Resuming where we left off, Rousseau observes that "Gods would be needed to give laws to men." (p. 286) He speaks here, not to advocate theocracy, but to point out the difficulties involved in making good law. The legislator has tremendous power, but while he needs to possess the power to make laws, he should not have the power over men, that is, the power to enforce them. Tyranny ensues when we combine the legislative authority with sovereign power. (p. 286)
The laws must be suited to the men who are to abide by them. But some men are unruly and will not abide by good laws. There seems to be a contradiction here, but I think what Rousseau is saying is that while there is some variation between people, and therefore of laws which would suit them, some people will not even abide by good law. (p. 287) The injunction to cast not your pearls before swine is good advice, but I'm not certain it fits with the general will.
We come to a curious quote: "Free peoples, remember this maxim: Freedom can be acquired, but it can never be recovered." (p. 288) As Rousseau was an undoubted influence on the Revolutionaries, this strikes me as intriguing. He follows this by pointing out that nations, like people, age. But nations may occasionally experience a resurgence, too. He offers another amusing quip: "The Russians will never be civilized because they were civilized too early." (p.288)
He argues that man may change laws for the worse. (p. 288) Obviously, this is true, but this does not seem consistent with the idea of the general will. He also asserts that "the force of the State creates the freedom of its member." (p. 289) Yet force is the antithesis of freedom.
Aside from the types of laws, fundamental or political, and criminal, the most important of all is engraved on the hearts of its citizens. (p. 289) This strikes me as one of the wisest things Rousseau has said thus far.
Government is defined as follows: "An intermediate body established between the subjects and the sovereign for their mutual communication, charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of civil as well as political freedom." (p. 289)
Of the different forms of government, we have democracy: in which "there are more citizens who are magistrates than are private citizens"; aristocracy: in which "there are more simple citizens than magistrates"; and monarchy, in which there is a single magistrate. (p. 290) Different forms of government are better in different cases, but in general, the larger the state, the fewer should be the magistrates.
Making explicit what he implied before, Rousseau notes: "It is not good for him who makes the laws to execute them..." (p. 291) Despite some of his inclinations towards democracy, a true one cannot exist. But he is speaking here of an assembly of citizens, rather than some form of indirect democracy. "If there were a people of Gods, it would govern itself democratically. Such a perfect government is not suited to men." (p. 291)
Finally, there are three kinds of aristocracy: natural, elective and hereditary. "The first is suited to simple peoples. The third is the worst of all governments. The second is the best; it is aristocracy so-called." (p. 292)