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Single Idea 19747

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 7. Changing the State / c. Revolution]

Full Idea

If people try to shake off a yoke, they put more distance between themselves and liberty, because in mistaking for liberty an unbridled licence which is its opposite, their revolutions usually deliver them over to seducers who make their chains heavier.

Gist of Idea

Revolutionaries usually confuse liberty with total freedom, and end up with heavier chains


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1754], Intro letter)

A Reaction

This 'Animal Farm' thought was presumably ignored in 1789 and 1917. There must be basic rules for revolutionaries, of which priorities they must never drop from sight, and which priorities are dangerous and misleading.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.27