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Subject:  Re: Week 3 Reading: Bentham: Critique of Natural Date:  8/21/2012  9:30 AM
Author:  tabs101 Number:  23711 of 23810

Bentham critiques the Declaration of Rights, given its difficult topic, the natural rights of man, for being produced by committee, a work of many hands that was subsequently sanctioned by government. Not just any government, but a government composed of many disparate parts, suggesting, I think, the impact that the composition of such a varied group will have on notions of “rights”. In addition, he appears to be saying that these facts, who wrote it and what they were writing about, will undermine the overall accuracy and truth of the document.

Further, since the “penners” of this text acquired their power through “insurrection”, they can be seen as creating ideas that justify the revolution. Ironically, though, when a group justifies revolution, they invite it, he observes. These founding fathers are like assassins seeking a title, seeking legitimacy through words. By saying to the masses, here are your rights: if government violates them, even a tiny bit, you have the right ( no, a duty!) to overthrow it, a shaky foundation for government is being laid.

Bentham thinks that the ideas contained in this text are appealing to the selfish passions of the populace. Curtailing these passions is the “great” aim of government, and here a government is arousing these destructive sentiments. Yet this text is honored? (refers to the incendiary of the Ephesian temple..look that up). What is the morality of this document