Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 18th Century
Labelled romantic nationalism or social contract, Rousseau’s theory was concerned for equality and liberty, the general will of all the people, the “noble savages.” Feelings stimulate us to do well. to develop, they need to live in a group where their natural goodness will flower, but that has not happened due to the corrupt environment which chains him.
Shake off the chains and let the General Will develop in which humanity’s natural goodness will flourish. Well, tell that to Syria and a lot of other countries. Mob rule is not helpful. Opportunists (yes Jean, there are those around) will take advantage.
Rousseau asks the question “why” when people revolt and riot. Property is not only protected but to do the right thing for the common good [so long as that doesn’t mean culling the herd by fiscal neglect of the poor and elderly, and neglecting the minorities]. Morality and reason is needed in state system to do good.
There are two kinds of love:
- self-love: respect yourself and respect others and love what is right.
- love of the self: looking out for number one, never understanding others and not concerned for others.
Government is a facilitator for the self and others. A shared feeling of self-love comes out of society, becoming integrated into society and become free enjoying one’s own individuality, both autonomous and united.
We are good in our state of nature [we are made in the Creator’s image so by default this must be so – the origin of the humanity’s good state of nature] but as we struggle in society to meet our potential we become corrupt and lose our innocence in our environment.
“Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains.” Chains are imposed by a flawed society. Consequently we need to actively change society so everyone feels as if they belong. Force people to be free and enjoy the general will. Sounds like America when they were trying to take over Canada in the War of 1812.
Alienation leads to separation. A corrupt society separates us from out true selves.
Marx claimed that government protects the dominant so violence needs to be used in retaliation. Nature is a process always changing, and over the long run, improving. Regardless of the times, society has chained humans. “Working men unite….”
Society is in a developmental process against exploitation, against slavery, feudalism, capitalism (one class exploits the other), and socialism where there is no private ownership, workers own their means of production and do not exploit one another. Then you don’t need government. Hmmm….must be what the Russian mob is for. Or, is he looking at the old apprentice model?
Why do people riot? Political philosophers decide what is worse and what is better. All political activity involves either bringing about change from the worse to the better, or preventing a change from the better to the worse.