about religion. And the conclusion is clear, religion is not compatible with politics! 🙂 It puts as example mainly the Catholicism with Rome.
It is a very dense book of ideas and likely I have left many ideas out and not sure If I am understood all. But it is worth it. At the end, based on this book and my interpretation, people should have follow the government advice about vaccination. But I feel biased anyway because that was what I was trying to verify.
So, insert coin => keep playing => keep learning.