Wednesday, February 27, 2013
History Repeats Itself.
It is in Rousseau's writing above all that history begins to turn from upper-class honor to middle-class humanitarianism. Most social order is a fraud perpetrated by the rich on the poor to protect their privileges. The law, he considered, generally backs the strong over the weak; justice is largely a weapon of violence and domination, while culture, science and religion are harnessed to the task of preserving the status quo. The institution of the state has "bound new fetters on the poor and given new powers to the rich". "The human race has been subjected to labor, servitude and misery”. Universities are no longer educational in any sense of the word. Instead, they have become unabashed instruments of capital. To bow to a law one did not have a hand in creating was a recipe for tyranny. Self-determination lay at the root of all ethics and politics. Human beings might misuse their freedom, but they were not truly human without it. The democracy he cherished so dearly is under siege from corporate power and a manipulative media. Society, he thought, was a matter of common bonds, not just a commercial transaction. In true republican fashion, it was a place where men and women could flourish as ends in themselves, not as a set of devices for promoting their selfish interests.