Critique of Rousseau

The Royal Heart and Rousseau

I love my enemies. Or, at least I try to love my enemies, especially those who are philosophers. Jeanne-Jacques Rousseau is a good example. Reading through the first section of his Social Contract, I see much with which many Americans would agree but much with which I cannot agree. Still, I like what I see thus far of Rousseau’s style.

As a Monarchist devoted spiritually to the Royal Heart and the entire Platonic, ultra-real form of the Monarchy itself, I found myself on the ropes very quickly. It is said that Plato also influenced Rousseau significantly; however, he certainly can land some punches with his Aristotelian-styled deductions and use of the principle of non-contradiction. Might does not make right; therefore, the King has no right to my liberty. Certainly, a King can provide tranquility to his subjects in exchange for the alienation of their liberties; however, tranquility can be found in a prison cell. Sure, a People can choose to give themselves to a King; however, that very act of choosing as a People assumes already a pre-existing social structure among otherwise free individuals… and etc.

However, the Platonist in him appears in his solution which is the total alienation of each person with all of his rights to the General Will of the entire community as opposed to a King. This is his version of Plato’s Republic and clearly eschews the notion of there being value in arbitrary inequality or aristocracy. Much of this might proffer a warm fuzzy feeling for Americans, but keep in mind that it also did so for the communists and French Revolutionaries. Americans viewed the warm fuzziness eschewing aristocracy through the Aristotelian lens of libertarian Enlightenment leading to “all men are created equal” and that governing authority should go to those who merit it, not to those born into it. The communists carried the warm fuzziness eschewing aristocracy to its full Platonic, communal form, that is, giving all to the General Will is giving all to ourselves.

As  Platonic-oriented royalists, we are challenged. We agree neither with the “Enlightened” Aristotelian model of libertarian freedom, nor with the crude, communal egalitarianism of the communist model. We are Platonic in that we accept a-priori the Kingdom of God in Heaven and the Social Kingship of Christ. We accept (as did Thomas Aquinas, the so-called Aristotelian!) the Pseudo-Dionysian understanding of the hierarchies in that Kingdom cascading downward in a divine emanation in order to draw us charitably upward to that Kingdom. We are Platonic and aristocratic. We see earthly hierarchy as a natural manifestation of the supernatural, heavenly Form of the Kingdom. Kingship, aristocracy, and a divine purpose behind inequalities are essential principles underlying this Form.

Here is where we now shake ourselves off the rope and refuse to go down amidst the unrelenting punches. Rousseau tips his hand and shows us his Achilles Heel. In the opening to chapter IV of the first section to The Social Contract, Rousseau establishes the following as the premise on which his theory holds:

“Since no man has a natural authority over his fellow, and force creates no right, we must conclude that conventions form the basis of all legitimate authority among men.”

Well, Aristotelian syllogisms are only as good as are their premises. If the premises are not valid, then neither is the conclusion. Here we must protest that “no man has a natural authority over his fellow.” He does, in our Platonic, Dionysian (and Thomist!) view. Those who are in an authoritative role, such as a King, who manifest the divine order in Heaven, exercise such through the right of that divine order. Rousseau rejected the “divine right” of Kings. We also reject that term as applied by Protestantism in the aftermath of their revolution; however, we do accept the definition of divine right as “the right to rule comes from God through His divine order, and the ruler must answer to God through His Church for how well he or she facilitates the coming of His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven for the benefit of his or her subjects and the eternal salvation of their souls.”

Here we have a royal Platonic interpretation against a communistic Platonic one and both against that of the Libertarian Aristotelian Enlightenment. For the Platonist, it all depends on the assumed a-priori propositions. For the Aristotelian, it all depends on the premises founding the syllogism. As Royal Hearts, our Platonist proposition is that we are to pray for and do our best to manifest the Father’s Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven” through the Social  Kingship of Christ. For the Aristotelians, and Rousseau, we might add that if the Kingdom of Heaven is truth, and the earthly Monarchy is a Form of the Heavenly Kingdom, then the earthly Monarchy is a Form of truth.

 

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