Sunday, February 23, 2014

Declarations/Rousseau & Man's End

Reading through the Declaration of Human and Civic Rights, I found myself often drawing back to Rousseau. For example, the first article states that men are free and equal and social distinctions may be based only on the common good – though Rousseau in this case would find this impossible, as inequality is inherent in the social contract of civil society; rather than assuring equality, it instead solidifies inequalities. Article 4, too, reminded me of Rousseau, in that it states that every citizen is obliged – one of Rousseau’s main arguments that entry into civil society assures inequality: the poor are obliged to protect the property of the wealthy.

In solidifying these inequalities among men (with social contract), we seem to doom ourselves – at least so it seems from Rousseau’s work. While we may enter society to escape the state of war, our social contract itself, wrought with agreed-upon inequality, maintains the roots of the state of war. Looking at society in this way, it seems that Rousseau foresees a cycle of war-society-war and so on. Does Rousseau see the human population as doomed? Would he believe that eventually man would destroy himself, through the cycle of destruction and corruption of society and the subsequent rise of the state of war?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.