I was reading this little snippet from Rousseau the other day, and couldn’t help but think of Occupy Wall Street although the passage refers to a simple government and the OWS movement is more of a pursuit of a better government, I still believe the passage is relevant.
This is from Rousseau, Book IV, Page 1, first paragraph of The Social Contract.
As long as a number of men gathered together regard themselves
as a single body, they have only a single will, which
is concerned with the survival and well-being of all of them.
In this case, the state’s machinery is all vigorous and simple
and its rules clear and luminous; there’s no tangle of hidden
agendas; the common good is always obvious, and only good
sense is needed to perceive it. Peace, unity and equality are
enemies of political subtleties. Simple straightforward men
are hard to deceive because of their simplicity; lures and
ingenious excuses don’t work with them—they aren’t even
subtle enough to be dupes! When among the world’s happiest
people we see a group of peasants gathered under an oak
to regulate the state’s affairs, and always acting wisely, can
we help scorning the sophistication of other nations, which
put so much skill and so much mystery into making make
themselves illustrious and wretched?
I’m not the only person to see Rousseau as being applicable to the Occupy Wall Street, there’s a fellow named Jason J. Campbell. His take is based on Rousseau’s A Discourse on Inequality. Please click on the link to see a very thoughtful, intelligent discourse on Occupy Wall Street and it meaning.
Occupy Wall Street and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s A Discourse on Inequality.mpg
- Police Response to Occupy Wall Street is Absurd (forbes.com)
- Lobbying Firm Has Plan To Undermine Occupy Wall Street (alan.com)
- Professional Mediator and Author of Elusive Peace Called Upon to Explain Dynamics of Occupy Wall Street Movement (prweb.com)
- Celebrate Bartleby: The 1st to Occupy Wall Street (aligaeta.wordpress.com)
- Why Occupy Wall Street deserves respect, even from conservatives (akramsrazor.typepad.com)
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