The iron logic of Rousseau
On Jean-Jacques Rousseau from the article A philosopher for the Facebook generation from the always-fantastic Theodore Dalrymple:
Rousseau was genuinely revolutionary in the way in which he overturned the notion of Original Sin. For most thinkers before him the question was how Man was to be made good, given his bad or imperfect nature; for Rousseau the question was how Man became bad, given his natural goodness (his answer was society).
So let’s unpack this:
- Man is born good.
- Society makes him bad.
- Society is made up of men.
- Politics can make man whole again.
- Politics is practiced by men.
Did you think this one all the way through, JJ?
Thus this most fascinating man was the originator of the most characteristic of our modern vices – self-expression without self-examination.