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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Thomas Hobbes (1651) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762) are reknown philosphers of contractarianism. Advocated by Hobbes was an authoritarian monarchy, while Rousseau believed in liberal republicanism. Their work laid foundation for constitutional monarchy, republicanism and liberal democracy. The idea of social contract refers to the giving up of sovereignty to the government by people or to any other authority so as to have in place social order by the rule of law. It can also be described as the agreement by those governed on rules which govern them. This theory is the central pillar in the traditionally significant idea that legal authority of the state must be a result of those governed by it. The beginning point of these theories is a heuristic assessment of the human condition not present from any prearranged social order, usually refered to as the “state of nature”. In this state, a person’s actions are clear only by his or her individual power, controlled by conscience, and external resistance. From this point of view, the different proponents of social contract theory tries to explain, in dissimilar ways, why it is in a person’s cogent self-interest to willingly give up the freedom one has in the state of nature in so as to gain the paybacks of political order  (John, 2004).

In a case where rulea re not clearly stated or constantly enforced, people will tend to take law in their hands and for this reason the society cannot run smoothly go on in absence of law andorder. In this essay, I will establish the rules, prosperity and freedom making reference to the film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. In this film, clash of moaralitis are exposed in the wild-west boundary town of Shinbone, Arizona. There in the dusty streets and dilapidated buildings two self-consistent and self-contained ethical codes come into a clash. One of the moral codes is the Cowboy Ethic, where establishment of trust is through courage, loyalty, and personal commitment to family and to friends, and where disagreements are settled and justice is given out among individuals who have taken the rulings into their hands. The further moral code is the Law Ethic, where establishment of trust is by way of transparency and mutually-agreed upon decree of law, and someplace justice is served abnd disputes are settled among the mnebers of the society, who by virtue of being inhabitants, have tacitly settled to obeying the rules. The fact is that it is only one of the two rules can overcome.

In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, representaion of the Cowboy Ethic is made by two people, one evil person and the other a good character. John Wayne’s personality, Tom Doniphon, is a ferociously loyal and profoundly honest gunslinger compelled to put into effect justice on his personal terms through the command of his being there supported by the gun on his hip. Lee Marvin’s title personality, Liberty Valance, is uncouth and disheveled highwayman whose disorderly behavior aggravates fights by the locals, most of whom fear and detest him.The Law Ethic is characterized by Jimmy Stewart’s character, Ransom Stoddard, a legal representative hell bent on ensuring that his dearly loved Shinbone undergoes a changeover from cowboy evenhandedness to the statute of law. By use of the commonly-employed flashback method, John Ford unwrap his film towards the end of the narrative with the memorial service of Tom Doniphon, in wehich on attedance is aged Stoddard snowed under by reporters questioning why the now-distinguished U.S. Senator would wasted his time to travel to his local town just to be attend the memorial services of a destitute gunfighter.

While they grew up and becoming of age in the wester territory just to some extent out of reach of the extended arm of the law, Stoddard and Doniphon were of fundamentally unlike minds when it came to the service oif justice, with each believing that t the other’s approach is either out-of-date (Doniphon’s gun) or inexperienced (Stoddard’s law). Regardless of the dissimilarity, or possibly for the reason that of the dissimilarity, they turned out to be true to life friends, with each of them trusting that in the ending justice must triumph. On arrival of Liberty Valance at the picture it is clear that he revere only one man, Tom Doniphon, since they share the Cowboy Ethic that men resolve their disagreements honorably among themselves. As Doniphon showed off, “Liberty Valance is the toughest man south of the Picketwire—next to me” (John, 2004).

But Valance’s contempt for the milksop Stoddard and his inexperienced notions about the efficiency of the law recognizes no bounds. On getting into a restaurant where Stoddard is eating dinner, for instance, Valance tells him off, mocking him, and lastly jaunts the waiter, sending Stoddard’s dinner to the ground. As Stoddard humbly endeavours to keep away from a confrontation, Doniphon goes in and gazes down Valance. Valance snaps back, “you lookin’ for trouble, Doniphon?” In his unmatched John Wayne pronunciation, Doniphon makes a response, “You aimin’ to help me find some?” (John, 2004). Valance yields to Doniphon’s confrontation and hurries out of the eating place. “Well now; what do you supposed caused him to leave?” Doniphon questions rhetorically. The scornful reaction from a patron referiong to the impotency of Stoddard’s philosophy makes known the dominant ethic: “Why it was the specter of law and order rising from the gravy and the mashed potatoes” (John, 2004).

In spite of Valance’s steady taunting, Stoddard still belief that until Valance is trapped doing something against the law there can be no righteousness. When Doniphon syas to Stoddard “You better start pack’n a handgun,” Stoddard replies, “I don’t want to kill him. I just want to put him in jail” (David). At the long last, however, Stoddard can no more take the disdain and so he makes up his mind to take on Doniphon’s guidance that “out here a man settles his own problems,” and opts to take gun-fighting lessons from him.When Valance faces up to Stoddard to a dual, the bombastic naïf accepts and a show-down that takes place late-night. In a poorly lit street, the two gentlemen square off. While Stoddard trembles in fear scorns and mocks, shooting initially too high and followed by too low shoots. As soon as Valance takes aim to murder, Stoddard unsteadily draws his gun and discharges it. Valance falls down in a heap. Having eliminated one of the toughest guns in the neighbourhood Stoddard turns out to be a local hero, putting up the image into political capital and toiling his way up from neighborhood politics to a famous career as a United States Senator. It comes into view that the Law Ethic triumphed over the Cowboy Ethic (Quentin, 1978).

Regardless of this being a characteristic shoot-em-up western film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has numerous moral subtleties. The philosopher Patrick Grim, comments that both Stoddard and Doniphon dishonored their main beliefs, but they did so for the reason that this was the only way through which the moral code could put out of place the other. By approving a dual with Valance, Stoddard accepted a form of disagreement resolution that he formerly believed was immoral and illegal and after finding out the fact about who actually shot Liberty Valance, chooses to subsist a lie of omission and then made maximum use of his undeserved heroism. For his part, Doniphon dishonored his moral code by waylaying Valance from the shadows rather than man to man confrontation in the street, and then thrashing the truth concerning what actually took place, thus tacitly approving Stoddard’s fake use of the Cowboy Ethic so as to assist get about the Law Ethic. It’s true that both of them dishonored both codes of morality, and with sufficient irony the single person who did not infringe his moral code was the outrageous Liberty Valance. Towards the end, as Shinbone grows in size the changeover from one moral code to another took place, and in this moral discourse it was amity and faithfulness that easened the change. It was the psychology of belief among individuals that facilitated a society of faith among the united to come to fulfillment (Quentin, 1978).

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