Monday, July 11, 2005

Book One

I MEAN to inquire if, in the civil order, there can be any sure and legitimate rule of administration, men being taken as they are and laws as they might be. In this inquiry I shall endeavour always to unite what right sanctions with what is prescribed by interest, in order that justice and utility may in no case be divided.

I enter upon my task without proving the importance of the subject. I shall be asked if I am a prince or a legislator, to write on politics. I answer that I am neither, and that is why I do so. If I were a prince or a legislator, I should not waste time in saying what wants doing; I should do it, or hold my peace.

As I was born a citizen of a free State, and a member of the Sovereign, I feel that, however feeble the influence my voice can have on public affairs, the right of voting on them makes it my duty to study them: and I am happy, when I reflect upon governments, to find my inquiries always furnish me with new reasons for loving that of my own country.

MAN is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they. How did this change come about? I do not know. What can make it legitimate? That question I think I can answer.

If I took into account only force, and the effects derived from it, I should say: "As long as a people is compelled to obey, and obeys, it does well; as soon as it can shake off the yoke, and shakes it off, it does still better; for, regaining its liberty by the same right as took it away, either it is justified in resuming it, or there was no justification for those who took it away." But the social order is a sacred right which is the basis of all other rights. Nevertheless, this right does not come from nature, and must therefore be founded on conventions. Before coming to that, I have to prove what I have just asserted.

This concludes chapter one


Blogger Captain Carnage said...

JasonJ, I hope you don't mind if I join this debate - actually I will probably be more of a watcher than a participant.

Mon Jul 11, 11:01:00 PM CDT  
Blogger JasonJ said...

Before this discussion gets too involved, I would like to add some fuel to the fire if I could be so indulgent. As I said previously, the motivation to undertake this venture was given to my by another individual on a different blog site.

The following is a reprint of my interlocutors comments. Let it be stated that although I was disgruntled in the beginning, I hold no animosity towards the individual who made these comments and hope to welcome him into this debate all in his own time.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ta da
Posted by mannning on Jul 7, 2005 04:26pm
JasonJ wrote:


Philosophy Notes on Rousseau January 11, 2002

1. Man is naturally good, but becomes corrupted by society.

2. Human nature is best prior to and apart from social institutions: that people are naturally loving, virtuous, and selfless; and that it is society, with its artificial rules and conventions, that makes them envious, hypocritical, and competitive. See, The Social Contract. (thus, he rejected the concept of Original Sin and Christian Morality.) 3. He rejected anything that limited the freedom of the inner self. “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” He called for freedom from the chain of institutions, rules, customs, and traditions.

4. The revolution is between the society and the state. Between family, church, class, and local community, versus the all-powerful State as savior!

5. Each person should be completely independent from his fellow man, and fully dependent on the state.

6. Since human nature is undefined, there are no moral principles limiting the state’s ambitions. The State need not treat its citizens justly or unjustly, but as it sees the situation at the moment. There are no moral limitations on the State’s use of power. In other words, moral relativism.

7. This philosophy then, advocates the complete overthrow of existing society and its total destruction in order to build a new society from scratch. Thus also invoking the idea of justifying present actions by the future goals of building a perfect society( but which can never happen in the real world as example after example proves.).

8. He believed that one should throw off the constraints of society and explore your inner self, your natural, spontaneous self. ( he was a Bohemian, and had many mistresses, before settling down with Therese, with whom he had 5 bastard children.) 9. Responsibility for rearing and educating children should be taken away from parents and be given to the State. (his five children were left on the doorstep of the local orphanage, since he was not willing to be a parent. Most babies left in this orphanage died soon after entering, which was known to Rousseau.)

10. He believed in conformance to the General Will – merger of individual wills into a grand sum will. The people who rejected the General Will must be forced to be free.

11. These ideas sparked the Reign of Terror in France headed by Robespierre, and the imprisonment of 300,000 nobles, priests and political dissidents, and the deaths of 17,000 citizens in a year.

12. The same pattern was adopted by Marx , Lenin, And Stalin, where the General Will was replaced by the State.

13. Such a philosophy leads directly to tyranny, as we have seen.

So this is your philosophy? You are to be pitied.

These are the points that I intend to spend the most time refuting for my part in this debate. I firmly believe that the words of Mr Rousseau will speak for themselves however as time wears on. I do however look forward to learning some fresh perspectives on this matter.

I must also state here that I am not ashamed of Rousseau being called a Socialist. I consider myself a Socialist, so to find this shameful wouldn't sit so well with my self opinion. I did take offense at the misrepresentation of Rousseau's character. I also realize that this author is often misunderstood and if not read carefully, would at times seem contradictory although in his own words 'I cannot say everything at once', and truth being what it is....some ideas take longer than others to develop. The biggest problem I have encountered in philosophy is that many ideas are abstract in nature. This is necessary because for an idea to be universal, it must be general, and it is difficult to describe things which are general without using equivocation which compares the general to the specific.

Anyhow, to make a short story long. Welcome aboard Captain, I look forward to your perspective here.

Tue Jul 12, 07:52:00 PM CDT  

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