These words Homer puts in the mouth of Ulysses, as he addresses the people. If he had said nothing further than "I see no good in having several lords," it would have been well spoken. For the sake of logic he should have maintained that the rule of several could not be good since the power of one man alone, as soon as he acquires the title of master, becomes abusive and unreasonable. Instead he declared what seems preposterous: "Let one alone be master, let one alone be king. Yet, in the light of reason, it is a great misfortune to be at the beck and call of one master, for it is impossible to be sure that he is going to be kind, since it is always in his power to be cruel whenever he pleases. As for having several masters, according to the number one has, it amounts to being that many times unfortunate.
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James B. Atkinson and David Sices, intro. For all these reasons, the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude merits a more prominent place in scholarly accounts of the development of political philosophy in this period, and in intellectual-historical accounts of the genealogy of sovereignty through the medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods. The scholars responsible for this separate, annotated edition, James B.
Atkinson and David Sices, have done a service not only to the author himself and his work, but also to anyone in the present interested in these vitally important topics. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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Politics of Obedience
Access options available:. James B. Atkinson and David Sices, intro. For all these reasons, the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude merits a more prominent place in scholarly accounts of the development of political philosophy in this period, and in intellectual-historical accounts of the genealogy of sovereignty through the medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods.
Online Library of Liberty
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The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude. The text was published clandestinely in The essay argues that any tyrant remains in power while his subjects grant him that, therefore delegitimizing every form of power. The original freedom of men would be indeed abandoned by society which, once corrupted by the habit , would have preferred the servitude of the courtier to the freedom of the free man, who refuses to be submissive and to obey. This relation between domain and obedience would be resumed later by anarchist thinkers. To him, the great mystery of politics was obedience to rulers.