Sec. 8-9: Allegiance

SEC. 8: THE SOURCE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

  • Government is a very advantageous invention.
    • Sometimes, it is even absolutely necessary to mankind.
    • It is not necessary in all circumstances.
      • It is possible for men to preserve society for some time without government.
  • People are always much inclined to prefer present interest to a distant and remote interest.
    • We cannot easily resist the temptation of any immediate advantage, in apprehension of an evil that lies a distance away.
  • This weakness is less conspicuous when life’s possessions and pleasures are few and of little value.
    • This is always the case in society’s infancy.
  • A Native American is little tempted to:
    • dispossess another of his hut, or
    • steal his bow, since he already has the same advantages.
  • Doing so in hunting and fishing:
    • is only casual and temporary
    • will disturb society only a little.

 

  • Men are not incapable of society without government.
    • The first rudiments of government arise from quarrels, not among men of the same society, but among men of different societies.
  • Fewer riches are needed to create external conflicts, than is needed to create internal conflicts.
  • Men fear public war and violence because of the resistance they meet.
    • It seems less terrible because:
      • they share it in common
      • it comes from strangers.
    • It has less pernicious consequences than a war with a society whose commerce is advantageous to them and without which, it is impossible for them to subsist.
  • A foreign war to a society without government necessarily produces civil war.
  • Throw any considerable goods among men, they instantly fall into quarreling.
    • Each strives to get what pleases him without regard to the consequences.
  • In a foreign war, the most considerable of all goods, life and limbs, are at stake.
    • Everyone:
      • shuns dangerous ports
      • seizes the best arms
      • seeks excuse for the slightest wounds.
    • The laws during peacetime can no longer take place during such a commotion.

 

  • We find this in the American tribes where people live in concord among themselves without any government.
    • They only submit to their fellows during wartime.
    • Their captain then enjoys a shadow of authority which he loses after:
      • their return from the field
      • the establishment of peace.
  • However, this authority:
    • instructs them in the advantages of government
    • teaches them to have recourse to it, when their riches and possessions have become so considerable.
      • These riches make them forget their interest in the preservation of peace and justice.
  • This is a plausible reason why:
    • all governments are at first monarchical, without any mixture and variety
    • republics arise only from the abuses of monarchy and despotic power.
  • Camps are the true mothers of cities.
  • War cannot be administered, by reason of the suddenness of every exigency, without some authority in a single person.
    • The same kind of authority naturally takes place in that civil government which succeeds the military.
  • This reason is more natural than the common reason derived from patriarchal government, or the authority of a father.
    • The patriarchal government is said to:
      • take place first in one family
      • accustom its members to the government of a single person.
  • A society without government is one of the most natural states of men.
    • It must submit with the conjunction of many families, and long after the first generation.
  • Only an increase of riches and possessions could oblige men to quit it.
    • All societies are so barbarous and uninstructed on their first formation.
      • Many years must pass before these can increase to such a degree, as to disturb men in the enjoyment of peace and concord.
  • It is impossible that people can maintain any society without justice and the observance of those three fundamental laws on:
    • the stability of possession
    • its translation by consent
    • the performance of promises.
      • These are, therefore, antecedent to government.
      • These are supposed to impose an obligation before the duty of allegiance to civil magistrates.
  • On its first establishment, government would naturally derive its obligation from those laws of nature, particularly from the law on the performance of promises.
    • After men perceive the necessity of government to maintain peace and justice, they naturally:
      • assemble together
      • choose magistrates
      • determine power
      • promise them obedience.
  • A promise is supposed to be a bond or security already in use.
    • It is attended with a moral obligation.
    • It is to be considered as the:
      • original sanction of government
      • source of the first obligation to obedience.
  • This reasoning appears so natural.
    • It has become the foundation of our fashionable system of politics.
    • It is the creed of a party among us, who reasonably pride themselves on the:
      • soundness of their philosophy
      • their liberty of thought.
  • They say all men are born free and equal.
    • Government and superiority can only be established by consent.
    • Men’s consent in establishing government imposes a new obligation unknown to the laws of nature.
  • Therefore, men are bound to obey their magistrates only because they promise it.
    • If they had not given their word expressly or tacitly to preserve allegiance, it would never have become a part of their moral duty.
  • However, this conclusion when carried to comprehend government in all its ages and situations, is entirely erroneous.
    • The duty of allegiance is:
      • at first grafted on the obligation of promises
      • supported by that obligation for some time.
    • Yet it:
      • quickly takes root of itself
      • has an original obligation and authority, independent of all contracts.
    • We must examine this principle carefully.

 

  • Those philosophers, who assert justice to be a natural virtue antecedent to human conventions, can reasonably:
    • resolve all civil allegiance into the obligation of a promise
    • assert that it is our own consent alone, which binds us to any submission to magistracy.
  • All government is plainly an invention of men.
    • The origin of most governments is known in history.
    • It is necessary to mount higher, in order to find the source of our political duties, if we would assert them to have any natural obligation of morality.
  • These philosophers quickly observe that:
    • society is as ancient as the human species
    • those three fundamental laws of nature are as ancient as society.
  • Those philosophers take advantage of the antiquity and the obscure origin of these laws.
    • They first deny them to be artificial and voluntary inventions of men.
    • They then seek to ingraft other more artificial duties on these laws.
  • But after we are undeceived and find that natural and civil justice derives its origin from human conventions, we quickly perceive how fruitless it is to:
    • resolve the one into the other.
    • seek a stronger foundation in the laws of nature for our political duties than interest and human conventions, while these laws themselves are built on the very same foundation.
  • Whichever side we turn this subject, we shall find that these two kinds of duty:
    • are exactly on the same footing
    • have the same source of their first invention and moral obligation.
  • They are contrived to:
    • remedy similar inconveniences
    • acquire their moral sanction from their remedying those inconveniences.
      • We shall prove these two points.

 

  • Men invented the three fundamental laws of nature when they:
    • observed the necessity of society
    • found that it was impossible to maintain any correspondence together, without some restraint on their natural appetites.
  • The same self-love which renders men so incommodious to each other:
    • takes a new and more convenient direction
    • produces the rules of justice
    • is the first motive of the observance of those rules.
  • But when it is impossible for men to observe those rules in large and polished societies, they invent government to:
    • attain their ends
    • preserve the old, or
    • procure new advantages by a stricter execution of justice.
  • So far, our civil duties are connected with our natural duties.
    • Our civil duties are invented chiefly for the sake of our natural duties.
    • The principal object of government is to constrain men to observe the laws of nature.
      • However, that law of nature on the performance of promises is only comprised along with the rest.
        • Its exact observance is an effect of the institution of government.
        • The obedience to government is not an effect of the obligation of a promise.
    • The object of our civil duties is the enforcement of our natural duties.
      • Yet the initial motive of the invention of government and the performance of both is self-interest.
      • Since there is a separate interest in the obedience to government from the interest in the performance of promises, we must allow a separate obligation.
  • Obeying the civil magistrate is needed to preserve order and concord in society.
  • Performing promises is needed to beget mutual trust and confidence in life.
  • The ends and the means are perfectly distinct.
    • The one is not subordinate to the other.

 

  • Men will often bind themselves by promises to the performance of what it would have been their interest to perform, independent of these promises.
    • As when they would give others a fuller security, by super-adding a new obligation of interest to that which they formerly lay under.
  • The interest in the performance of promises, besides its moral obligation, is general, avowed, and of the last consequence in life.
  • Other interests may be more particular and doubtful.
    • We have a suspicion that men may indulge their humour or passion, in acting contrary to them.
  • Here promises:
    • come naturally in play
    • are often required for fuller satisfaction and security.
  • But supposing those other interests to be as general and avowed as the interest in the performance of a promise:
    • they will be regarded as on the same footing
    • men will begin to repose the same confidence in them.
  • This is exactly the case with regard to our civil duties, or obedience to the magistrate.
    • Without our civil duties:
      • no government could subsist
      • no peace or order could be maintained in large societies where there are:
        • so many possessions on the one hand
        • so many real or imaginary wants on the other.
    • Our civil duties, therefore, must soon:
      • detach themselves from our promises
      • acquire a separate force and influence.
  • The interest in both is of the very same kind.
    • It is general, avowed, and prevails in all times and places.
  • There is, then, no pretext of reason for founding the one on the other; while each of them has a foundation peculiar to itself.
    • We might as well resolve the obligation to abstain from the possessions of others, into the obligation of a promise, as that of allegiance.
  • The interests are not more distinct in the one case than the other.
    • A regard to property is not more necessary to natural society, than obedience is to civil society or government;
    • nor is the former society more necessary to the being of mankind, than the latter to their well-being and happiness.
  • In short, if the performance of promises is advantageous, so is obedience to government.
    • If the former interest be general, so is the latter.
    • If the one interest be obvious and avowed, so is the other.
  • As these two rules are founded on like obligations of interest, each of them must have a peculiar authority, independent of the other.

 

  • Both the natural obligations of interest and the moral obligations of honour and conscience are distinct in promises and allegiance.
    • The merit or demerit of the one does not depend on the merit or demerit of the other.
  • If we consider the close connection between the natural and moral obligations, we shall find this conclusion to be unavoidable.
    • Our interest is always engaged on the side of obedience to magistracy.
    • Only a great present advantage can lead us to rebellion, by making us over-look our remote interest in the peace and order in society.
  • A present interest may blind us with regard to our own actions.
    • But it does not take place with regard to those of others.
    • It does not hinder them from appearing in their true colours, as highly prejudicial to:
      • public interest
      • our own interest in particular.
  • This naturally gives us an uneasiness in considering such seditious and disloyal actions.
    • It makes us attach the idea of vice and moral deformity to them.
    • The same principle causes us to disapprove:
      • all kinds of private injustice
      • particularly the breach of promises.
  • We blame all treachery and breach of faith.
    • Because we consider that the freedom and extent of human commerce depend entirely on a fidelity with regard to promises.
  • We blame all disloyalty to magistrates.
    • Because we perceive that without submission to government, it is impossible to:
      • execute justice
      • stabilize possessions
      • transfer possessions by consent
      • perform promises.
  • Here, two interests are entirely distinct.
    • They must give rise to two moral obligations, equally separate and independent.
  • There was no such thing as a promise in the world.
    • But government would still be necessary in all large and civilized societies.
    • If promises had only their own proper obligation, without the separate sanction of government, they would have but little efficacy in such societies.
  • This separates the boundaries of our public and private duties.
    • It shows that the private duties are more dependent on public duties, than the public on the private.
  • Education, and the artifice of politicians, concur to:
    • bestow a further morality on loyalty
    • brand all rebellion with more guilt and infamy.
  • Politicians are very industrious in inculcating such notions, where their interest is so particularly concerned.

 

  • The obligation of submission to government is not derived from any promise of the subjects.
  • Anyone does not need to wonder, that though I have all along endeavoured to establish my system on pure reason
  • and have scarce ever cited the judgment of philosophers or historians on any article.
  • I will now appeal to popular authority and oppose the sentiments of the rabble to any philosophical reasoning.
    • For in this case, men’s opinions:
      • carry with them a peculiar authority
      • are infallible.
  • The distinction of moral good and evil is founded on the pleasure or pain resulting from the view of any sentiment, or character.
    • That pleasure or pain must be known to the person who feels it.
  • It follows [Footnote 22] that:
    • there is just so much vice or virtue in any character, as every one places in it.
    • it is impossible that we can ever be mistaken in this.
  • Our judgments on the origin of any vice or virtue is not so certain as those concerning their degrees.
    • The question in this case does not regard any philosophical origin of an obligation, but a plain matter of fact.
      • Thus, it is not easily conceived how we can fall into an error.
  • A man who acknowledges himself to be bound to another for a certain sum, must certainly know whether it is:
    • by his own bond or by his father’s hand
    • of his mere goodwill or for money lent him
    • under what conditions
    • for what purposes he has bound himself.
  • Similarly, there is a moral obligation to submit to government.
    • Because everyone thinks so.
    • This obligation does not arise from a promise.
    • Since no one has ever yet dreamed of ascribing it to a promise.
    • Magistrates nor subjects have formed this idea of our civil duties.

 

Footnote 22:

  • This proposition must hold strictly true with regard to every quality that is determined by sentiment.
  • Afterwards, we shall consider in what sense we can talk of a right or a wrong taste in morals, eloquence, or beauty.
  • There is such an uniformity in mankind’s general sentiments, as to render such questions of small importance.

 

 

  • Magistrates are far from deriving their authority.
    • The obligation to obedience in their subjects is far from the foundation of a promise or original contract.
    • Magistrates conceal that they have their origin from this.
  • If this were the sanction of government, our rulers would never receive it tacitly.
    • Since what is given tacitly and insensibly can never have such influence on mankind, as what is performed expressly and openly.
  • A tacit promise is where the will is signified by other more diffuse signs than those of speech.
    • But there must certainly be a will in the case.
    • That can never escape the person’s notice, however silent or tacit.
  • But if you ask the majority of the nation whether they had ever consented to the authority of their rulers, or promised to obey them, they would think very strangely of you.
    • They would reply that the affair did not depend on their consent, but that they were born to such an obedience.
  • Because of this opinion, we frequently see them imagine such persons to be their natural rulers.
    • At that time, they are deprived of all power and authority.
    • No man, however foolish, would voluntarily choose this merely because their rulers are in that line or rulers.
      • Those rulers perhaps succeeded a long time ago that no one alive could ever have given any promise of obedience.
  • Does a government then have no authority over these, because they never consented to it?
    • Will a government esteem the attempt of such a free choice as a piece of arrogance and impiety?
  • The government punishes them very freely for treason and rebellion.
    • According to this system, the government reduces itself to common injustice.
  • If you say that by dwelling in its dominions, they in effect consented to the established government, I answer that this can only be where they think the affair depends on their choice.
    • Besides those philosophers, few or no one has ever yet imagined this.
  • A rebel never waged war against the sovereign as his first act in life.
    • As a child, he could never bind himself to that by his own consent.
    • Having become a man, showed plainly, by the first act he performed, that he had no design to impose on himself any obligation to obedience.
  • On the contrary, we find that civil laws punish this crime at the same age as any other, which is criminal, of itself, without our consent;
    • that is, when the person is come to the full use of reason:
  • Whereas to this crime they should allow some intermediate time, in which a tacit consent at least might be supposed.
  • A man living under an absolute government would owe it no allegiance.
    • Since, by its very nature, it does not depend on consent.
  • But as that is as natural and common a government as any, it must occasion some obligation.
    • The men, who are subjected to it, do always think so.
  • This is a clear proof, that we do not commonly esteem our allegiance to be derived from our consent or promise.
    • When our promise is on any account expressly engaged, we always distinguish exactly between the two obligations
    • and believe the one to add more force to the other, than in a repetition of the same promise.
  • Where no promise is given, a man does not look on his faith as broken in private matters because of rebellion.
    • but keeps those two duties of honour and allegiance perfectly distinct and separate.
  • These philosophers thought that their unity was a very subtle invention.
    • This is a convincing proof that it is not a true one.
    • Since no man can give a promise or be restrained by its sanction and obligation unknown to himself.

SEC. 9: THE MEASURES OF ALLEGIANCE

  • Some political writers thought of a promise, or original contract, as the source of our allegiance to government.
    • They intended to establish a perfectly just and reasonable principle.
      • But the reasoning which established it was fallacious and sophistical.
    • They would prove that:
      • our submission to government admits of exceptions
      • an egregious tyranny in the rulers is sufficient to free the subjects from all ties of allegiance.
  • They say that since men enter into society and submit themselves to government by their free and voluntary consent, they must have certain advantages in view.
    • They propose to reap from those advantages.
    • They are contented to resign their native liberty for them.
  • Therefore, there is something mutual engaged on the magistrate’s part: protection and security.
    • Only by the hopes of these advantages, can he ever persuade men to submit to him.
  • But when instead of protection and security, they meet with tyranny and oppression, they:
    • are freed from their promises (as in all conditional contracts)
    • return to that state of liberty which preceded the institution of government.
  • Men would never be so foolish to enter engagements that would turn entirely to the advantage of others, without any view of bettering their own condition.
    • Whoever proposes to profit from our submission must engage himself expressly or tacitly to make us reap some advantage from his authority.
    • We should not expect that we will ever continue in obedience without the performance of his part.

 

  • This conclusion is just.
  • But the principles are erroneous.
    • I flatter myself that I can establish the same conclusion on more reasonable principles.
  • I shall not assert that:
    • men perceive the advantages of government
    • men institute government with a view to those advantages
    • this institution requires a promise of obedience which imposes a conditional moral obligation.
      • This obligation ceases to be binding whenever the other contracting party does not perform his part.
  • I perceive that a promise itself:
    • arises entirely from human conventions
    • is invented with a view to a certain interest.
  • Therefore, I seek an interest that:
    • is more immediately connected with government
    • may at once be:
      • the original motive to its institution
      • the source of our obedience to it.
  • I find this interest to consist in the security and protection which we:
    • enjoy in political society
    • can never attain if we were perfectly free and independent.
  • Interest is the immediate sanction of government.
    • The one exists as long as the other exists.
    • Whenever the civil magistrate oppresses so far as to render his authority intolerable, we are no longer bound to submit to it.
      • The cause ceases.
      • The effect must cease also.

 

  • The conclusion on our natural obligation towards allegiance is immediate and direct.
  • But in moral obligation, when the cause ceases, the effect does not cease.
    • Because it is a principle of human nature that men:
      • are mightily addicted to general rules
      • often carry our maxims beyond those reasons, which first induced us to establish them.
  • When cases are similar in many circumstances, we are apt to put them on the same footing, without considering that:
    • they differ in the most material circumstances
    • the resemblance is more apparent than real.
  • In the case of allegiance, our moral obligation of duty will not cease even if the natural obligation of interest which caused it, has ceased.
    • Men may be bound by conscience to submit to a tyrannical government against:
      • their own interest
      • the public interest.
  • General rules commonly extend beyond the principles they are founded on.
    • We seldom make any exception to them, unless that exception:
      • has the qualities of a general rule
      • is founded on very numerous and common instances.
  • This is entirely the present case.
    • Men submit to the authority of others to procure themselves some security against the wickedness and injustice of men, who are carried by their:
      • unruly passions
      • present and immediate interest.
    • But this imperfection is inherent in human nature.
      • Our rulers do not immediately become of a superior nature to the rest of mankind because of their superior power and authority.
      • What we expect from them does not depend on a change in their nature but of their situation.
        • In this change, they acquire a more immediate interest to preserve order and execute justice.
      • This interest is only more immediate in the execution of justice among their subjects.
      • We expect, from the irregularity of human nature, that they will:
        • neglect even this immediate interest
        • be transported by their passions into the excesses of cruelty and ambition.
  • All the following induce us to:
    • open the door to exceptions
    • make us conclude that we may resist the violent effects of supreme power, without any crime or injustice:
      • our general knowledge of human nature
      • our observation of history
      • our experience of present times.

 

  • This is mankind’s general practice and principle.
  • A nation that could find a remedy, never:
    • suffered the cruel ravages of a tyrant, or
    • was blamed for their resistance.
  • Those who took up arms against Dionysius, Nero, or Philip II, are favoured by the readers of their history.
    • Only the most violent perversion of common sense can make us condemn them.
  • In all our notions of morals, we never entertain such an absurdity as that of passive obedience.
    • Instead, we make allowances for resistance in the more flagrant instances of tyranny and oppression.
  • Mankind’s general opinion has some authority in all cases.
    • But the general opinion in morals is perfectly infallible.
  • Nor is it less infallible, because men cannot distinctly explain the principles it is founded on.
    • Few persons can carry on this train of reasoning.

 

  • Government is a mere human invention for the interest of society.
    • When tyranny removes this interest, it also removes the natural obligation to obedience.
  • The moral obligation is founded on the natural.
    • It therefore must cease when that ceases, especially when the subject makes us foresee very many occasions wherein the natural obligation:
      • may cease
      • causes us to form a general rule to regulate our conduct in such occurrences.

 

  • This train of reasoning is too subtle for the vulgar.
    • But all men:
      • have an implicit notion of it
      • are sensible that they owe obedience to government merely because of the public interest.
    • At the same time, human nature is so subject to frailties and passions which may easily:
      • pervert this institution
      • change their governors into tyrants and public enemies.
  • If the sense of common interest were not our original motive to obedience, what other principle is there in human nature, capable of:
    • subduing the natural ambition of men
    • forcing them to such a submission?
  • Imitation and custom are not sufficient.
    • The question still recurs, what motive first produces:
      • those instances of submission which we imitate
      • that train of actions which produces the custom?
  • There is no other principle than public interest.
    • If interest first produces obedience to government, the obligation to obedience must cease, whenever the interest ceases, in any great degree, and in a considerable number of instances.

 

Words: 4326

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