Consent Theory of Political Obligation

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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All relationships, either personal or political, entail in some way obedience and obligation. The relationship between the individual and the state for this papers purpose will be our focus. The individual is bound to obey the laws that are enforced upon them by the state for many reasons. The laws are in place to protect the community and to promote a just society. No person is obligated to support or comply with any political power unless he has personally consented to its authority over him.

The consent theory supports the idea that man is naturally free. To be born free does not mean to be born without moral constraints of one's actions. It does refer to each man born with the same rights as the next, without governmental coercion. Only when consent is voluntarily given up can the government then have legitimate control. Even then these rights must be operated under the "natural law".

Natural law meaning the prescribed laws that derived from men which are in place at birth. Therefore it seems advantageous to the state to refer to them as natural. There are two areas of moral ties, natural and special. Natural moral bonds are deemed unfounded in political obligation. The natural selection of such moral ties appears to be an equalizer as they too are as developed from man. The special bonds are considered to be entered into, in voluntary relationships. Political obligations are therefore viewed as personal choice. It is the special obligations that bind the citizen to the state. Considering that each individual is "born free" within the natural law it seems relevant to view such bonds as natural. The ability to choose what morally binds us would be as prominent as choosing the natural laws of our state. The claim that man is born...