Limits, Morality, and Rousseau

Hippieby Tim Jones12/14/14
We have a general framework of authority today that is increasingly disintegrating as evidenced by the complete lack of truthfulness from this president and liberalism in general. It is also being demonstrated in the slow motion destruction of the Constitution that began with the original progressive, Woodrow Wilson, one hundred years ago.

Without divine and foundational morality, the atheist who leads an exemplary life is just the flip-side of the same coin as the murderous, adulterous, or child molesting atheist. An atheist must consider the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao — the three most horrific mass murderers of all time (they killed 100 million plus combined) — since they are part of the same belief system, that man is the final arbiter of all things ‘right’ and moral. If atheists are going to accuse Christians of committing heinous crimes throughout history in the name of God then they are equally responsible for all of the most heinous criminal acts in history perpetrated by the Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and all the others who made the state the ultimate judge of morality (while exterminating religious tolerance and practice).

The two biggest failures or unintended consequences of the Enlightenment have been the destruction of an external and universal morality as commanded by God and the tearing down of behavioral boundaries. Communism and Fascism are both products of the “enlightened” age of reason and science.

Rousseau got it wrong when he claimed it was society that corrupted the individual, and that the individual, by freeing himself of society’s restraints, would be truly free. “The self is society individualized.” With that one quote, Rousseau’s philosophy is entirely nullified. He neglects the inherently selfish nature of the individual and original sin — and that boundaries and guidelines are needed in order for a civilized society to function in an orderly way.[pullquote]…”let it all hang out.”  This was just another way of saying there are no more limits to what a person is allowed to do without realizing all of the extreme collateral damage, misery, and destruction it would cause.[/pullquote]

Rousseau was the godfather of the Sixties that was the culmination of the self-liberation movement. His legacy influenced a myriad of other philosophers along the way, including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs, the triumvirate of Beat writers who kicked the door wide open for the hippie generation to “let it all hang out.” This was just another way of saying there are no more limits to what a person is allowed to do without realizing all of the extreme collateral damage, misery, and destruction it would cause. What followed the Sixties was a culture of addictions — from drugs to alcohol to pornography to gambling, to others too numerous to list — that plague the country today. Even corporate America co-opted the self-liberation movement demonstrated by Nike’s slogan “Just Do It.” But is was Dostoyevsky who was the first to see and to predict the inherent problems to come when he said “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”

What Rousseau and the other philosophers of the self-liberation movement overlooked was the duality of man’s nature, and not just between mind and body, but between good and evil. They exist within every individual which is why we have laws, which were all derived from the Ten Commandments, to keep in check the bad and destructive impulses that are natural within all of us. But when the self-liberation movement tore down the barriers that kept those impulses in check, it didn’t lead to freedom but to hedonism, nihilism, and addiction.

The individual’s conscience can’t be the judge of itself; that would be a little like the fox guarding the hen house. The individual needs to be under the watch of an external authority, God, the only way in which society can be kept from continuing to degenerate into one without limits, which in turns leads to the destruction of truth and personal morality, which in turn leads to the one that looks a lot like what we have today. • (1144 views)

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7 Responses to Limits, Morality, and Rousseau

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    You realize, Tim, that in our culture about one head out of every two would explode if they read this. Mine didn’t.

  2. David Ray says:

    Thousands once descended on San Francisco led by emotional impulse and the namesake song sung by Scott McKenzie.
    The results were predictable. Young fools arrived without arranging lodging, food, etc. and deprivation, excrement trails, theft, and a few murders followed.

    We see the same self indulgent scenarios continue: OWS left so much trash that hazmat teams had to spend $1000s to clean up after them. (Not to worry; the media will always assure us that the unwashed Tea Party rallies are the real violent mobs to be feared.)

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    My high-school European history text noted that in Rousseau’s Emile, the title character is educated to be independent — but wants his tutor to accompany him in life. Perhaps, if they had received such treatment (a lifetime tutor for each), the hippies might not have turned out so badly. (But I will say that I like McKenzie’s song, especially the version by Petula Clark on her These Are My Songs album).

    For those who are curious, Robert Rummel’s estimates in Death by Government (which Jones obviously used as a source) for the democides by Stalin, Mao, and Hitler in are just under 43, 38, and 21 million respectively.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      While living in Hong Kong, the number I heard regarding Mao’s slaughter is somewhere around 70 million. A Chinese government official, I know of, who was there when the slaughter was taking place, snorted sarcastically at a suggestion of only 50 million.

      In the intervening years I have run into estimates by others of about 70 million, as well.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        My initial thought was that Jones’s estimates were a bit low, so I won’t quarrel. Rummel’s figures are estimates, and no one can ever know the exact numbers.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Of course, we will never know the actual numbers. And when dealing with such large sums, the mind really doesn’t take in the enormity of such crimes.

          What did Stalin say? “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” In such a manner is mass murder explained.

  4. Rosalys says:

    Great article Mr. Jones, and spot on! This is why I honestly believe that there will be no resurrection of these late, great United States, no going back to founding principles for our country without a wholesale repentance – Nineveh anyone? Or another Great Awakening? Trouble is, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” but along side the truth there is so much more lie being preached by those who take the name of Christ in vain; and there is too much namely-pamby “niceness” and fear of offending by Christians.

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