Rousseau’s Reveries revisited

Rousseau predicted Drumpf? No, nobody could have predicted Drumpf. Rousseau was just one of many whose philosophy of chauvinism, paranoia, and resentment preceded and paved his way.

On the other hand, Rousseau’s acknowledgement that the collective good is more than a sum of individual interests was far more public-spirited than “the corn-haired guy” (as he’s known south of the border) seems capable of grasping.

Pankaj Mishra’s essay includes a paragraph my fellow MALA strollers and I should follow up on:

Heinrich Meier, in his new book, “On the Happiness of the Philosophic Life” (Chicago), offers an overview of Rousseau’s thought through a reading of his last, unfinished book, “Reveries of a Solitary Walker,” which he began in 1776, two years before his death. In “Reveries,” Rousseau moved away from political prescriptions and cultivated his belief that “liberty is not inherent in any form of government, it is in the heart of the free man.”

If things don’t go well in the next 100 days, a lot of us are going to have to think about moving “away from political prescriptions.” Or just moving away. Just moving.

6:55/5:55, 74/90/71, 7:52

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