MacKinnon Essay, Research Paper
Rousseau and Marx spearhead the movement of the worker. They attempt to alter current, unjust, stifling situations and bring a natural equivalence to all. Yet, throughout their works, they hardly mention the role of women. Marx does, at one point, acknowledge that women should no longer be known as “private”, but as “collective”: open and free to all men. MacKinnon, a raging feminist? would probably not disagree with Marx on that point, like we’d all think, but agree with him. For it would take away the subjugation of the female by the male, and place everyone on an equal ground (kind of). All three of these views are synthesized somewhat nicely in Rawls, who states that justness is the equivalence of all people, regardless of the consequences. Yet, as though they all seek a relative freedom of the individual (often times, even the female individual), they do not all agree on the consequences and actions that must take place to accomplish that freedom.
Rousseau can be said to be the instigator of Communistic thought. His ideal society existed in Scandinavia, where the “general will” is wonderfully apparent in town and state meetings. He said that the man in his state of nature is equal, and that unequal social conditions are what bring about slavery and divergent classes. Like Marx (or rather Marx like Rousseau), Rousseau sought a society that made all men equal. He wanted a society that brought men back to their original state of equality. Unlike Marx, though, Rousseau can be said to be more of an humanist. He sought the equality through liberty (which was more important), whereas Marx just sought the equality through equal production and wages. Marx wasn’t so much concerned with that actual “liberty” of the individual, he just wanted everything to be equal.
Many years later, Rawls had the chance to observe these theories, and, as an American, revamp them. Rawlsean thought does tend to be a little Socialistic. But above all else, it demands liberty. A nice progression of the three philosophers is apparent (though not in chronological order): Rousseau desired equality (though not as fervently as Marx) and stated that liberty/the abolition of slavery were all necessary for a country, with economic issues never entering his mind; Rawls placed himself between Rousseau and Marx. He too sought “equality”, but it was economic equality, or “justice” that Rawls really . He placed import on economic justice above everything (almost), especially overall wealth, almost taking for granted that the only acceptable society would be one that allowed for the basic human rights; and Marx (though he used Rousseau’s ideas) sought equality with little care for liberty, placing much emphasis on production as the savior of the working man (or the means by which to equalize). MacKinnon, like Rousseau and Marx before her, sought the liberation or emancipation of the individual. Only, when MacKinnon spoke, she spoke in favor of the woman, who’d never really been thought of in philosophy. MacKinnon, like Rawls, sited the Constitution of the United States as a paradigm of moral equality. But unlike everyone else, she was only concerned with that moral equality. MacKinnon wanted the equalization of women and men, and she sited several ways in which men kept women subjugated.
As though each Marx, Rousseau, Rawls, and MacKinnon sought the equality of a certain people, they could hardly be said to have agreed at what the costs are. It’s easy, if you want to promote it like Rawls, who stated it foremost, and then left the topic. But Rawls never really gave a good account of how freedom and democracy were to be maintained in the conversion to an equal society. Marx and Rousseau were more realistic in their pursuit’s of equality. Rousseau showed freedom and liberty (along with the necessary approval of certain rights) as being: an equal voice in government, and didn’t have a problem with a more Socialistic way of creating that. Marx basically didn’t worry about freedom, saying that with equal production freedom was innate. Finally, we end with MacKinnon, whose highly unrealistic view of pornography can be explained in a numeric analogy. MacKinnon knew that she couldn’t change things with a tacit approach, so she approached it radically. For example: if I have 1 and I want to average 6, I don’t ad 6 to get to 6 (that would give me an average of 3.5), I ad 11, a number eleven times the existing number, not get my outcome. MacKinnon and Marx would’ve liked each other’s fervor and desire. They probably could’ve even been “communal” partners, just so long as Marx let her be on top. But it is clear that all of these individuals (maybe not MacKinnon-but she did follow their example of a persuasive fashion of presenting philosophy) built upon previous standards to reach their ideal society. Maybe, if we disregard Marx, MacKinnon, and Rawls as extremists, and use instead people who have proved to be correct (such as Adam Smith), and build upon them, we will reach that lofty goal of both freedom and equality.