Bentham, Jeremy: Anarchical Fallacies
Preliminary Observations: French Revolution’s product, The Declaration of the Rights of Man buses words, begging the question and is built upon abstract propositions. Such improper usage of language is unacceptable and has no place in constitutional and fundamental laws.
Article I: Men are born and remain free, and equal in respect of rights. Social distinctions cannot be founded, but upon common utility.
1. All men are born free. 2. All men remain free.
Problem 1. Men are not born free – they are all born in subjection to their parents, and are wholly dependent upon them for the sake of existence. In turn, mankind’s continuance depends on the individual’s survival too.
Problem 2. There is no clarification accompanying the statement on whether the claim is applicable to the pre-existence of political society (state of nature) or during the existence of political society. If it is the prior, the claim is then irrelevant. If it is the latter, then the claim is false.
Problem 3. As to why the claim is false if applied to the latter – certain men are born slaves. By Lock’s Second Treatise of Government, laws of being need to abide by laws of nature in order to be valid. In acknowledging so, laws of nature are sufficient determinants of the rights of men. However, a political law which supports slavery contradicts the laws of nature and thus is invalid.
Lord Bacon says that the judge who tortures laws to torture men is cruel. However, crueller is the anarchist who, in order to subvert the laws whereby subverting the legislators and men, tortures not only words of the law, but the vitals of language. Therefore, in accordance to Descartes’ maxim Whatever is, is, the key difference between the moderate man and the anarchist is the unjustified rejection of what is.
3. All men are born equal in rights.
Problem 1. Men are not born equal in rights. Consider the differences in the rights of the heirs of the most indigent family and wealthiest family. Since the French law has defined the law of universal independence, the fundamental rights of men, it is applicable to every single government. Therefore, the inequality in rights stands true for all governments.
Problem 2. In reference to Article 13 – A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among all the citizens in proportion to their means – the claim that men are born equal in rights is in variance with itself within the declaration.
4. All men remain equal in rights.
Problem 1. All men do not remain equal in rights, and will never be equal in rights. To presuppose the truth of this claim insinuates that the apprentice and the master are of equal knowledge and skills, that the wife and the husband are of equal status and say, and that the ward and the guardian are of equal wisdom and power. To exemplify the flaw in this claim, it supports the madman in confining people as much as people confining the madman. In reality, the government does not allow the society to function as such, therefore contradicting the claim.
More specifically with the case of the husband and the wife, the declaration is antagonistic towards marriage since no two differing wills can take effect at the same time and consequently, inequality within a marriage is inevitable.
In regard to the master and the servant, there is no compatibility between liberty and servitude – they are diametrically opposite concepts. Better a man should starve than hire himself; in doing so, he reverts back to the state of nature – as Aristotle states in Politics, a man who lives divorced from the exchanges of society and is completely self-sufficient (his own master and his own servant) can only be god or beast.
Problem 2. The extent of rights apply to property and wealth to –...
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