As a prelude to Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta, we introduced three political philosophers who theorized society as a particular kind of "agreement":
Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau agree humans form societies for some kind of mutual benefit. But because they have different beliefs about human nature, they disagree about the nature of that benefit, and the shape society should take. Hobbes and Rousseau take opposite positions about human nature, leading to opposite views on government, as explained in this short video. In contrast to Hobbes's insistence on an absolute monarchy to protect us from ourselves, Rousseau believes that that no official government is needed, because people can govern themselves according to their own voluntary social contract. John Locke, as explained in this video, took the compromise position that there should be an official government, but only to protect the "natural rights" of life, liberty and property - and any State which violated those limits could be overthrown.
Your task is to give your opinion on one or both of these questions (25 points):
a.) Whose theory of human nature and government is best, and why? We began to discuss this in class, so you can elaborate on points you started making or reference classmates' ideas.
b.) Some philosophers argue that a "contract" is the wrong model for thinking about society, since we are simply born into a social world we did not help create or even agree to join. Instead, they emphasize how any society is defined by power struggles over who gets to make the rules. This tradition includes thinkers like Niccolo Machiavelli and Friedrich Nietzsche (the "God is dead" guy). Do you think there is any truth to this argument? Why or why not?