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This way of living, he argued, can promote liberty and equality – and it arises out of, and fosters, a spirit of fraternity. The cry of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ is familiar to us today through the French Revolution (1789 – 1799) – and the impact of the thinking and experiences of that time have had on political movements in many different parts of the world since. Just how the ‘general will’ comes about is unclear – and this has profound implications. If we are to put the general will over the individual or ‘particular’ will then there needs to be safeguards against the exploitation of individuals and minorities. Rousseau’s belief in liberty, equality and fraternity, and his emphasis on education (see below) may go some way in counteracting the dangers of the general will, but others have hijacked the notion so that the majority rules the minority – or indeed a minority a majority – it just depends who has the power to define or interpret the general will.
George Will writes a twice-weekly column on politics and domestic and foreign affairs. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1977. He is also a contributor to Fox News. His books include One Man’s America: The Pleasures and Provocations of Our Singular Nation (2008), Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy (1992), Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball (1989), The New Season: A Spectator’s Guide to the 1988 Election (1987), and Statecraft as Soulcraft (1983). Will grew up in Champaign, Ill., attended Trinity College and Oxford University, and received a . from Princeton.
I INTRODUCTION Philosophy, Western (Greek philosophia,"love of wisdom"), the rational and critical inquiry into basic principles. Philosophy is often ...