I may be biased, but I really think most Americans would benefit from an education in political philosophy. Our kids need to learn more than the fact that Rousseau and Hobbes existed, if they even learn that, and be taught what their ideas were about. They are not difficult to grasp. They are, just as the title of the post suggests, so easy even a caveman can do it. We know this, because they did.
Some ten to twenty thousand years ago our ancestors decided that, hey, maybe it should not just be the biggest member of the clan that gets all the food. They formed actual societies with the idea that everyone’s survival was important. It was crude at first, and for most of the following ten to twenty thousand years we still let the biggest member of the group get whatever they wanted, and in many ways still do. The last few centuries we have finally been articulating the idea. The general consensus is society exists for the group, otherwise why have it at all?
Of course some foaming at the mouth plutocrats and their dupes (and don’t start trashing that latter group, their pay masters spend a lot of effort and money keeping them duped) will call that socialism or communism. Scary words, I suppose, if you choose to be scared by them. Really though, I suppose the power elite should be afraid of them, and of people understanding the social contract. When more people know why we even have villages, towns, states, and nations, they realize that maybe a little socialism is a good thing, Then the biggest members of the clan lose their slaves.
This is why they fight so hard against social safety nets. That’s why they fight so hard to keep us fighting each other. They have to unravel the fabric of a civil society because that is the only thing keeping them from applying “the state of nature” to our modern world. The truly sad thing is they are too childish to realize this will benefit them for a generation, at best.
Society exists to protect the weak. The strong need no protection. It exists to provide security for those who do not have the resources to weather the storm on their own. That is the first function of community and one need not have read The Leviathan to understand that. Our first resource is each other, and we should remember that before we continue belly aching about “welfare queens” or listening to politicians rant about “makers vs. takers.”
- Democracy After the Shutdown (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Thoughts on Jean Jacques Rosseau (askbernardo.wordpress.com)
- ROUSSEAU: The Social Contract [Book I-II] (gbwwblog.wordpress.com)
- “I Pay Taxes!” – An Anthropologist’s View on the Social Contract (misanthropologirl.wordpress.com)