Voting with Rousseau’s “total will”
Voting as a United States citizen is an incredible right that all who are eligible should take advantage of. This was the first election I was able to vote in, and having the ability to change the future of our country was an empowering feeling that I did not want to pass up. I wouldn’t call myself a political expert by any means, but when given different candidates to vote for, I was able to choose one by comparing their views on different issues, and deciding which was most important to me. People chose a representative who they personally believe will do the best job of accomplishing what they want. This desire to want a specific person in office is the total will, or the will of all, according to Rousseau. He does not believe in this type of power, and instead believes in the general will, which is based on decisions that keep the public interest in mind at all times. The general will also entails that the public must come to a consensus on a law, and everyone who agrees to that law (or in terms of the election, voting for a specific candidate who the entire group believes should be in office) must obey that law. I think that Rousseau’s view on the general will is extremely ideological, while the will of all is a much more realistic outlook on politics. Everyone has their own opinion on any and every subject, and forcing people to come to a general consensus that is “for the good of the public” is not actually in the best interest of the people. The most important thing that can be done for the public is for everyone to have the right to his own opinion. In our government, each individual has “the will of all” to have a specific opinion on an issue and vote for what he believes in. Everyone is intrinsically self-interested and will vote for whatever politician they believe will make them most happy. Even though the outcomes of people voting based on personal interests may not always be what is best for society as a whole, if people were not given the right to their own opinion, our country’s founding principals of freedom would be completely nullified. Rousseau may not agree with our current state of government, but taking away rights that have already been given to us would not go over well in the United States.