Feb 16, 2007

"The Activist's Creed" [LINK]

Thus Aaron labels a passage by Rousseau:

True, those who have abandoned the life of a free man do nothing but boast incessantly of the peace and repose they enjoy in their chains. But when I see the other sacrifice pleasures, repose, wealth, power and life itself for the preservation of this sole good, which is so disdained by those who have lost it, when I see multitudes of entirely naked savages scorn European voluptuousness and endure hunger, fire, the sword and death to preserve only their independence, I feel it does not behoove slaves to reason about freedom.
If this truly is the activist's creed, I want none of it. Rousseau arrogantly conflates slavery with adherence to custom, the latter of which probably has more to do with naked savages' rejection of European civilization than any particular reaction to its "voluptuousness." These idealized people are certainly no less "slaves," and their societies no less decadent than their European counterparts, so where does that leave us? At best, to reject any basis for upholding the sort of personal liberties Europeans championed is to be an in-activist who evidences little more than cultural estrangement.

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