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Why anarchy has come to America Public order has been sacrificed on the altar of empathy

What would Team Rousseau say? (ALEX KENT/AFP via Getty Images)


November 24, 2021   6 mins

As Britain is only a distant province of America’s soft-power empire, it’s been relatively easy to turn the volume down on Kyle Rittenhouse discourse. Even so, it’s been unsettling to watch the same events assembled into two irreconcilable stories.

In one, a white supremacist shot anti-racism protesters in cold blood, and was acquitted because of his skin colour. In the other, a teenager tried to defend a community from violence, and ended up shooting two criminal lunatics in self-defence.

But why are these stories so irreconcilable? It’s a good rule of thumb that where people find it impossible to agree, it’s usually because there’s a fundamental difference in their assumptions about the world.

The Rittenhouse argument is just such a case. It’s powered by a profound disagreement about human nature: one that fuels many of the most intractable modern culture wars, from Mumsnet bunfights about babycare to arguments about classroom discipline and what the police force is for.

Are humans naturally good given the right circumstances? Or are we flawed and in need of threats and guidelines to keep us on the straight and narrow? The split is a legacy of radical ideas stretching back to the revolutionary 18th century.

Perhaps the most famous proponent of intrinsic human goodness is Rousseau, who claimed in Emile (1762) that children are born virtuous. As Rousseau sees it, we only need freedom, love and the right environment to spontaneously come to an understanding of what’s right.

When Emile was first published, it stood in stark challenge to the then-dominant view, emerging from the Christian tradition, that humans are tainted by ‘original sin’. From this vantage point, we’re naturally flawed, and must always struggle against our less virtuous instincts. Rousseau’s claim so appalled adherents of this then-dominant view that copies of his book were burned in the street.

Today, though, the boot is on the other foot. The high-status view among contemporary elites is unmistakeably Team Rousseau.

At the tiniest scale, it’s expressed in the school of parenting that believes it’s wrong or even cruel to teach children how to live. I’ve written before about the currently popular ideas of ‘attachment parenting’ and ‘gentle parenting’, which emphasise self-discovery in a loving environment over routine, authority or punishment — and about how these views skew wealthy and liberal.

In education settings, the same idea appears as ‘child-centred pedagogy’, an approach that emphasises individual pathways and discovery over rote learning and teachers as authority figures. And at the biggest scale, it crops up as the claim that all the root causes of crime are external to humans: poverty, trauma, discrimination and so on. From this perspective, if we could only replace policing with tailored community services that eliminated these root causes, there would no longer be any crime.

Even outbreaks of mass public disorder are treated by Team Rousseau as an unfortunate-yet-understandable response to bad governance: when BLM protesters in Baltimore toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus last year, the Democrat politician Nanci Pelosi responded by shrugging it off as a natural expression of that community’s wishes. If the community doesn’t want the statue, she said, “the statue shouldn’t be there”. From this vantage point, public unrest is something akin to the weather: a naturally-occurring phenomenon in which leaders must strive to create the conditions for goodness, or else “people will do what they do”.

If angry 18th century moralists burned Rousseau’s book on education, today the moral majority is more likely to dogpile people who disagree with the belief that we’re all born good. Katherine Birbalsingh, headteacher of ‘Britain’s strictest school’, Michaela Community School in London, recently faced demands that she be fired after she referenced ‘original sin’ in the context of teaching. From the Team Original Sin perspective, as Michaela’s deputy head Jonathan Porter argued last year, providing empathy and interesting lessons won’t guarantee you good classroom behaviour. To Porter, children aren’t so much naturally good as capable of being habituated to the good. But that, he suggests, means making clear statements about what you believe to be good, setting rules on that basis, and enforcing them consistently.

This might be doable within a single school with a strong leader, such as Michaela. What happens, though, when a sizeable proportion of the ruling class think this approach is not just misguided but immoral?

Last summer, rioting broke out first in America and then worldwide —prompting US Senator Tom Cotton to write an op-ed arguing that order was important in and of itself and suggesting the army should be deployed to quell the riots. The ensuing shouting-match between Team Original Sin and Team Rousseau ended the career of the NYT’s comment editor.

Implicitly, then, for Team Rousseau, disorder is understandable when people are oppressed, while order is a nice-to-have, and only attainable if you create the right conditions to draw out people’s natural goodness. In schools, we can only expect pupils to behave if the teacher’s doing it right. And in the public square, we can only expect people not to riot if we abolish systemic oppression.

Applying this model to policing means diverting resources from enforcing order to addressing social issues. San Francisco, for example, voted last year to redirect $120m of funding from policing to community projects, with the aim of eliminating the causes of crime rather than simply punishing criminals.

But there’s always the nagging worry: what do you do with people who persistently refuse to have their natural goodness drawn out? And here, perhaps, we find a clue as to why Team Rousseau tends to skew wealthy: it’s easier to believe people are naturally good if you’ve led a sheltered life.

As a child, Rousseau himself wasn’t allowed to play with other children. And it’s conceivable that more daily rough-and-tumble with his peers might have tempered the rosy view of natural childish virtue presented in Emile. When people who have led sheltered lives apply Team Rousseau beliefs in less rarefied settings, the result isn’t always as salutary as hoped. Even innocent experiments and self-discovery can impact negatively on others — especially where the experiment (innocent or otherwise) is in how far you can push one of your classmates.

For Team Original Sin, Birbalsingh advocates dealing with such schoolyard conflicts by imposing norms of public order: that is, ‘tight behaviour systems’ and ‘high expectations’. For Team Rousseau, though, it’s less clear what to do.

Research suggests that empathy-based ‘restorative justice’ approaches to school discipline yield mixed results at best. And when applied to law and order, Team Rousseau likewise runs aground on the problem of those who refuse to be rehabilitated. In San Francisco, as the focus of law and order has shifted to rehabilitation, incidences of burglary are rocketing — a fact that seems down to a minority of repeat offenders.

What can be done about this, especially where police no longer get involved? One plausible consequence is rising vigilantism. We can’t know definitively what motivated one teenager with an assault rifle to travel to a riot zone; perhaps he really was just attracted to the mayhem, and looking for a reason to join in. Or perhaps he thought he was making a last, heroic stand for order and in defence of those unable to defend themselves.

For when public norms of order collapse, or are undermined in the name of empathy, the only law that remains is that of brute strength. In San Francisco, even previously committed opponents of gun ownership are now responding to the disintegration of public order with talk of buying weapons.

Most of the Rittenhouse culture war boils down to an argument over whether Rittenhouse was the bully, or the one who stands up to bullies. But what this argument ignores is the fate of those who are neither bully nor challenger. The weak, the old, the frightened or otherwise defenceless.

Perhaps the empathetic elites of Team Rousseau are simply secure enough in their leafy suburbs or gated compounds to ignore any unfortunate side-effects of treating order as secondary to freedom. But this raises the troubling possibility that sacrificing public order for empathy and individual freedom is, in practice, less high-minded than a dereliction of care to those that can’t defend themselves.

Worse still, the lesson from Michaela is that at root this isn’t really about scruples at all. It’s about a crippling lack of moral self-confidence. For you can’t set clear rules and form habits unless you have a clear idea of the good — and it’s this vision of the good that is the true missing piece.

Team Rousseau insists that human goodness is natural rather than ordered and enforced, and this in turn affords its believers the right to withhold judgement, and avoid making clear statements about the good. In practice, then, this amounts to an elite right — a duty, in fact — to shirk the central responsibility of elites since time immemorial: moral leadership.

And in the absence of clear moral leadership, the alarming prospect is that instead we’ll witness a proliferation of Rittenhouses: self-appointed individual guardians of a public order abandoned by the elites whose responsibility it is to uphold.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago

I don’t necessarily buy the argument that the elites are Team Rousseau.
That would imply, at the very least, that there is some consistency in their world view, which I don’t personally see.
Their disposition to me is far more arbitrary. Roussean logic is applied to their own side. They believe that THEY are fundamentally good and that THEIR favoured in-groups are morally pure.

The same logic is not applied to their enemies.

No one, to my knowledge, on the left, assumed that Derek Chauvin, or Harvey Weinstein or, for that matter, Kyle Rittenhouse, were good men trying to do the right thing.

No one assumed that their hands were forced by the corrupting machinations of a malevolent system.

Instead many on the left assumed, in direct contrast to Roussean logic, that these men were beyond the pale to an extent that a trial concluding their innocence would only be proof of a corrupt trial.

The notion of “Team Rousseau”, then, strikes me as a cynical exploitation of the goodwill of ordinary folk: we’re required to excuse the crimes of the Left’s in-groups with the Roussean notion that people are good but for the corruption of “the system”.
But we are also paradoxically required to attribute to their out-groups full agency and responsibility for crimes they have not even stood trial for.
It is this kind of wave-particle logic that leads too many on the left to insist that Shamima Begum (the ISIL bride) be excused on the grounds that “Britain radicalised” her, while at the same time, calling for a cricketer who sent an allegedly racist tweet ten years previously to be sacked without due process and without any consideration of the societal forces that may have caused such a tweet.
In short, too many on the left are not Team Roussea, but Team Whatever-suits-them-in-the-moment.

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

I share your view that the elites are not Team Rousseau in the sense that they are much more Team BML supporters and against Team White Supremacist.
In films like High Noon, Seven Samurai thorough to Die Hard and Taken etc the Hero is the man or men who stand out against the bad men who threaten the community or an individual despite the supine behaviour of their community.
Rittenhouse naively sought to fulfil the heroic role without realising that in real life today the community is not indifferent but actively hostile to the Heroic figure. Garry Cooper would be condemned for his provocative stand and in real life the Hero would be mired in litigation for years for their behaviour.
I have sometimes though it would be interesting to make a post-modernist/ realist version of Taken where the Hero spends most of the film mired in criminal and civil suits for his unlawful actions. Unfortunately it wouldn’t make for good box-office.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeremy Bray
hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I think that might do surprisingly well!

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Consider the film A Few Good Men where the Commanding Officer believes he is the hero but is exposed in court as issuing illegal orders.
It’s a good film but on reflection it’s the conflict between Team Rousseau and Team Original Sin that makes it so watchable.
I’d argue that Team Rousseau is made possible by their lack of self discipline rather than just laziness. It takes self discipline to avoid one’s own ‘Original Sin’.

Col. Jessup: Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Not just lack of self discipline, also lack of self awareness, and a healthy dose of moral narcissism.

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I fear the natural endgame of Col. Jessop and likewise the US regime which is happy with that ‘morality’ is what we’ve seen over and over again in recent history: the deaths of millions of innocents or legitimate freedom fighters in order to uphold the ‘American Way’: a money grabbing, amoral, post Christian society where one American life is worth 10,000 non American lives: and a non American life is equivalent to maybe one US$ ar most!
The maxim: “though heaven and earth may fall we must do what is morally right” is the best maxim albeit the antithesis of the American Way..

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You may be right, but sitting where I am in Southern Africa, what I fear most is that you are losing power and that the alternatives are far worse. America, to my view, is the most fair super power we could hope for. I don’t think I need to go into how the Chinese are behaving here, and don’t get me started on the Russians.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago

Living in Canada, Im much happier having a long border with the US than if it were with Russia or China.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

The Original SIn metaphor is a strange one. It has taken on a more mythic meaning than perhaps is warranted. In my interpretation, the lesson is that even very small mistakes such as an isolated disobedience can have major consequences that are unforgivable. But here we discuss some of the most damning big events imaginable. Why ? Because it is the failure to exercise our feelings or shame that have caused that emotion to atrophy. Children need to experience shame in a disciplined environment so that they can also truly feel what atonement is. And, more importantly, it should teach us that there are moral ranges of behaviour and we can be renewed with our community even after we make mistakes. The ability to atone should not debilitate us as individuals. It should strengthen us members of society. Our planet population has almost quadrupled in the century that has seen a withering of faith because faith and its interpreters have let us down. Academics have let us down. There is a failure of understanding, which is why we cannot judge or evaluate sin at all as a western society.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Your maxim could have been used in his defence by Pol Pot .

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Osband
Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Perfect? Hardly. But without a strong America, Liam, you would be living under genuine jackboot tyranny and you wouldn’t be able to post your everything-must-be-perfect-or-it’s-unacceptable criticisms.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Sort of done, albeit in a different context, in Bonfire of the Vanities.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Sure, although Rittenhouse’s naïvety extended further than that, at least I hope it did. I hope (and think) he didn’t expect to end up shooting people; I hope (and think) he had no real idea what that even meant, that he saw himself acting out his heroics in some kind of adolescent fantasy consequence-free world (the world that he should in fact have been allowed to inhabit for a little longer, at 17, if his parents had been doing their job), that he was horrified to find himself really killing someone, that his tears on the witness stand were genuine.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Yes, I think Rittenhouse believed that the sight of him parading armed with a rifle would have been enough to deter any looters. In a rational world it should have been.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Rittenhouse seemed to actually believe the gun would deter until a man with a death wish decided to attack him – after asserting he planned to kill Rittenhouse should he be caught alone.

John K
John K
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Jonathan
Depends on your definition of naĂŻve, I guess. Rittenhouse was brought up in a society that fetishes guns, is blasĂ© about the death toll of over 40,000 people a year killed by them, doesn’t read or understand (or even want to understand) what the Second Amendment actually says, and where approaching half the white population doesn’t really believe in democracy, just power for their group; and seems to think the other half and all the others ethnicities are their enemies.
I see no way out of this.

Last edited 2 years ago by John K
Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
2 years ago
Reply to  John K

Exquisite, John. I can hardly believe it’s been edited. Thanks. Granny always said, it’s better to be insulted by a fool than endorsed by him.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  John K

Let me guess, the good half that believes in democracy is the one that refused to accept the 2106 elections, made up laughably false stories to pretend it was stolen, passed through changes in postal voting that weakened the electoral process, used their domination of media do suppress negative stories about their candidate and wrapped it all up by suppressing obvious doubts about what happened in 2020.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
2 years ago
Reply to  John K

John, you start with the word ‘fetishizes; which betrays a juvenile understanding of what freedom in our world has actually cost the American soldier. But you also refer to 40K firearm deaths, which while accurate, glosses over the fact that 25K of these tragic deaths are by suicide. So you really should learn more about a society before you write about it! (Maybe we should ban cars, given the number of road deaths… or pain pills, or sharp objects…)

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

John is brave to post a view against the popular opinion on UnHerd and deserves to be heard so I will defend him. The total number of Americans killed in wars in the last 250 years is circa 650,000 compared with circa 1.36 million British despite its smaller population. The 40,000 firearm deaths pa exceeds this many times over and should be compared with the benefit of holding fire arms – I would be curious to hear how many lives they save each year. You can only deduct suicides if they would have happened anyway, is there research on this? Road deaths in the US are four times greater per head than in the UK, which puzzles me because speed limits are much lower. There is a significant benefit in owning a car.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jon Hawksley
Charlie Walker
Charlie Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

Sorry to butt in here Jon but that number of Americans killed in wars in the last 250 years is wrong. I have no idea what the total is, but from memory, just in WW2 they lost some 700,000 compared to British casualties of some 300,000 odd.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Walker

Wikipedia – Combat deaths for US and military deaths for UK.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jon Hawksley
Charlie Walker
Charlie Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

I stand corrected!

Charlie Walker
Charlie Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

Sorry to but t in here Jon but that number of Americans killed in wars in the last 250 years is wrong. I have no idea what the total is, but from memory, just in WW2 they lost some 700,000 compared to British casualties of some 300,000 odd.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Charlie Walker

You are mistaken, according to the US National WW2 Museum, military deaths (including Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coastguard) amounted to 407,316. According to Parliament UK British military deaths 384,000.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

In the Civil War alone the death toll was 750,000.
Then there’s Vietnam, 55,000. WW1 was IIRC about 80,000 US troops killed. Add in WW2 and we’re over 1.3 million, and that’s before we factor in the War of Independence, the War of 1812, the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-american War, Spanish-American War, etc.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

That’s very interesting but I was responding to Charlie Walker’s incorrect estimates for World War 2 in particular, not for any other conflicts.

Charlie Walker
Charlie Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I stand corrected!

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

How many people were killed in the last 100 years by their own governments?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

If the mayor and the police had done their jobs and stopped the violent rioters, Kyle wouldn’t have been there, period.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

How do you know that?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

Even more stupid answer.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Why are you so unpleasant to other people commenting?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

And if the Allies had been less punitive to defeated Germany in 1918, Hitler probably would never have succeeded so I guess the British are responsible for all those Nazi concentration camps?? Indeed, wasn’t it Churchill who first developed concentration camps?
There’s distortion and then there’s serious distortion all emanating from a poor understanding of the doctrine of proximate cause! Ho hum..

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago

But the mayor & police thought they would have even more trouble if they quelled the protest. The protesters were infiltrated by anarchists intent on causing mayhem.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Allowing an armed mob to loot and burn. What could go wrong?

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

He didn’t expect to be shooting people? He asked a friend to get the AR15 and his mother drove him across state lines. His tears were pathetic, he was told to lay it on with a shovel. He was photographed with the ‘proud boys’ after the shooting wearing a T- Shirt with ‘Free as f**k’ on the front. He has been to Mar a Lago with his mum to meet the God-Emperor Trump.
Are you sure you wouldn’t like to rethink your comment?

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

Perhaps, just perhaps, he was seeking support – apparently GoFundMe were badgered into refusing donations for his defence.

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Seeking support? Give me a break. He was posing with white supremacists.

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Far right groups raised 2 million dollars for his defence. He had practice runs for the trial – hence the fake tears.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

Across state lines eh? It’s where his family work on a daily basis, it’s a neighbouring community. He was chased by a crazy child rapist saying he was going to kill him after he tried to put out a fire in a skip, putting his first aid kit down to do so. The other chaser pointed an illegally concealed gun at him before he shot him.
But keep those blinkers on, wouldn’t want to see some actual facts, eh?

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

Keep the comments coming. You do more to move fence-sitters to the right than all the conservatives put together.

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Schuldes

I don’t need to do that on here. There are hardly any fence sitters, it’s an alt right paradise.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

What is alt right? What is paradise ?The alternative to Right is Left or Wrong ?

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

Keep up the good work! You do a good job at presenting the best possible arguments from such an ideology.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

Did he shoot anyone who was not a rioter, did not have a criminal record and did bit try to attack him first.

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

He had no business turning up with an AR15. What is it you don’t understand about that?

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

Laura,
that’s the thing about crazy America – he had every business turning up with an unconcealed weapon in order to defend life and property – it’s called ‘Stand Your Ground’ in Wisconsin State law.
Crazy, I know – Americans, eh, tch!
All the best
Red

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  Red Reynard

He didn’t, he was underage.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

What business did the protestors have turning up armed then?
What business did the protestors have setting fire to private property?
What business did the protestors have chasing, firing at and assaulting a bystander?
Why do you neglect to criticise this mob?

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

His tears were pathetic

You’re all heart, Laura.

Laura Cattell
Laura Cattell
2 years ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

I know.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Cattell

Laura,
I don’t know what your background experience is; it is fairly plain that the case makes you angry – so I’ll try to tread lightly.
I cannot find the alleged picture of Rittenhouse (I’d be interested, in the search for evidential truth), only references made by the prosecution alleging such a picture exists
Prosecutors say Rittenhouse posed with two men for a photo as they all made the “OK” symbol with their hands — a gesture used by white supremacists. Men at the bar also played the song “Proud of Your Boy” for Rittenhouse, which is used as Proud Boys anthem.
Accepting that the picture, as described, does exists, for arguments sake – it would seem (to me at least) that a hand-signal used by; divers, sky-divers, sports-men/women, fire-fighters, Italian chefs, and just about half of the planet, isn’t really great evidence of evil intent.
As for the singing – if the event did take place – of Disney songs – well then we’re all doomed.
I don’t know about your other claims – but links to pictures or ‘first-hand’ reports would certainly help those of us who try not to jump to conclusions or just follow the herd – that’s why we’re here

All the best
Red

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Course that would be good people now I guess.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Actually that’s a very good programme idea and someone ought to do it. If well written, it need not be boring at all. A very different kind of movie though.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

The first thing is language. Can we try and use WLM and not  White Supremacist.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Well said, I completely agree.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago

Yes this.
I like Mary’s pieces a lot but it misses this point. People are selectively Team Rousseau or Team sin, whichever way it suits the agenda they are pushing.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

Excellent comment, and one that also explains the left’s remarkable silence when south African police (who are black) shoot rioting miners (who are black). Ordinarily, if it’s police versus striking miners, the left would have no trouble deciding which side to support. Its prejudices instruct it unerringly. But if the police in question are the black police of a model leftist kleptocracy, well, the picture becomes so complicated it’s best just swept under the carpet and denied.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago

I think they’re a little more consistent than that (which doesn’t make Rousseauism any less pernicious). If humans are innately good, and only corrupted by the evil system, it is speciously valid to distinguish between those who are agents of the system (e.g. white men, French aristocrats of the ancien regime) and those who are its victims (everyone, yes, but especially those childlike minorities, actual children, the Noble Savage
). If dismantling the system will inevitably usher in a golden age of innate goodness, almost any price is worth paying at the individual level. You start with guillotining the aristocrats, soon enough you’re massacring tens of thousands of peasants in the VendĂ©e. The sunk cost fallacy kicks in. You have now waded through so much blood, returning were as tedious as go o’er. And who knows, maybe the next bloodbath will be the last, and that old innate goodness will finally get a chance to flourish.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

“…it is speciously valid to distinguish between those who are agents of the system (e.g. white men, French aristocrats of the ancien regime) and those who are its victims”

This is only a self consistent point of view if one assumes that all people are products of their genes and environment, but that some are more so, than others.

In other words, for the idea of oppressors versus victims of the system to be workable, one must necessarily have a racial view of genetics, whereby “agents” are fundamentally genetically bad compared to victims.

Roussea’s ideas are not compatible with this because he believed ALL people to be victims of “the system” equally, and not just those the left would want.

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
2 years ago

That’s an excellent point concerning Rousseau’s differences with the current “Left”. The problem I’ve always had with Rousseau, and environmentalists in general, is this: if all are naturally good, then how did societies made up exclusively of these inherently virtuous sorts become corrupted in the first place? There just doesn’t seem to be any external force to do that, or at least none that I can perceive.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Krehbiel

Yes this is it in a nutshell – if we are all equally good, there is no way of explaining why some people would become oppressors to begin with. And, even if they were, it would be unjust to punish them since they themselves would only be acting out “bad behaviours” by virtue of the system, which forced their hand.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
2 years ago

Hayden,
you’re making my bottom lip tremble for poor old Pol, Joseph, and Adolf – the poor dears; what a horrible horrible system it must be to turn the boys heads so. Forshame on us all *wipes a tear*
Red

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Sounds like the vaccine fallacy.

R Perspectives
R Perspectives
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil
Thomas Sowell writes about this in detail - about the cosmic justice vision of the anointed and the constrained vision - in 'The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as a basis for social policy" 1995
Interview first aired in 1995 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waEc4YbQQX0 

Eric Sheldon
Eric Sheldon
2 years ago

I think what Mary Harrington is describing, rather than Team Rousseau, is the phenomenon of ‘luxury beliefs’ – ideas that the comfortable middle classes can hold, even fervently, but don’t cost them anything, but are disastrous to any less well-to-do people who might act on them.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago
Reply to  Eric Sheldon

Good points.“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”Also 90% of Police time is spent with 10%b of then population. Nasty things can happen to nice people.
Riots occur where Police have lost control and they attract violent criminals. Who will defend the people if there are no rough men?
Those middle classes who have worked in construction, oil, mining, trawling and in combat units have come across nasty people. The young engineer drinking with men from the mine/drilling rig/construction site in a rough pub in the rough part of town will soon witness a fight or two. Since the end of conscription and most heavy industry, affluent middle class people can spend their lives and never come across nasty people so they can hold “luxury beliefs” and they will be fine; unless they are mugged or burgled.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
2 years ago

How dare you? Expecting consistency from those most in touch with their natural human goodness, those least corrupted by the oppression of societal norms, is just another way of stunting the noble savage to make him fit into your construct of ‘civilisation.’
Just ask Rousseau! After all, the only fact anyone needs to know about him is that he abandoned his own child(ren – it’s unclear exactly how many) to an orphanage, where he/they probably died, for the simple reason that the mistress who bore him/them was a pleb: “I trembled at the thought of intrusting them to a family ill brought up, to be still worse educated. The risk of the education of the foundling hospital was much less.”

David Yetter
David Yetter
2 years ago

But even Rousseau himself did not believe all people are good. He vilified those he regarded as corrupting human nature (the Church, the nobility,…), and saw many people as already corrupted. The reason our current elites are part of “Team Rousseau” is that their policy prescriptions are made without taking into account the fixity of human nature, on the assumption that fixing “the system” will fix humanity. Having discarded “the Fall of Man” as mythological, they have discarded with it the moral insight it embodies.
On my side of the Pond, fealty to the Darwinian account of human origins is used as a political shibboleth by “Team Rousseau”, even though the irreducible biological human nature that account provides is as much an impediment to the Rousseauian project as the fallen human nature described in Genesis. In the political realm, the interesting difference is not between Darwin and Genesis but, between either of them and Rousseau.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

Excellent analysis. I like Mary Harrington’s articles, and I think the split she identifies is real, but, yes, the woke Left is mostly self deceiving as to its ‘good’ motives and actions at best. At worst, their ideology, motivation and practice differ very little from Fascism, just with different archetypal enemies. (Actually in the case of both anti-Semitism and misogyny, not even that distinction).

Antifa could much more accurately adopt a shorter name ‘Fa’…..

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
mike otter
mike otter
2 years ago

Team Petty Criminal would be a better label. Do these characters, ymakh shemo, have freedom to carry out their threats and violence under the rule of law? In Russia, China, Jordan, Israel? No. How about Croatia, Spain, Hungary? Sometimes. UK, USA, ANZAC? pretty much all the time.

David Barnett
David Barnett
2 years ago

Maybe that very moral inconsistency is what puts the elites on Team Rousseau. Rousseau was very far from being logically consistent. For example, he derived a living writing for the theatre, but condemned acting as a form of “lying”.

phil zukow
phil zukow
2 years ago

absolutely brilliantly stated…

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
2 years ago

Hayden – I really enjoy reading your posts which mirror my own views substantially. Thanks for your contributions! Best wishes – Julian

aaron david
aaron david
2 years ago

I have said it in a variety of places, but it bears repeating.
The more and more I think about it, while it might not have needed to be Rittenhouse, it was going to be someone.
The entire gov’t had abdicated it responsibly. Completely and utterly. The whole job of the gov’t is to handle things like this. But, instead, no one was there. Indeed, across the country, all during the last two summers, no one was there to stop the rioting, in which over 40 buildings were burned in Kenosha alone.
People care about their communities, livelihoods, friends, and families, and when they see a complete failure of those elected to handle things such as this, indeed if they perceive those same officials causing this, the citizens can and do band together to take action.
This is specifically what the second amendment is about. It isn’t about being able to go hunting, or rise up against the government, but it is about being able to band together to protect your community. And it isn’t the first time we have seen this in recent memory. In the late seventies, the gay community of San Francisco banded together to escort LGBT folk as the number of “bashings” in that city was quite high. In New York, the Guardian Angles did essentially the same thing. We all remember Rooftop Koreans, who stepped in when, again, the government failed. BLM had a chance to do this but squandered it. And so on. This is the true meaning of Militia in that amendment, and Mr. Rittenhouse shows the need for the second part; to keep and bear arms.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  aaron david

We are mostly in agreement but I wouldn’t say that “[t]he entire gov’t had abdicated it responsibly.” It would be more accurate, I think, to say that the government has actively encouraged lawlessness and disrespect for authority and, thus, participated in its own delegitimisation.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

The author, as always, contributes a very clever article but my sense is she might be overthinking this issue. As has been described so often, the Democrats (and they are the party of the elites) have adopted a race-based ideology and platform. Everything is viewed through the lens of oppression and race and African Americans, in particular, have been sacralized–you literally can’t criticize anything they do, in the Democratic world view.
So when Pelosi is confronted with the toppling of a statue of Columbus (or any other alleged white patriarch) by a group that includes non-whites, she can’t criticize that act whatever she may privately think. All she can do is come up with some race-based, oppression-based justification for the act.
While left-wing academics might think in terms of whether human beings are inherently good and what that means for social and educational policy, I doubt real-world Democratic politicians are thinking in those abstract terms. They’ve found a tool that works–race-based, divisive hyperbole–and they’ll exploit it to the hilt even if they must contort logic and facts to do so.
I’m not someone with a life-long interest in sociology or political theory, but I take an interest now (and read many Unherd articles, among others) to help me decide whether the West is going through a phase from which it will recover or whether we’re witnessing its death throes. When I see people like Katharine Birbalsingh have to invent a new vocabulary of pedagogy, and what amounts to a pseudo philosophy, to justify teaching children behavioral standards and the fundamental concept of personal responsibility (and be vilified for teaching these ideas), I’m very much inclined to view the West as in its end stage. Golf, therefore, no longer seems like such a waste of whatever time I have left.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Orwell wrote presciently in 1984 that societal structures collapse when elites no longer believe in themselves.

Today’s Western elites believe that those who built our civilisation were inherently evil and flawed, and that their inheritors must be punished for their genetic original sin.

They hate themselves even as they mete out the punishment using “racism” and the chosen and championed oppressed group – “people of colour’ – as the stick with which to beat the dog.

Meanwhile, they ally themselves with opportunists of the “oppressed” group for short-term political gain, but ultimately they will guillotine themselves as the Jacobins did in revolutionary France.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago

I hope the author has now had a chance to read the evidence actually given in the Rittenhouse trial, and to correct misapprehensions around that. There was no “assault rifle”, just a currently popular long gun, used by many hunters. And he did not “travel to” the disorder, he was in Kenosha for his daily job. So much of the journalism around this seems to have been a bad case of Celestial Kingdom whispers. The author’s “clear idea of the good” being lacking is a good point, though. I feel quite sure that if Rousseau had had to be a parent volunteer in a Kindergarten for only one week, his ideas of original innocence might have undergone substantial revision.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

Look at a picture of KRs “rifle” and a picture of the original AR15 and tell me if you spot the difference under poor lighting at a “hundred paces”. The barrel has been lengthened by the minimum amount for it to be classified as a hunting weapon. It is still a semi-automatic (cf the British Forces FN SLR). That means you can fire it as fast as you can pull the trigger. In the case of the FN SLR thats up to the cyclic rate of 540 rounds per minute. I wa also shown by a Royal Marine WO how to make it fully automatic using a matchstick. I’m sure there are many people on the other side of the pond who know a similar dodge with any of the varieties of the AR15 (JJ?) You are correct in saying that KR worked in Kenosha but a lot of people have missed the facts that his father and other relatives live and work there. He was also asked to join a “defence group” to guard an Industrial Area after the police withdrew to concentrate elsewhere. Pictures show him working with other members of the group. How he became separated from his buddies I know not but I cannot see him as a starry-eyed kid out to recklessly shoot at Targets-of-Opportunity.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Anti gun people in the United States actually believe the 5.56 cartridge is more powerful than most hunting cartridges.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

All you need to know about Rittenhouse’s AR-15 is that the clip had 30 rounds in it. He shot 6.

Anti-gun people in the US are reality challenged.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There are so many variables, such as barrel length that I wouldn’t argue for or against that without consulting several different tables. I’ve never considered the use of 5.56 against any animal except homo sapiens sapiens.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

My reply is “Awaiting for approval” – I’ve typed the Latin for the yewmun rhayse and the moderators have put two stars between the aitch and the o of the 4 letter word that goes before sapiens sapiens. ROFL!

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Rittenhouse was on his way to an arson fire with a fire extinguisher when the mob attacked him.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago

Missed that. I assume that the Firefighters would have withdrawn their cover when the Police “re-deployed.” Even in the UK Firefighters get stones thrown at them occaisionally and so even do Paramedics. Still, if you can’t provide some sort of cover or back-up you might have to let the fire burn itself out. Sometimes you just can’t win.

Last edited 2 years ago by Doug Pingel
Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
2 years ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

Rousseau, of course, would have refused the Kindergarten gig – he abandoned his own children, conveniently believing that parenthood came with no duties and that the raising and upkeep, as well as the teaching, of his own children was the responsibility of the State.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

Hear, hear.

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

Rousseau actually put his own children in an orphanage or some similar institution and had nothing more to do with them. If he’d joined them he might have learned something

Ian Cooper
Ian Cooper
2 years ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

Remember Rousseau, who wrote Emile a classic text for education, put 5 of his children into a Foundling Hospital – so not likely to be a parent volunteer.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

As always a great bit of writing from Mary, and I like the way you bring so many threads to form your Gordian knot, even if many of them do not really fit in, they give reason to think.

But…Identity Politics is core to all now, and it is essentially Manichean rather than just Rousseauian intrinsic human goodness and the ‘Noble Savage’. Neo Marxism, Post Modernism, and Identity Politics is from where this springs, is all Oppressor/Oppressed. Bad/Good.

Neo-Marxist Intersectionality is all about the Rousseau good of the Oppressed, and the Original Sin of the Oppressor. Biblical like – Intersectionality also makes these conditions immutable, based on ones sexual, racial, educational, religious, cultural, gender, national…etc Identities.

Where classic Marxism has oppressor/oppressed based on money/power, Proletariat/Capitalist, the states could be changed if one becomes wealthy, or becomes broke – the conditions can be in flux. Neo-Marxism has immutable Oppressor – Oppressed based on ones Identity given from inside, and can never be changed.

Or to put it crudely, White and Male = White Patriarchy, Oppressor, and this carries Biblical original sin. All other identities are Rousseau Intrinsic Goodness, = oppressed. It has overtones of Manichean Religion, essentially good and evil inherent, and only one Dispensation possible, ‘Equity’, the Oppressor having his entitlements taken, and it given to the Oppressed.

From this defending your money, property, position, from others taking them is wrong, as it means the Oppressor, maintaining his Oppression over the Oppressed. ‘All Property Is Theft’ if it is owned by the Oppressor, it is ‘Equity when owned by the Oppressed.

This means Ritenhouser was Wrong no matter what he did, as he is White Patriarchy, so an oppressor trying to prevent ‘Equity’ from happening. Modern Secular Liberal Theology.

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Interesting too that the last time Manicheanism was on the up and up was at the fag end of the Roman Empire. It was then largely defeated by Christianity’s teaching of love and forgiveness of one’s enemies and not judging others. Time for another reset methinks

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago

I wish I could be bothered to care about Mary’s pseudo-philosophy, but it ignores what is actually at the heart of the matter. The provable facts of the case do not match the media narrative in the slightest. No, what the fight is really about is if normal people are allowed to have the right of self defense against a mob, why violent, destructive actors keep getting a free pass to do whatever they want without consequences, and why America’s leaders and media either hardly care or actively support it. Everything else is just window dressing.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Perhaps but I share Mary’s concern about understanding human nature and how this understanding connects to the ways we provide education and guidance to the next generation. To me this is a matter of practical importance rather than just abstract pseudo-philosophy.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Maybe it just comes down to my own personal philosophy. I do not give a crap why they are doing these things, only that they are doing them and they believe they are “morally” and “intellectually” superior enough, that the rules do not apply to them.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

We basically agree. Some ideas are dangerous, yes.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I strongly agree with you but we seem to be in the minority. The way Mary frames the debate is utter tosh, and a reference to OJ would have been helpful. With OJ, black Americans overwhelming believed he was innocent–thus showing that they (the believers), lived in a reality free zone. As you correctly point out, the “provable facts of the case do not match the media narrative in the slightest.”
These could have been the first shots in the coming civil war. Cue the downvotes, the attacks, but do UnHerd readers know that a Democratic Party operative described the SUV attack that killed at least 5 and wounded 40+ as karma? The attack, likely in response to the KR verdict, describes as karma by Democrats!
Lock and load!

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Did they really believe, in some sort of shared delusion, that OJ was innocent? Or was it a matter of knowing he was guilty but aligning with a murderer based on tribal loyalties?

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

I think it was a combination of both–a bit like religion. Tribal loyalties are VERY strong in the US, and even people who “should know better” couldn’t help themselves, and black Americans, the most religious group in America, are primed for this. Many, of course, are just dumb and can’t be persuaded by reason, facts, evidence, so why bother? I’ll post my own thought later, but I see this more of a battle of good vs. evil, and evil must be called out, attacked, defeated. Seems a bit extreme for some of the UnHerd crowd.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

To support impunity for a murderer/domestic abuser just because of his race strikes me as evil, indeed. I don’t think this is an exaggeration at all. It is a big worry that a society lacks the moral confidence to call this out.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Of course. Do you think it is healthy for society to say “karma,” meaning you deserve this for the acquittal of KR. This being the murder of 5 or 6 people from the community and the grievous injuring of 40+, many will have their lives changed forever by this racist murderer.
Still formulating my thoughts but it’s simpler than Mary makes out. It really is good vs. evil. “We” are the good–and that includes me–cue the downvotes, want to live normal lives in a country we recognize, obey just laws, pay reasonable taxes for reasonable things, ie. roads and bridges, not stupid wars. The evil are people who abandon their moral responsibilities, violate their oaths, and want to take basic rights away from the good–sometimes even the right to leave your house without permission of the nanny state.
A bit like Woody Allen said: there are two types of people in the world: the horrible and the miserable. The horrible are burn victims, people with huge disabilities, paralyzed, etc. and the miserable are everyone else.
I’m not sure what the percentages of “good” vs “evil” are, but it is absolutely clear that the evil have much of the power, control MSM, and have the loudest voices which is a force multiplier for their small (smallish?) numbers. But evil must be defeated.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Interestingly, I had around for dinner just the other night 2 young ladies who are in Zimbabwe working for the CDC.
Knowing that they were Ivy League graduates and working in Africa could have allowed me to predict in advance all of their views. Indeed, they were even more cliche’d as individuals than I could possibly have imagined.
As someone who falls out with everyone over politics (essentially all sides want to shoot me) I asked them, as fierce democrats, whether they believed people could vote for Trump and still be good humans.
“In other words”, I went on, “Do you think it’s possible for someone to see the same information as you, and draw different conclusions, while still being a good human being?”
The one lady I posed the question to went silent for a few moments. “My mind says, yes it’s possible, but my heart says no.”
And there you have it. Both sides see the other as evil, and both see themselves as fighting on the side of good.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

Knowing that they were Ivy League graduates and working in Africa could have allowed me to predict in advance all of their views. Indeed, they were even more cliche’d as individuals than I could possibly have imagined.
Wow! What an insightful comment! I’m not surprised at all, but thank you for confirming this. So-called “profiling” gets a bad name–you might have been accused of racism/sexism/some other ism just by doing this, but any poker player knows this is extraordinarily useful. It works. Not always, but enough.
Regarding your final comment, which I don’t quite understand, I definitely see these women as evil, and I will be a fierce combatant against them. You jokingly talk about both sides wanting to shoot you, but I absolutely believe that a real, shooting civil war is coming soon to the US, and people must pick a side. I know which side I’m on. As Al Murray says “I was never confused.” Cue the downvotes.
All I want to do is be left alone, maintain my rights as a human being–such as being able to leave the house w/o government permission, and countless other intrusions of the nanny state.
Some things are worth fighting for.
Lock and load.
PS–may I pose a question to you? A very reasonable commentator here suggested that instead of signing off lock and load I should sign off “talk and listen.” Do you think that could possibly work with the two women you describe?

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Possibly not, but I don’t think shooting them helps either

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

If there is a civil war, there will inevitably be casualties. These women probably wanted others to fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Civil wars are bad, but they are not pointless. I advocate for a peaceful dissolution of the US, but I see that as less likely.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I’m not so sure: How about the South having a GOP president and the North + West having a Democrat? You might have to redraw state lines but hey: that might be fun? Okay: I’m kidding! …or am I?

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

James, I don’t think the two ladies did much listening. What I find intriguing about them, as Westerners in general, and wealthy American left-leaning intellectuals in particular, is that, when they are in Zimbabwe, they in one breath say that “all cultures are equal” and then, in the next moment, insist that the whole world is completely mad or evil if they don’t conceive of the World in the way that the Ivy League-educated millionaire thinks is correct.
Though they are superficially against imperialism and inevitably are BLM flag waivers, and “anti capitalist” etc, they remind me almost exclusively of my own forebears, who, for their own era, were likewise on a mission to convert Africans to think like them (In fact, colonists of the 19th century, few people realise, WERE the SJWs of their era, even though they are now vilified by people who share many traits with them, self righteousness being the most obvious one).
Though they imagine themselves to be progressive, their whole world view is, in fact, rather stuck in the past in ways they lack the self awareness to see.
So, no, they did rather little listening, and rather a lot of talking. I asked them questions like, “What sort of things did coming to Zimbabwe change about how you see the world?”
Answer: “Ummm…nothing, really.”
For people to come half way around the world and feel, after 2 years, that they have observed nothing that challenges them, tells me that they’ve not left their compound, except to see elephants and drink GNTs.
I’m not sure you’ll want to hear this – but statements like “lock and load” convey to others the idea that people who disagree with you are evil, and this in turn suggests you are convinced of your own righteousness and, in that regard, don’t seem that different to the women I butted heads with at what started out as a polite dinner conversation.
But I suspect you are more bark than bite and, putting the justifiable anger aside over such people’s attitudes, you may well be able to conclude that someone like myself who would likely disagree with you on a few points, could do so without being only wicked or stupid.

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

Thank you for the thoughtful response.
I welcome your disagreement–but do we really disagree? As a Yank, perhaps I’m a bit stuck on the military, guns, hence the “lock and load.” But I actually do believe that a civil war is coming, and this will be a shooting war. KR could have been Ft. Sumpter, turns out he wasn’t, but something will light the powder keg. Stay tuned. I may be early but I’m not wrong.
To be clear, I don’t think that people who disagree with me are evil. I think that the woke are evil–truly evil and must be defeated. If you don’t like my ideas, fair play. But if you actively attempt and in some cases succeed in taking my basic rights away, that’s a bit different–and taking my rights away includes my $ in the form of taxes intended to take from whites and give to COWs(Citizens of Wakanda). At some point the righteous non-woke will rise up. Maybe it’s starting with Jordan Peterson speaking at a uni w/o much fuss, but I doubt it. I’m an atheist, and I dislike all religion, and wokeism is clearly a religion. They worship COWs , and have their rituals like whites washing the feet of blacks to atone for their sins.
I am convinced of my own righteousness–the righteousness in leaving people alone, living what used to be considered a normal life, where citizens of a country shared the most basic common values. That’s no longer the case and there seems to be the case and there is no going back, and at least in the case of the US, though I suspect the West writ large, this was forced upon us through lies and deception–no one would have voted for massive change in the demographics of the US when it was forced on us by the elites.
More bark than bite? Ouch, mate, that hurts. That’s the worst bit by far. I like to joke that I lead the FAF (Free American Forces) from a capital of a Baltic state but will return to the US to lead from the front when the shooting starts. But I bang on about the coming civil war and like that term. The fact is that much of the US hates the other half and wants them dead. Did you hear about the recent “karma” comment by a Democratic operative after the murders at the parade?
It seems that the US is increasingly becoming South Africa, with complete lawlessness. Much of this lawlessness is tolerated as a form of reparations, it seems–whites paying blacks for the sins of their oppressive ancestors. Biden is doing a lot of this with massive settlements making blacks rich because a relative was killed by a nutter. How is that right?

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I think we probably agree on much, since I too think there is a civil war looming and, to be honest, I have lost a few American friends in the last few years (mostly on the left) who regard me as too far gone to be friends with anymore. I can see that they are at heart good people (I did after all choose to be friends with them) but they are, to my observation, now dangerously brainwashed into a them and us mentality. Sadly, I am now, for many of them, a “them”.
I fear the woke, but I probably fear just as much, the reaction to the woke. I don’t believe history has much of a sense of proportion, so it is likely that one set of dogmas will merely give rise to another.

I also did read your Karma comment, which correctly relays the typical attitude among many on the left: When they do something bad they have been “provoked”, but when others do bad, it is done out of malice. It’s an appalling double standard.
`On the subject of taxes your statement is rather unhelpful without qualification. You presumably believe in some taxes, since it’s not possible to run a nation state without them. The question is then only to what extent they are levied, and to what purposes they are put. Only in the detail lies any meaningful discussion.
I have the misfortune of living in a country which has the worst of both worlds: high taxes and NO services. I literally pump my own water out the ground, generate my own electricity, treat our own sewage, fix the potholes on our road, pay for private security and, after all of that, still get hounded by the municipality for such things as water, despite not having had municipal water in over 20 years.
You guys are probably not entirely aware of how far you still have to fall!

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

Helpful observation. Taxes is a big topic, but the general idea is that instead of providing for a reasonable government, America is using taxes to redistribute the wealth and one intent of this is to simply give it to COWs. I pay my taxes and expect that they be used for roads and bridges, but not wars, including the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on racism.
I know a bit more about SA than I do about Zimbabwe, but I understand that white farmers are a target in both countries, and the murder rates of whites by blacks are extremely high. Oscar Pistorius is the exception that proves the rule.
I would say that the US has been in continuous decline in my lifetime. Poor leadership and corruption–they go hand in hand–are largely responsible. We’re maybe not at the corruption levels in SA and Zimbabwe, but we certainly aspire to that–and we’re not that far away either. Lobbying is essentially corruption by men and women in suits.
Old timers who served in Korea–1950-1953–talked about what a backward country it was. Now the US is a backward, Third World country, and Korea is a high-tech miracle. This will continue.
The US is actually not that far away from pumping our own water, generating our own electricity. It is sometimes called “the succession of the successful,” meaning that if YOU have some $, you live in a gated community, but talk about the horrible racism of having a wall on the Southern border. You bang on about the racism in homelessness, but you refuse to allow any housing to be built near you, or even in your city.
Many, especially Europeans, don’t understand that I think the number is 50% of Americans don’t have $400 saved for a personal emergency–a tire blowing out because of horrible roads–happened all the time. So if America has 150mm+ who are one step away from being desperately poor–with more coming every day–it won’t be long before some will be pumping our own water.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

The US is sad even for someone like me to visit from the 3rd World. Los Angeles in particular I just found revolting in a lot of parts, no different to downtown Harare and probably more dangerous.

I can imagine wathing that deterioration is heart breaking.

As for Zimbabwe. It’s a very different country to South Africa. Consider, for example, that we lost in total about 5 white farmers to violence in as many years.
During the farm invasions in the early 2000s, at the peak of the violence, and when there was daily propaganda that all economic problems were caused by white saboteurs, I could still walk around in town as the only white person and have no problems.
In South Africa they lose 5 farmers a week to murder. I have never felt safe walking in any neighbourhood there, and I would never walk in any city center there like I do in Zimbabwe.

And the farming thing in Zimbabwe is interesting. I myself work in agriculture in the tobacco industry. There are still 200 white tobacco farmers left (of a previous 1500), and the ones I have known are doing very well.
Many of the politicans who stole land now lease that same land back to white people to farm it. So, though land ownership has changed, the social scene and the clubhouses have slowly reverted back to being white.
If someone had said to me 20 years ago that the farm sports clubs would be working again, that people would be playing tennis on the weekends and farming in the week, like it was the 1970s, I’d have thought you were on LSD.
And yet, here I am, now, one stone’s throw from being an actual farmer.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Isn’t it interesting that your Southern GOP types tefuse the term “civil war” preferring ‘war between the states”? We now have the ‘state’ of being Woke or Liberal and the ‘state’ of being Conservative etc.. so shall we have a new War Between the States?? Just a thought…
Btw many theist like me also dislike religion.. maybe you meant ‘faith’? I guess words are important?

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I’ve also heard the Civil War referred to as “The War of Northern Aggression,” but only in the Deep South many years ago. Losers!
My Souther GOP? Really, mate? And what you say is simply not true–not a thing in US.
I dislike religion. Believe whatever you want in private–doesn’t bother me–but leave it out of the public square, leave it out of policy.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

As the “talk and listen” man, may I say I’ve enjoyed your conversation with Hayden. Thanks to both.

One of my children, and partner, would absolutely fit the profile of the two American girls in Zimbabwe. It worries (and greatly irritates) me but there is something of both the arrogance and inexperience of youth. Neither are bad or evil people. I have some confidence they will mature to somewhere to the left of me but a long way from the fruitcakes. The only option is to continue to talk and listen.

Those of us who spend time on sites like this can get quite excited by this stuff, but most of the people I meet in my day to day life are oblivious to it. They are certainly not interested in fighting about it ( I know the UK is very different.)

The overwhelming majority of normal people are quite able to talk and listen. Winding them up with talk of how evil the other side are, is dangerous.

Petersen at Cambridge, even the NYT showing a bit of doubt, the Virginia result. You have to believe there are ways of fighting that are much more effective than locking and loading anything.

Why more effective? If the US was catastrophically crazy enough to have a civil war, the geo political reality is that, when you’ve finished, China will be running the show. There never will be a Libertarian States of America rising from the ashes of a civil war.

As a side note, I left South Africa in 91, expecting it to be a failed state before the millennium. It’s not heading in a good direction, but is still a long way from a failed state. These things take a long time and that time can be used to turn things round. Don’t shorten the time by being too quick to lock and load.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

No, it’s More Immediate Evil versus Greater Evil.

US liberals have gone to the Devil.

But that doesn’t make US conservatives Angels – in fact, they’re a monstrous collection of gun-crazies and punishment freaks. And often, flint-hearted people with a truly hellish attitude towards the Poor.

And the horror of what is happening in the USA is significantly of their making. In that sense, it is indeed karma.

The only thing that can be said for them is that (barring the GOP creating a new coalition of voters – and quickly), US conservatives are prospective victims, with the entire culture and most of the elite against them.

So that, for the very first time, they have a right to their guns. After all, as the Democrats are eager to kill unwanted babies, they’re certainly not going to spare Republicans.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Not sure I get your point. I hate the Rs almost as much as I hate the Ds, though Rs don’t hate Western Civilization, white people, men, etc. you know the list. I am only on side with the Rs to the extent that their policies are not crazy: I believe in tolerance, leave me alone, don’t hate gays, don’t believe in god, women have a right to choose, treat trans people with respect (at least initially), but don’t deny biology.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

My concern is not that Team Rousseau believe in puppy dogs and butterflies but that their fantasy leaves them unprepared to resist the siren calls of activists (who almost certainly don’t believe that humans are naturally good but choose to camouflage themselves as members of Team Rousseau).
I offer as evidence the ‘good intentions’ of Black Lives Matter contrasted against the vilification of ‘All Lives Matter’. Some people were following an agenda of their own.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago

If we’re being honest, regardless of anyone’s views on Rittenhouse, the whole situation was caused by society’s reaction to the death of George Floyd.
Again, regardless of our views on that, police across the US actively stood down and allowed violence to go unchecked, for a variety of reasons not least to avoid any further outcry should they get it “wrong” again. In places such as Portland, government actively took the decision to remove the police for political reasons.
I fail to see how BLM and their supporters can get on their moral high horses over Rittenhouse when they themselves created the conditions for it to happen. First by overreacting to George Floyd’s death, and secondly by rioting and rampaging through their own towns and cities.
In fact I would argue it’s surprising that nobody took matters into their own hands more – became what they accused Rittenhouse to be.
Thankfully nobody did counter their unchained violence with like for like violence, but it would not have been altogether surprising had it happened. They know this and so it’s probably why they all assumed Rittenhouse was the white supremacist vigilante that he wasn’t.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

What many overlook about the George Floyd incident is that it was caused, in large measure, by so-called “positive discrimination,” where ethnic minorities are hired and promoted despite often not being fit for purpose. Derek Chauvin only came on scene because two so-called minority officers were unable to put this hugely impaired dude in the back of the police car and keep him there. Similarly, another BAME officer shot and killed an Australian in an alley as she was reporting what she thought was a rape. A completely incompetent so-called minority, hired despite not being fit for purpose, kills a white woman for no reason, violating every police department guideline and common sense in so doing. Where is the outrage? Where is the systemic change?
Our European friends perhaps don’t understand how absolutely stupid police in America are. They are poorly educated, poorly trained, and poorly led. People can become police officers in a matter of weeks. I compare this to the military, where every military in history (UnHerd readers will surely correct me if I exaggerate) has had an officer corp and an enlisted corp. With the American police, there is no officer corps. They are led by people utterly unfit for purpose. I can’t stand seeing a “police chief” with 4 stars on his collar, as though he is Field Marshall Montgomery, who is completely inarticulate, stupid, and just a laughing stock.
The real reason that this is tolerated is to provide high-paying jobs (and being a police officer is indeed high paying in the US) to so-called minorities who otherwise would be working in a warehouse for Amazon at close to minimum wage.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Thanks really interesting view.
As someone with no policing background, but a rudimentary training in civil disobedience, crowd psychology and de-escalation – there was a lot wrong with the whole incident from start to finish. The officers on the scene not only put themselves in that position – but it was also clear were not capable of dealing with the situation at hand.
My amateur conclusion was that better policing, training and leadership was needed – yet right away the narrative hurtled towards less policing and vilifying those already ill-equipped to do an almost impossible job.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I worked with the Feds (smart, educated, professional), and NYC police (dumb, poorly educated, lazy) while a prosecutor. This is a general view–of course there are individual exceptions. It was frustrating beyond measure that the unionized police were essentially untouchable and prosecutors–what should be the officer corps–had zero influence on them. I remember a case where the police took down a months long drug operation w/o telling the prosecutors to maximize their overtime (prosecutors, as professionals, do not get overtime. Unionized cops do, and it makes up the bulk of their pay for many cops).

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

This is an interesting and needed perspective.

Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
2 years ago

It is extremely unfortunate that what Mary calls “Team Rousseau” has also hijacked the rape debate with the result that many young women seem to believe that if only men were better educated, if only society took a firmer stand, they would face no danger of rape at all. The idea that women themselves can and should take steps to minimise the risk of being propositioned or even attacked is therefore rejected as preposterous “victim-blaming” (a claim which is itself a preposterous conflation of two separate issues).
“Team Original Sin” – to which I myself, like many older people belong – instead takes the realistic view that no matter how perfect the society, there will always be a tiny percentage of men who, under certain circumstances, might be capable of committing rape and that it is therefore in women’s own best interests to exercise prudence and take precautions wherever possible lest they are unfortunate enough to cross paths with such a man.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

I’m amazed you haven’t been vilified for your argument (with which I largely agree btw).. on Irish radio a few years ago a straight-talking host George Hook suggested that girls should have more sense than to dress extremely provocatively – something every Irish mammy has told their daughter since time immemorial: “You’re askin’ for trouble if you go out dressed like that!”
For his trouble he was forced to resign in utter disgrace! The leader of the Irish Rape Crisis Centre stated: “A woman should be free to walk down main street stark naked if she wants to!”. Mind you if a guy does it he’s arrested for indecent exposure. Go figure!

Last edited 2 years ago by Liam O'Mahony
Frances Davis
Frances Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I MISS GEORGE HOOK,…A GOOD MAN VILIFIED…HE HAD A POINT…

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Kids need to be taught what’s right, wrong, civilised and polite otherwise it’s Lord of the Flies. If this were not true then parenting would be unnecessary, as, would role models and ‘representation’, and anarchy would be a good way to run society. We know that it’s not. All the evidence points to Kyle Rittenhouse acting in self defence and not being a white supremacist. There may be 2 arguments but only 1 is true. The other is narcissistic self delusion.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

Great and timely essay thanks Mary. It seems to me that Team Rousseau have (a) not read much history, (b) never spent much time in a run of the mill school and (c) have not thought thru what inevitably happens when law and order breaks down – usually mass murder, ethnic/cultural cleansing and the storming of their fortresses – and perhaps a spot of guillotining (though they would not understand that reference because they have not read anything useful.) They are half correct- tho there is little that can be done about that cos it rests on people feeling reasonably content about their lot in life. Tragically most people’s lot in life has been downgraded of late – and they dont seem to realize that a scared angry person is a very dangerous creature. I have a relation that subscribes to team Rousseau and it is very clear that she just cannot deal with the reality that life can be just plain nasty – and is very much in denial about those realities of life BECAUSE THOSE REALITIES MAKE HER FEEL ANXIOUS AND POWERLESS. And get this – she was in Rwanda when the massacres were starting !!!!! Nuff said thanks.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago

Very thought provoking article.
For a long time, I wasn’t really paying attention to the Rittenhouse trial but now I’m catching up, I have to say I am shocked at just how far apart the media “reporting” and the facts of the case were. When I first heard about this, I honestly thought Rittenhouse had shot 2 black people. Another cautionary tale about believing what you read in the media, which all too often churns out narrative, rather than news.
I am not buying into the Rousseau narrative, mainly because I think it provides a free pass for people to shrug off any sense of self-responsibility and blame others for their own failings or wrongdoing. This is not a desirable vision for individuals within a society.
I also think that going the Rousseau way would effectively dissolve society as the basis for every society is a more or less clear set of values of what is good/bad, right/wrong – from which all other rules within the system flow.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The Independent still thought he shot 3 black people the day the verdict came through.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I do not read the Independent (or the Guardian), because I do not think it is a serious publication. But that sounds about par for the course.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Why are you shocked? This is the norm, not the exception. The MSM picks a side, and stays on side, regardless of the facts. Bari Weiss’s HONESTLY does an excellent job with a podcast on this exact topic.
But what perhaps our European friends don’t understand is that this is the case with EVERYTHING in the US. It’s no longer news, or reporting, it’s advocacy. Curtis Yarvin asked a question that I hadn’t thought of before–If almost all of the US media were suddenly made government employees in a Ministry of Truth, would anything really change? An interesting question.
Finally, a bit off topic, but I vehemently disagreed with your posts on the lockdowns in Austria and elsewhere. But I truly respect that you held your nerve, kept posting, and didn’t back down. Bring on the respectful debate. When I’m rubbished here, I examine my writing to see if I have a blind spot, if there is a weakness in my position and new facts must make me reconsider. Often, but not always, I conclude that I said it, I meant it, I stand behind it. Seems like you did the same with your positions on lockdowns. I disagree, but well done, you.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Oh, thank you James (which I suspect isn’t your name – but it’s all I’ve got to go on…). That is a really nice thing to say. I guess it is my background in the law that makes me so insistent about things and argue until the cows come home. I was really swimming against the opinion tide that day – but that’s why I spend time on discussion on UnHerd. Even though I might disagree with others, the debate is always sporty and almost always respectful so it ends up being enriching rather than frustrating.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Back at you! Thank you for your kind words! I still disagree, but you made your points–repeatedly. Well done, you! I have a background in law too, so it’s interesting that we disagree so vehemently.
To your point, I strongly encourage you–and all UnHerd–to listen to that Bari Weiss podcast, HONESTLY, and the episode about KR. I’ve rubbished Bari here–as noted I don’t like her–but she is right on this and this is an exceptional episode.
Yes, James is not my real name and not even my first choice, but it’s what I’m using here for now.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I had a very good friend and business partner, sadly now deceased named James Joyce. (What were his parents thinking?) One day he went to a meeting to discuss whether a university department’s computer operations group would like him to teach them one of our courses on data modelling. He introduced himself to the head of computer operations there, with his customary ‘Good day, I’m Jim Joyce.’ The smile grew wider on the person he was introducing himself to, who replied ‘and I’m Chuck Dickens’.
Jim said that that sale was made then and there. All the rest were minor details.

<I am puzzled why this one went to moderation.>

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

One quibble: the media churn out lies, by commission and omission. “Narrative”, like “spin”, is their euphemism for their lies.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

Perhaps it’s time for Team Rousseau to either re-read or read for the first time Golding’s Lord of the Flies. After that, perhaps they’ll gain a little more insight into the true nature of human beings.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Perhaps it’s time for you to separate fact from fiction: “UnlikeWilliam Golding’s famous 1954 novel Lord of the Flies, the schoolboys incredibly turned a remote island into a paradise with food garden, gymnasium and chicken pens among much more in 15 months of being marooned”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/real-life-lord-flies-saw-23964901

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago

What do you know? I can still find some positive reads every once in a while. It’s things like these that keep me from becoming a completely cynical b*****d.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

Interesting, but the difference in age is important I think, 16 year old boys are on their way to being men (back in the 1960s anyway); the boys in Lord of the Flies are still children. The real life lads had been socialised and educated at a strict Catholic school in Tonga, quite apart from the moral training they would have had some experience of island life at least; the fictional boys were from a traditional class-ridden British prep school, where bullying often came as standard.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I agree
 age (and ability/skills) came to mind as soon as I read this.
I think other factors like bounty of the island could have an influence.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

Hi Lesley, you caught me as I was editing the comment.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Yes, I agree with that and many of the comments on it. But I think that human societies, whether a group of teenage boys or a large nation, can manifest in infinite and ever changing ways. Some preferable to others but they’re not necessarily ‘bad’. Neither a Team Rousseau nor a Team Original Sin approach can be an optimal permanent approach.
Having said that Birbalsingh is an absolute hero of our age and if this government reforms the education system in her image it will be worth suffering all their other faults for.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago

One of the crucial points is that there were only 4 marooned, so they required each other for survival. With many more people the same laws would not (and do not) apply.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

It was 6 lads, Sione, Stephen, Kolo, David, Luke and Mano, but I agree with you, I think if there had been say 20 of them there would have been a greater likelihood of trouble.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I stand corrected. I would be interested to see what would happen if there, were, say 50 boys on the island with less resources at hand.
The boys in the story were also all mates before they got marooned.
But what if they were not mates at all, but random people drawn from the population with a high probability that one or more would be charismatic narcissists etc? I think that might play out differently!
I’m biased, I think, having seen what boys did to each other at boarding schools in Zimbabwe, which has put me firmly in the “Lord of the Flies” camp.

Last edited 2 years ago by hayden eastwood
Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

I think both scenarios are probably equally likely, ie, a small group of decent young men, with a bit of luck, survive heroically, and on the other hand, a larger more anarchic group to descend into cruelty and brutality. The two sides of human nature under pressure.
Strong leadership is key imo, and it’s too much to expect a child to manage that for long, if at all.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

but the lesson of human evolution would appear to be that on the whole the “good guys” survive (sorry not being sexist, it’s just a phrase) and the “bad” ones don’t. In the context of this discussion, I don’t think either the Rousseau crowd or the lock ‘n loaders are the “good guys” – as always, it’s more nuanced than that, and therefore harder to think through

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

I don’t think that the “good guys” always survive, some definitely do, but I’m thinking of all the good guys who have died courageously in the fight against evil, so that goodness does survive for all of us.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

I’m informed that throughout ancient history the optimum number was 16.. so your point may well be invalid. There is an ongoing argument in anthropology about whether ancient humans were more brutal of more cooperative? I’m inclined to believe the latter since humans were far too weak in every way to survive without the highest levels of cooperation. Coercion would have been too “expensive” and inefficient on very scarce resources as well..

Fennie Strange
Fennie Strange
2 years ago

Sione, Stephen and their four real-life friends whose story is told in that highly unreliable organ the Mirror, cannot be compared to the children in Golding’s horror story. The six were already a team – no outsiders. They were older and had experience of the terrain. Golding’s boys were much more numerous, younger, marooned in two separate groups and had no skills to help them.
Each story, the real and the fictional, tells us important things about human nature, but neither tells us anything about the other.

Last edited 2 years ago by Fennie Strange
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

Another really thought provoking piece from Mary.

It’s helpful to reduce really complex subjects, to binary poles, to provide points of reference. That said there should be many other nuances within the analysis

TeamRousseau people are genuine in their view of the human race, but are they useful idiots being manipulated by people with a much harder nosed view of power dynamics? Yes in my view.

Our societies have considerably modified and ameliorated the methods we use to enforce the moral code (think stocks and public hanging.) Has that been a good? Yes in my view. Does it have further to go? Possibly and worthy of more nuanced discussion.

Children exposed to really bad abuse in young childhood are massively over represented in the criminal fraternity. Children of hippies (as a short hand for loved, but not disciplined) less so. What does that tell us about a combined approach.

The pity, and the danger, of where we are now is that any sensible debate about the shades of grey between Rousseau white and original sin black is no longer possible.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago

“Team Rousseau insists that human goodness is natural rather than ordered and enforced, and this in turn affords its believers the right to withhold judgement, and avoid making clear statements about the good. In practice, then, this amounts to an elite right — a duty, in fact — to shirk the central responsibility of elites since time immemorial: moral leadership.”

The trouble with the above is that the elite know full well who and how to punish, as Rittenhouse and the J-6 arrestees demonstrate.

Challenge elite authority and it won’t be empathy and license which comes down on you.

It’s not a difference of worldviews; it’s a conflict between the rational and the irrational.

The Western elite take the side of rioters — “heroes” Rosenbaum and Grosskreutz — over the side of defenders of property and order. They award hundreds of millions of dollars to illegal alien families separated at the border, but take away children from parents who resist claims of “gender dysphoria.”

They are insane.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago
Reply to  William Hickey

All 3 men shot were convicted felons. Rosenbaum was a sex offender who had been recently released from a mental hospital. “Team Rousseau” is really Team Marx. Team Marx believes in any lie necessary to move their cause forward.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago

Well, yes, that long-standing version of left-wing “morality” has been adopted by Mary’s so-called Team Rousseau.

“Only that which prepares the complete and final overthrow imperialist bestiality is moral, and nothing else. The welfare of the revolution — that is the supreme law.” (Leon Trotsky)

However, calling a movement and worldview Marxist that boasts Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates among its leaders sort of turns old Karl onto his head, doesn’t it?

“Bolshevik Billionaires” may sound cute, but are they either revolutionary or dialectical?

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
2 years ago
Reply to  William Hickey

Because it’s the cultural left? Where are all the billionaires that want to redistribution their wealth to the poor if they are all leftists?

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
2 years ago

Good article, but I am not fully persuaded:
“It’s a good rule of thumb that where people find it impossible to agree, it’s usually because there’s a fundamental difference in their assumptions about the world.”
More likely, when we are fighting our enemies, philosophical differences that seemed initially significant, quickly become redundant. We are fighting them on every battlefield because we have already declared them to be the enemy, and so they are in the wrong by default. Further discussion becomes inconvenient and all rather tiresome.
We are also perfectly willing to re-adjust our world view after the event if required – Precisely because it has become irrelevant. I do it all the time. My cat, on the other hand, perhaps because he cannot tell his Rousseau from his whisker, maintains an admirably consistent view on the place of mice in the world.
I accept that my view doesn’t hold in all cases. Sometimes people really do have convictions, but I think I am right about the events unfolding in the US.
Oh, and humans enjoy fighting.

Last edited 2 years ago by Terry Needham
Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
2 years ago

Ms. Harrington – the actual trial of Rittenhouse is not a case where there are two equally valid perspectives – if so there would have been no need for the widespread lies about him from everyone from the President and MSM to government officials despite clear video evidence of his innocence. Leftists have had to tie themselves into inconsistent intellectual knots in efforts to rationalize their hatred for someone standing up to the anarchy. Does Team Rousseau really think pedophile Rosembaum is redeemable but Kyle is not?

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago

The Antifa/BLM riots in the US were intentional political violence, allowed by Democrats in charge of state and government. In Kenosha, police were ordered to stand down, as they were in all other riot jurisdictions.

Antifa/BLM riots all had the same banana republic pattern. Democrat controlled governments withdrew police protection and allowed the riots. In some cases, Democrats defended their right to allow riots when Trump threatened to use federal resources to restore order. The riots were intentional political violence, for the purpose of intimidating Republicans and making Trump look impotent or authoritarian, whether he did nothing or tried to do something.

There’s no Rouseau involved in the riots. There was and is no assumption of good behavior. Democrats want a breakdown in law and order so they can impose the rule of “experts,” replacing the rule of law and the Constitution.

As to Rittenhouse, if you followed the trial, you would know Rittenhouse was innocent without question. Rittenhouse had every right to be there, armed. Just as nobody has to take a beating, nobody has to allow their property to be destroyed. Rittenhouse had family, friends and a job in Kenosha. His gun was purchased and stored in Kenosha. His friends were protecting a used car business from arsonists. Rittenhouse was on his way to an arson fire with a fire extinguisher when rioters attacked him.

The white people Rittenhouse shot all attacked him first. One guy tried to hit him in the head with a skateboard. Another knocked him to the ground and tried to take his gun. The third pointed a pistol at his head from less than 3 feet away. All 3 were convicted fellons. The mob was screaming, “Kill Him!” It’s all on video from multiple sources. Rittenhouse was running away from them.

I don’t see any part of Rittenhouse’s behavior that was improper. There’s no evidence whatsoever that he’s a bully. However, like most folks on the left, ihe author seems to live in a fake news bubble, on which reality does not intrude.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago

Anyone who has attended school and been bullied knows that the minute you stand up to the bully, the bully will report you to be the bully and the teachers will concur with the bully. The system is stacked up against those who dare stand up for themselves!
in my view its not a case of nature or nurture, but half and half of both. Genetics have an influence but so does the way we raise them. If a parent screams and berates a child then dont be surprised if the child grows up to do the same.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

If this is true than it is relatively new. When I was a t school the teachers knew exactly who the bullies were and they were punished. As a result, there were very few of them around and active, although they were also the ones who grew up to be bullies in adulthood. Also, a bullies who blame their victims are more than just bullies, they are showing psychopathic tendencies as well.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

At this point, the authorities in towns with riots want to dispense “people’s justice,” not real justice. For example, the judge in the Rittenhouse case threw out the weapons charge because the barrel on Rittenhouse’s rifle was too long to fit the statute. An honest prosecution wouldn’t have charged Rittenhouse with that violation. However, a political prosecutor would, even though it was obvious the barrel was too long.

Jamie Smith
Jamie Smith
2 years ago

We do know why Kyle Rittenhouse went to a riot zone. He told to a jury of his peers (and the world) in court. The jury accepted the reasons he gave. So should you.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

Another great, thought provoking piece from Mary. However, it is frustrating to consider how far down the slippery slope of “liberalism” we have come in the West. Michael Savage, the talk show host from San Franfreako, describes liberalism as a mental disorder, because there is really no other plausible explanation for the insanity that is contained in the thinking that humans are inherently good and need no guiding moral compass. What disastrous results.
The concept of removing police comes from elites who live behind walled compounds, who seem to yearn for anarchy.
Look at the surveys on who wants to dismantle the police in various cities. It is certainly not the plain folks who actually live and work in those war zones. It is the privileged white kids, who drive in from the wealthy suburbs to protest and hold up signs after being indoctrinated from CNN.
If it is now considered immoral to demand that laws be upheld and crimes be punished, then call me immoral. The next step is civil war, because I chose not to live with anarchy.

T Doyle
T Doyle
2 years ago

Great article. The Team Rousseau is now the accepted ideology across the global elites. To say differently would taint you as reactionary, racist, blah blah, etc. Shame Rousseau didn’t get his teddy bear stolen and a punch on the nose!

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
2 years ago

In [the irreconcilable narratives of the Left and Right], a white supremacist shot anti-racism protesters in cold blood, and was acquitted because of his skin colour. In the other, a teenager tried to defend a community from violence, and ended up shooting two criminal lunatics in self-defence.

But why are these stories so irreconcilable?

You’re implying that the two narratives are the same distance from the truth which is the mistake everyone seems to be making. The story on the Left is largely fiction (a majority of American liberals, until last week, were certain that the Rittenhouse victims were black because that’s what the Left-wing press wanted them to believe.) The story of the right is a mythology based on the legal facts. Wittenhouse is not guilty of murder according to the law. He may well be guilty of being young and dumb, overconfident and totally unprepared for what might happen if he were to carry a rifle to an active riot.

The ensuing shouting-match between Team Original Sin and Team Rousseau [over Tom Cotton’s op-ed in the NYT] ended the career of the NYT’s comment editor.

The shouting match wasn’t between some cartoonish false binary. The shouting match was between the Leftists who dominate the NYT and an editor who thought it would be okay to permit a voice from outside the echo chamber to be published on the NYT editorial page. The whole “Team Original Sin vs. Team Rousseau” thing doesn’t work.

Let me introduce you to someone who knows exactly nothing about inner-city schools in the United States or the predominance of wealthy white kids at BLM riots:

In schools, we can only expect pupils to behave if the teacher’s doing it right. And in the public square, we can only expect people not to riot if we abolish systemic oppression.

As far as reductive, platitudinous appeals to emotion go, that one is perfect to induce vomiting.

Here she’s getting warmer:

For when public norms of order collapse, or are undermined in the name of empathy, the only law that remains is that of brute strength. In San Francisco, even previously committed opponents of gun ownership are now responding to the disintegration of public order with talk of buying weapons.

I’m a big Mary Harrington fan but I’m still not sure why she wrote this piece. In the US we have a Leftist media which pursues without ceasing a narrative of hatred against the other (non-Leftists) in order to bolster their electoral prospects. The real victim is the ugly, complicated truth. The people who suffer as a result are those children and elderly victims of the hate-filled mad man who drove his SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukasha, Wisconsin this week.

Last edited 2 years ago by Mikey Mike
William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

Rittenhouse “may well be guilty of being young and dumb, overconfident and totally unprepared for what might happen if he were to carry a rifle to an active riot.”

From the video it seems like young Mr. Rittenhouse knew exactly what to do in an active riot.

Retreat until you can’t and then shoot to defend yourself.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  William Hickey

He brought the rifle because he knew what might happen in a riot. Remember, the riots had been going on for several nights at that point, many of the rioters were also packing, and they had already proven they had no problems assaulting or threatening people who got in their way.

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
2 years ago
Reply to  William Hickey

I agree, William. I believe Rittenhouse thought of himself as a deterrent never expecting to have to protect his own life. He obviously made a horrible mistake going to the site of a riot. As one of my tactical firearms instructors used to say, if you’re going somewhere where you think you’ll need your firearm, don’t go there.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

I think she likes to poke the bear to get conversation going.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

Excellent article.

Sarah H
Sarah H
2 years ago

Anarchy? If only. This is revolutionary identity Marxism.

John Shaplin
John Shaplin
2 years ago

The difference between the Teams is not so clear when Rousseau side removes a statue of Jefferson in NYC and the riots of Jan 6 are investigated and prosecuted as an insurrection with 40 month sentences handed out to ‘rebels and traitors.’ The difference between the Teams is less a disagreement about human nature than the desired character of social and political dominion and dependence in American society.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Shaplin
Geoffrey Wilson
Geoffrey Wilson
2 years ago

Interesting article, even if sadly even-handed between sense and silliness. My comment is that most blacks, poor, women or indeed any subgroup of humanity apart from our “establishment” would vote for rules and enforcement against anti-social behaviour knowing (since their minds are uncorrupted by Rousseau fantasies) that without policing the louts, our society will become violent and brutish.
If offered an honest choice, of course.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago

I went to the shooting range today to shoot my 1922 antique Colt revolver and noticed 3 AA women about 40 were all taking a firearms class. I was happy to see that.

willie.grieve
willie.grieve
2 years ago

Brilliant article -‘a crippling lack of moral self-confidence’

Steven Campbell
Steven Campbell
2 years ago

If both world views were based on a different interpretation of the facts of the case, then we could attribute the diverging views as just different conclusions of what the facts mean. Unfortunately, over and over the “facts” presented by the leftwing media are made up, false facts, even when contradicted by film and testimony. The agenda leads, the facts are then manipulated to fit that agenda.

Nicholas Rowe
Nicholas Rowe
2 years ago

Unsurprisingly, C S Lewis wasn’t Team Rousseau.
In his essay on equality, Lewis began by making a reference to the influence of Rousseau’s ideas. Among other things, Lewis declared, “Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.”
Lewis stated his belief that where equality wasn’t used as medicine it resulted in “a stunted and envious sort of mind that hates all superiority”, and that “that mind is the special disease of democracy, as cruelty and servility are the special diseases of privileged societies.”
There might be something in all that to explain the attitudes of various sides, from Team Rousseau through BLM to the white supremacists.

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
2 years ago

I appreciated the Rousseau references here, and this is a rather interesting take.
Having said that, I feel an element of Wokeism is missing here specifically about that last point about elite moral leadership. I’ve been observing that the Wokeist stance allows the American elite a great way to hold on to their privilege while retaining the moral high-ground.
We’ve seen the likes of the CEO of JP Morgan take a knee in support of BLM protests granting him a leadership role in a moral crusade. This came not much after Bernie Sanders nearly got the Democrat party leadership on the way to creating a rather old school (democratic) socialist presidency which could possibly leading to even more radical forms of socialism as these ideas become acceptable. Recall that Bernie even complained about immigration in the past for depressing Americans’ salaries.
So, in effect, Wokeism plays a neo-Calvinist role here in upholding the idea of Predestination in a secular world. Not only are the wealthy successful, but they also deserve to be wealthy due to their moral high-ground being anti-racist. The poor, but especially the poor white people, deserve their predicament since they’re racist by their nature.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

Quite clearly human being are a mixed bag, and some are more amenable to being socialised than others. Most people, if not actually very good, are not very bad (at least under normal circumstances). And we can expect that innate goodness and badness to be fairly evenly distributed across society.
So what are we to make of it when whole groups of people (blacks, say, or the poor, or the working class) riot, or otherwise exhibit poor behaviour?
I’m not defending the behaviour, but if you ignore the underlying causes (and both right and left make good points on what these are), eventually this is what you get.

Geoffrey Wilson
Geoffrey Wilson
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Sorry, Mr Morley, but I hope you will reconsider what you have said here. You start out with uncontroversial (to me, J-J Rousseau might find them difficult) generalities about natural variations between individual people, but then write about when “whole groups” such as blacks riot. Do I need to point out that not all blacks have been rioting?
My comment on an interesting article is that a majority (my opinion, I realise) of poor, black, women, or indeed any sub-group of society outside our “establishment” would vote for rules and enforcement against anti-social behaviour, knowing (since most minds are uncorrupted by silly Rousseau fantasies) that unless you police the louts you get a violent and brutish society.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

During the mass looting and vandalising in South Africa, communities of small businessmen and their fellow good citizens formed their own road blocks and took their own defensive measures. People of all colours and none.

Last year the Dems behaved like an odd schoolteacher who mumbles “C’mon now, guys” as he surveys, statically, with an ironic grin, a fierce form of fisticuffs that has exploded between two teenage schoolboys, for way too many seconds too long. In other words, the Dems brushed off the seriousness of the violence so abjectly that their good grannies would have turned in their grave.

Peter Stephenson
Peter Stephenson
2 years ago

Brilliant piece by Mary Harrington.

Timothy Cofman-Nicoresti
Timothy Cofman-Nicoresti
2 years ago

What a pleasure to see a philosophical analysis of a real and pressing modern problem. As a former student of philosophy I had come to believe that it, like God was dead. Congratulations, maybe there is hope for the human race after all.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
2 years ago

” it’s easier to believe people are naturally good if you’ve led a sheltered life.”
This times a thousand.
I think most people tend to be good, but the few who tend to be predatory need to be kept on a very tight leash. It only takes one terrorist to blow up a building filled with thousands of good people.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
2 years ago

” it’s easier to believe people are naturally good if you’ve led a sheltered life.”
This times a thousand.
I think most people tend to be good, but the few who tend to be predatory need to be kept on a very tight leash. It only takes one terrorist to blow up a building filled with thousands of good people.

2A Solution
2A Solution
2 years ago

UH… Kyle Rittenhouse did not travel to a riot. He worked in Kenosha. He lived 10 miles away just over the Illinois border in a little satellite town – about 1/10th the size of Kenosha. Broken home, mother in Illinois, father in Kenosha. Most of his friends in Kenosha. The AR in question was purchased by a friend in Kenosha and stored in a gun safe in Kenosha.
On the night in question Rittenhouse and his friend worked cleaning graffiti off a school and then answered a plea from a car lot for help. He had a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and the AR.
While trying to put out a dumpster fire he was attacked by scum. He was chased by and ultimately shot at 4 scum. Unfortunately 2 of them survived.
Everyone involved was white. ALL the scum had criminal records. One was an antifa fascist from Portland, and unfortunately he got away unscathed.
It’s a real shame more scum weren’t shot dead that night.

2A Solution
2A Solution
2 years ago

UH… Kyle Rittenhouse did not travel to a riot. He worked in Kenosha. He lived 10 miles away just over the Illinois border in a little satellite town – about 1/10th the size of Kenosha. Broken home, mother in Illinois, father in Kenosha. Most of his friends in Kenosha. The AR in question was purchased by a friend in Kenosha and stored in a gun safe in Kenosha.
On the night in question Rittenhouse and his friend worked cleaning graffiti off a school and then answered a plea from a car lot for help. He had a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and the AR.
While trying to put out a dumpster fire he was attacked by scum. He was chased by and ultimately shot at 4 scum. Unfortunately 2 of them survived.
Everyone involved was white. ALL the scum had criminal records. One was an antifa fascist from Portland, and unfortunately he got away unscathed.
It’s a real shame more scum weren’t shot dead that night.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
2 years ago

For those that have access to BBC Sounds, it’s worth listening to Matthew Syed’s programme/podcast “Sideways”, especially Series 1, Episode 6: “A Recipe For Happiness”.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago

I eagerly await Mary Harrington’s analysis of the different worldviews between Team Rousseau and Team Original Sin in the long battle over Donald Trump’s Russian collusion.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago
Reply to  William Hickey

The Russia Collusion Hoax has been completely proven false. Look up the two latest Durham Indictments.

William Hickey
William Hickey
2 years ago

My point of course was that Mary’s silly Team Rousseau, which she claims has a different “worldview,” will not pay any attention to Team Original Sin’s Captain Durham and the “alternate truths” of his investigation.

One only needs to apply Mary’s metaphor to other left-wing positions to see how fatuous it is.

So I did.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
2 years ago

Rousseauians are frightening. In the American experience that would include Woodrow Wilson and Elizabeth Warren. (I’d toss in Obama, too, but I am feeling generous. The Japanese gin is settling in. Take that for alliteration.)
Rousseau is frightening. He believes that the concept of the common good (the “general will,” the volontĂ© generale“) is a real thing. (Let me suggest an alternative view: We might not be able to agree on what constitutes the “common good”. Some stuff is just irreconcilable. Liberal democratic process should allow us to come to some resolution which is more sophisticated than the tried-true-and-tradition means of resolution: annihilating everyone who disagrees.)
So, Rousseau. His whole schtick is that, if you don’t agree with the policies implied by the “general will”, it’s because you’re either benighted or corrupt. (Does this not sound familiar?) Accordingly, it makes sense to censor your views. (Does *that* not sound familiar?) He’s explicit about this.
I was amused to find that in Social Choice and Individual Values (1951), even the economist Ken Arrow gently implied that Rousseau’s concept of the “general will” might be problematic in that it might not exist.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 years ago

Nearly all Unherders will get these cultural references. The vast majority of UK population have little knowledge of British cultural history- christianity; the reformation; the restoration; enlightenment; parliamentary history; the global history of human subjugation- Songhai, Mongol Yoke or Ottoman Empire anyone? Instead a series of emotive fragments about how nasty, guilty and unfair Western culture is. It’s, like, kind of all our fault isn’t it?

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
2 years ago

Nearly all Unherders will get these cultural references. The vast majority of UK population have little knowledge of British cultural history- christianity; the reformation; the restoration; enlightenment; parliamentary history; the global history of human subjugation- Songhai, Mongol Yoke or Ottoman Empire anyone? Instead a series of emotive fragments about how nasty, guilty and unfair Western culture is. It’s, like, kind of all our fault isn’t it?

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
2 years ago

Do you not think the trial was just? The result was exoneration on all counts by a jury. Rittenhouse’s case turns on the right to defend oneself. In the US, guns are legal, even powerful rifles, etc, so citizens can use them in self-defence in circumstances where otherwise their life is in danger.

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
2 years ago

Do you not think the trial was just? The result was exoneration on all counts by a jury. Rittenhouse’s case turns on the right to defend oneself. In the US, guns are legal, even powerful rifles, etc, so citizens can use them in self-defence in circumstances where otherwise their life is in danger.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
1 year ago

Re: hayden eastwood’s Comment below.
Kyle Rittenhouse simply defended himself against violent attack.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
1 year ago

Re: hayden eastwood’s Comment below.
Kyle Rittenhouse simply defended himself against violent attack.

David Morley
David Morley
2 years ago

We need to remember, though, that many of the rioters themselves will not have been brought up with “attachment” parenting or anything similar. Their upbringing may well have been poor, their parents parenting skills severely lacking, their environment chaotic and their father missing, their schools bad and their teachers incompetent.
We can criticise elite attitudes for being overly tolerant of such behaviour. But they are unlikely to have been the cause of it – except where their own elite children are concerned.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Their upbringing may well have been poor, their parents parenting skills severely lacking, their environment chaotic and their father missing, their schools bad and their teachers incompetent.

But doesn’t all that happen in the first place because there’s no longer any social censure of these things permitted?

Brian Delamere
Brian Delamere
2 years ago

Unheard is becoming more and more like The Guardian, only even more pretentious.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

I think the Rousseau philosophy leads to lawlessness where none of us our safe. Although having rules doesn’t always change the person it does curtail evil to a certain extent if it is backed up by penalties, otherwise it is everyone for himself. If every burglary, murder or rape is because a person didn’t have the right circumstances we end up with no justice and anything goes. I think it is utterly irresponsible. We end up with a system that every crime is interpreted as being the person’s reaction to their bad circumstances so nobody ever goes to prison. Hell on earth in other words.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

That’s why I’m all in on licensing people to have children, or even more radical, raising children in groups of 10 with multiple caregivers rounding out the rough edges of the less capable of the caregivers.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

So often I start these articles only to pause to see what the comments say.
Marie Antoinette of ‘let them eat cake’ fame. Do I understand, from the Rousseau angle, she was kind and thoughtful if nĂĄive, like Rittenhouse, with thoughts only for the community? Or that violent felons met their end, deservedly but at the end of the wrong gun, narrative wise?
And then not return, too prolix.

mike otter
mike otter
2 years ago

If only they were team Rousseau we’d all be safer. Though his personal life was a mess he was not a fan of violence or intolerance and believed social contracts had to be voluntary to survive. Compare him with our modern “elites” who love to stir up violence and hate between races, classes and genders and whose “judicial” systems view murder as worthy of less prison time than drug dealing?

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
2 years ago

To paraphrase Mr. Bumble, “Team Rousseau is an ass.”

Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
2 years ago

Where is Rambo when we need such a real person? Oh, I’d say we just found such a person standing for justice and truth.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

Carl Truman analyses the transition from pagan cultures through to Rousseau and to the present cultures in his book, ‘The Ridse and Triumph of the Self.’ A fascinating read.

Ann Ceely
Ann Ceely
2 years ago

“Public order has been sacrificed on the altar of empathy” – an imagined feeling shared with the other person!
Unfortunately, normally untrue!

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
1 year ago

The mobs overthrowing statues and looting businesses are often mostly Antifa from out of the area. Not a popular uprising of locals.