Analysis On How John Locke’s Philosophies Inspired Simon Bolivar To Fight For Venezuela’s Freedom

Simon Bolivar (Creole) was born to a wealthy family. Bolivar put his effort and time into fighting for Venezuela’s independence. Bolivar was inspired in this endeavor by John Locke’s ideas about the Enlightenment. John Locke explains what state of nature people are currently in. The State of Nature refers to a situation in which people can do what they want without being controlled by a government. His enlightenment ideas stated that while people must follow government rules and regulations to be safe, they also have to meet the needs of the people. John Locke believes that the people can take power back from the government if it fails to deliver on the people’s demands. The Creoles and the rest of society are struggling to get independence from their Spanish governments. But Locke’s enlightenment ideas help them understand what they can and cannot do when ruled over by a government. “We’ve already seen the light, so it’s not necessary to return to the darkness …”. (bolivar) Simon Bolivar discusses how the Creoles and the spaniards are in this situation. He describes how Creoles could see freedom in past times and that they almost got there. The Spaniards are preventing them from achieving the freedom and peace they desire. “… When legislators seek to take away, destroy, or reduce the property of the citizens to slavery under arbitrary control, they enter into a state war with them.” (Locke). John Locke shows us what the citizens can do if the government fails its duties. The government may attempt to take and destroy the property of the people. However, society has the right to overthrow it. Both Bolivar as Locke share the same views on governmental control. They are both aware of the potential consequences if the government doesn’t fulfill citizens’ natural rights. The Creoles were unable to join the Spanish government nor to trade. The Spaniards had blocked any communication the Creoles might have been able to reach. Spain was too greedy to allow them to become merchants or traders. Their only concern was the creoles, not their own desires. Bolivar traders and emerchants became a result of Spain’s greed. They concentrated their attention only on the creoles work method, and not on their needs. Bolivar further expands on this idea and reveals how the Creoles were treated in government areas. Locke states that “… no person can be removed from the estate and subjected at will to the power of another individual” (Locke (6). Locke is saying that people are able to decide whether or not they wish to be under governmental control. The people have the right to decide whether they want protection. The government may try to remove consent from the people, but it is not possible.

Bolivar is a different thinker than Locke when it comes to government issues. Bolivar claimed that the Spanish government was only there to make the creoles miserable, while Locke said that the government should protect and preserve them. Bolivar’s description of the Spanish government’s harsh treatment was clear and concise. Bolivar 3, “We are constantly in fear. It is dishonorable and it is causing us harm. The Spanish government has actually done everything to put the Creoles in danger, instead of protecting them. The Spanish government is the “stepmother” of the creoles because they treat them so harshly. The government becomes more successful and less positive, which causes the creoles to become more upset. It makes them more nervous about the government’s next move. This could possibly lead to their death. Locke said that the government should uphold the rights of all citizens and protect them from any harm. The people have placed their trust in the government and given them freedom and liberty. “… is putting their property under government. There are many things lacking in Nature. The creoles would be giving the government power if they gave up their rights. The government was not able to have total and utter control over the people as they used them for safety and protection from other countries. Locke also stated that “the reason men enter into a society contract is to preserve their property.” (Locke 15). If people signed the social contract, they would give the government their rights. This would allow them to have much control over the laws and who is part of it. Bolivar’s and Locke’s views on government and its contribution to the people are therefore different.

A Critique Of Discourse On Inequality, A Book By Jean-jacques Rousseau

How could Rousseau’s General Will eradicate the tendency of individuals not to be distinguished from one another as he had described in the Discourse On Inequality?

Rousseau, in his Discourse on Inequality, identifies the need for individuals to be different from others by living together. Rousseau claims that a General Will is able to control this tendency in order for a society’s functioning. Rousseau’s General Will, however, does not eliminate individuals’ tendency to differentiate themselves from one another. It only regulates it in certain ways to ensure that society can continue.

Rousseau points out two reasons why individuals are prone to be different from one another. It happens when people come together to accomplish concrete common goals (Keohane 1980: p440). From this, they found enjoyment in the social. This creates a competitive environment that allows people to make their own distinctions. Rousseau, in Discourse on Inequality, identifies agriculture’s invention as the reason for this distinction. It meant that people needed two things: property and workers to do it. Rousseau says that equality disappears as soon as one man requires the assistance of another (Gourevich 1997: P167). This refers more to moral and political equality (Gourevich1997) than to physical or natural equality. As people continue to live together, the wants (people to work for them and property) becomes needs (Gourevich 1998). This means that there is no longer an individual desire to stand out from others. “Amour proper” describes a nonnatural and factious form of self-love. Rousseau warned us about the dangers of toxic inequality. Because they are constantly able to distinguish themselves from the rest of humanity, the “amour appropriate” means that they can only be happy with having things (Gourevich 1998). In order to be able to possess property, one must also deprive other people of it (Gourevich, 1997). This creates inequality in society and forces people to interact with one another. Rousseau also identifies the phenomenon of wants becoming needs in societies (Gourevich 1997). Therefore, the individual’s desire to be happy is based on separating oneself from another by denying them property. Rousseau claims that luxury is the ultimate expression this need and leads to despotism. This has the potential of “completely evil”, as societies have started (Gourevich 1997 p202). This means that it will destroy the naturalness in people and create artificial men (Gourevich 2007 p186). Rousseau states that living within a society creates the potential for it to be destroyed if not managed. Rousseau found a solution: the General Will.

Rousseau believed men always act in the best interests of their interpretations (Keohane 1988), so it would seem strange for them not to give up their individual interests to be part society. Rousseau explains how people should follow the General Will in his Discourse on Political Economy (Cole, 1993). This is how the magistrate can keep control of society and prevent it from becoming despotic. Rousseau’s use of terror and violence alone would lead to society’s downfall (Cole 1993). Keohane says that moral behavior is to conform to the common interests. These common interests don’t represent an agreement to share goals, but a harmony among all personal interest. These common interests are created by the legislator, which is not possible in nature (Keohane 1988). Rousseau’s argument, while Hobbesian in the sense that only one power has the authority for legislating, is actually Hobbesian in the sense that citizens can choose to follow General Will. If they don’t, then the sovereign’s responsibility (Cole 1993).

Rousseau proposes the General Will as a solution to political inequalities caused by humans’ tendency to differentiate themselves from one another, as described in the Discourse On Inequality. The General Will doesn’t eliminate humans’ tendency to differentiate themselves from one another, but it does allow this tendency to be controlled. Rousseau’s ideas regarding property and specific wills will be used to support my argument.

Rousseau doesn’t suggest that property should be banned. This means that humans still have the ability to differentiate themselves from one another. Keohane (1980), says that property is still permissible under the Social Contract (which allows for the General Will being followed), and therefore individuals can still remain individuals. Keohane 1980 states that the sovereign is the owner of all property. This is because slavery is, in Rousseau’s view, a violation of human dignity. This compromise allows for individual liberty while maintaining authoritarian moral equality. Rousseau claims that one of our human qualities is our ability as free agents. The sovereign’s control over all property would violate man’s freedom to act freely. Discourse on Inequality shows that the foundation of society was created by having property, which Rousseau explained (Gourevich, 1997). Rousseau addresses the issue of how the wealthy purchase luxury goods and arts to differentiate themselves from the rest (Cole 1993). Rousseau thinks the General Will can end this. However, Rousseau suggests instead that luxury goods be taxed (Cole 93), to allow people to continue to distinguish their properties from each others.

Rousseau states that political society can be made up of smaller, more specialized societies. Each of these smaller societies has its own set interests, expressed in particular wills. The General Will should always be the first priority. However, people will sometimes choose to follow their own interests and go with the particular (Cole 1993:p133). Rousseau assumes that people will follow what is in their best interests. Rousseau insists that the legislature must set the General Will to ensure citizens will follow it. The legislator must, however, “bring all the specific wills into compliance with it [the general will]” (Cole 1993 p140). This is necessary to make sure the General Will is accomplished. Rousseau does not intend to eliminate the human tendency for individuals to be different, but rather ensure that the wills of the distinguished groups are in line with the General Will.

You could argue that smaller societies with specific wills conforming to the General Will is a way to remove their individuality and allow them to follow the same interests. Rousseau, however, does not require that the General Will govern all areas. Rousseau doesn’t specify what the General will must include, so it is up to each legislator to decide. Rousseau states that the legislator must make the General Will according to the population’s wishes in order to maintain patriotism and popular support. However, it is not true that the General Will will eliminate all human differences in social life. This was also demonstrated by the personal property example.

The Discourse on Inequality, in conclusion, identifies the human need to be different from others, particularly in the area of property. Because agriculture requires men to work to make others successful and for men to own their property, it also reflects the desire to be unique. People eventually feel the need to differentiate themselves in society as these wants and needs become necessities. Rousseau believes this can lead society to dangerous despotism, so he proposes the General Will. A General Will allows members to come together and work towards common goals, as set forth by a legislator. The General Will prohibits wealthy men and women from being so self-deprecating that they are unable to give back to others their humanity. However, the General Will does not stop people from identifying themselves as one another. Individuals still have the right to own their property. This makes them distinct from other human beings. Smaller societies in larger political communities still have their individual political interests. Rousseau believes these interests should be aligned to the General Will. But he doesn’t suggest eliminating smaller societies. It is possible for people to be different from one another under the General Will.