Basic Political Writings by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

'The booklet of those first-class translations is a cheerful get together for academics of classes in political philosophy and the background of political theory...' - Raymon M Lemos, "Teaching Philosophy".

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Their own merit adds still a new luster to yours. And I that find you, who were chosen by men capable of governing others in order that they themselves may be governed, are as much above other magistrates as a free people; and above all that the one which you have the honor of leading, is, by its enlightenment and reason, above the populace of the other states. May I be permitted to cite an example of which better records ought to remain, and which will always be near to my heart. I never call to mind without the sweetest emotion the memory of the virtuous citizen to whom I owe my being, and who often spoke to me in my childhood of the respect that was owed you.

If our sciences are vain in the objects they have in view, they are even more dangerous in the effects they produce. Born in idleness, they 24. The allegory of the fable of Prometheus is easy to see; and it does not appear that the Greeks who nailed him to the Caucasus thought any more favorably of him than the Egyptians did of their god Theuth. "The satyr," says an ancient fable, "wanted to kiss and embrace fire the first time he saw it. '" It is the subject of the frontispiece. 25. The less one knows, the more one believes one knows.

While it would be desirable for all those who could not go far in a career in letters to be deterred from the outset and become involved with arts useful to society, what are we to think of those compilers of works who have indiscreetly broken down the door of the sciences and ushered into their sanctuary a populace unworthy of approaching it? Someone who will be a bad versifier or an inferior geometer all his life, might perhaps have become a great cloth maker. Those whom nature destined to be her disciples had no need of teachers.

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