The eleventh chapter of The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace contains Albert Camus‘ 1946 essay Neither Victims nor Executioners. This week we discuss the seventh part of the essay, A New Social Contract. Camus wrote this 16-page essay as World War II had just ended, and it seemed as if the Soviet Union and the United States were dragging the planet into the horrors of a third world war. Eleven years later, he would win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The social contract that Camus is referring to was most famously discussed by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. The social contract is thought to be the terms on which the people consent to be governed. This discussion profoundly influenced the US Declaration of Independence.
Camus goes about drafting his social contract based upon the following assumptions:
- domestic policy is in itself a secondary matter;
- the only problem is the creation of a world order which will bring about those lasting reforms which are the distinguishing mark of a revolution;
- within any given nation there exist now only administrative problems, to be solved provisionally after a fashion, until a solution is worked out which will be more effective because more general.
international code of justice whose Article No. 1 would be the abolition of the death penalty
- Camus’ Neither Victims nor Executioners: International Democracy and Dictatorship (peacecouple.com)
- Camus’ Neither Victims nor Executioners: Parody of Revolution (peacecouple.com)
- Albert Camus’ Neither Victims nor Executioners: Century of Fear (peacecouple.com)
- Saving Our Skins: Camus’ Neither Victims nor Executioners (peacecouple.com)
- Simon Weil’s Reflections on War (peacecouple.com)
- Dorothy Day’s Christian Pacifist Stand against US entry into WWII (peacecouple.com)