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Single Idea 19789

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 3. Natural Equality]

Full Idea

It is obviously contrary to the law of nature, however it is defined, for a child to command an old man, for an imbecile to lead a wise man, and for a handful of people to gorge themselves on superfluities while the starving multitude lack necessities.

Gist of Idea

It against nature for children to rule old men, fools to rule the wise, and the rich to hog resources


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

A Reaction

I wonder if gregarious animals ever starve to death during a time of plenty, because of social exclusion? I bet this idea was quoted widely in 1780s Paris. The massive inequality is not just nasty, but 'contrary to the law of nature'.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.81