Me vs. We
We’ve all heard it before- “There’s no I in teamwork”, says your 3rd grade gym teacher, “you can’t work well with others unless you cooperate and listen to everyone!” Logical? Yes. Idealist? Perhaps. In a cutthroat, selfish world where the state of nature is supposed to be man against man, all men for themselves, are we supposed to listen to Rousseau’s declaration of the general will vs. the will of all?
The general will seems to make the most sense. We all agree on something, and if someone doesn’t agree but the majority does, then they must secede and cooperate with the opinion of the masses. That said, when you are making a decision, are you more likely to think “How will this benefit everyone?” or “How will this benefit me?” Hobbes did have one thing right- we tend to fend for ourselves. When voting on a candidate that proposes tax cuts for the wealthy, if you’re in the upper percentage of wealth in our country, you’re more likely to vote for that candidate than someone who wishes to raise taxes for the wealthy. It’s not an Us vs. Them world, it’s a Me vs. You world. Decisions are not made with the majority in mind, but the individual.
Although we are often required to make decisions involving more people than just ourselves (i.e. a family budget), but, more often than not, we make decisions based on how they will affect us individually. I’m not going to vote for a candidate that I don’t agree with, and it’s likely that there isn’t a candidate that I agree with entirely, but I’m going to vote for the candidate that I most agree with and that I think will, if elected, yield the most benefit for me. Democracy is selfish- we vote for representatives that we believe will be the best and make decisions that will be most beneficial to us, regardless of what may be best for the majority.