return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 19787

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / a. Sovereignty]

Full Idea

Citizens allow themselves to be oppressed only insofar as they are driven by blind ambition; ...they consent to wear chains in order to be able to give them in turn to others. It is difficult to reduce to obedience someone who does not wish to command.

Gist of Idea

People accept the right to be commanded, because they themselves wish to command


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

A Reaction

Beautiful. This produces what I call the 'military model of management', where people love tree diagrams showing chains of command, and their place in the hierarchy. Life becomes 'either give orders, or obey'. I like democratic teams.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.77