Friday, September 10, 2021

Rousseau & the origins of liberalism

Roger Scruton with 'The second in a series titled "The betrayal of liberalism"' at The New Criterion.

"In Rousseau, of course, the [social] contract does not amount to much. No sooner are we released from social burdens than we submit to a “general will” that brooks no opposition, and that adds to its commands the insolent assertion that, in obeying it, we are doing our own will. Freedom is no sooner obtained than thrown away. All who have studied Robespierre’s 'despotism of liberty' will know how dangerous Rousseau’s paradoxes can be when their inner (that is to say, religious) meaning is brought to the surface."

See Rousseau, A Lasting Peace through the Federation of Europe, in Gateway to the Great Books (10 Vol., 1963) volume 7; On the Origin of Inequality, On Political Economy, The Social Contract, in Great Books of the Western World (first edition, 52 Vol., 1952) volume 38, (second edition, 60 Vol., 1990) volume 35.

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