Some Notes on Rousseau

Got involved in a multi-party internet slap-fight, where the initiatory party was both condescending and rude from the outset.  She assumed superior intellect from the start and continued to be a total “B word” throughout.

However, she often referred to Hobbes and Rousseau as the underpinnings for her arguments that “should be very basic and well known” as if it is just plain ol’ obvious that our betters need to initiate violence, lest there be chaos (anarchy!).

Here are some notes in my quick research about one of her heroes, the French Radical Commie,  Jean Jacques Rousseau:


Locke, you have rights in a state of nature.  You may need protection of those rights.  His argument for governments.

Rousseau is different.  He thinks rights are GRANTED by government.  Humans give up ALL of their rights to the “General Will”.  It is above and beyond all of our aggregate wills.  The community will decide the laws that we will all live by.  The general laws of society.  When we give up our freedom to the general will, we are freer than we were before because we can now do what we want to do.

Does everyone agree on the same thing?

He believes that the legislator can get people to not worry about their individual interests, but can be molded into the general will.  Social engineering writ large.

Mistakes cancel each other out in his mind.

Even if you are outvoted…you were incorrect in desiring something counter to the general will.

“No” means yes.

This is the origin of totalitarianism.

It’s intellectual cover and justification for ANY law.

The lawmaker can change the nature of man.

Freedom comes from being bound to the general will.  Very Orwellian.

And here are some quotes from Bastiat which are relevant regarding this mad man:

“Rousseau, being convinced that society is a human contrivance, found it necessary to place law and the lawgiver on an extremely lofty elevation. He saw between the lawgiver and the rest of mankind as great a distance, or rather as great a gulf, as that which separates the inventor of the machine from the inert matter of which it is composed.”

and

” “The legislator,” as Rousseau says, “should feel strong enough to transform human nature.” Hence, what I should aspire to is to become a legislator, in order to impose on mankind a social order of my own invention.”

and

“Whoever, unaware of the fact that the body politic is, like the human body, constituted by virtue of the operation of natural laws, dreams of creating an artificial society and sets about manipulating the family, property, law, and mankind in any way he pleases, is a socialist. He is not studying physiology; he is wielding the sculptor’s chisel on his fellow man. He is not making observations; he is inventing. He does not believe in God; he believes in himself. He is not a scientist; he is a tyrant. He does not serve his fellow men; he disposes of them. He does not study their nature; he changes it, following the advice of Rousseau.”


If you appeal to a monster like Rousseau to underpin your arguments.  I dare say, you have no argument.  This appeal to authority is invalid.

One Reply to “Some Notes on Rousseau”

  1. Nice article!
    If I’m not mistaken, I was part of that discussion. She started out so condescending, assuming we were a bunch of unread hicks. Not to brag, but I was proud when I forced her to admit, “I never heard of ‘utilitarian’ morality. Gotta read up on that I guess.” And she was very surprised to learn of Rousseau’s influence the French Revolution.
    You know what happens when you assume.

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