1
Jul
2005

Some tricky ideas to watch out for

06/30/05

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was a very influential social and political philosopher who argued that although human nature is benign and good, society has corrupted us all and now we are pretty nasty and also 'everywhere in chains.' He also defended the dubious idea of 'the general will,' some superhuman source of obligation we must all obey, out of which grew all kinds of harmful collectivist ideas that are used by some folks to rationalize the violation of individual rights. Rousseau's notion of the innocent and good savage, corrupted by society, is actually a great confusion. If we are all so nice and gentle to begin with, how come society turned out to be so nasty and mean? What is society, anyway, other than large assemblies of human beings; so if society is making us all nasty, it is, of course, people who are making us nasty...

//www.freemarketnews.com/pview/5834/1902/html/index.php

from Free Market News Network, by Tibor R. Machan


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
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