Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jean Jacques Rousseau's "Discourse on Inequality": A Summary

Savage man was the most effective fucking animal out - no more, no less. While every other animal relied on pure instinct, bros had freedom, and it was super fucking effective. Was he cold and wet without shelter from the elements? Fuck no. Savage man wasn't a bitch like you. He didn't give two shits about gourmet dining or fine tobacco or bearskin rugs - as long as his basic needs were met, he was happy as fuck. And his needs were the most basic needs any bro has ever had - sandwiches, sleep, sex. Ladies, take note. In fact, write those down. He'll thank you later.


That's why bros never fought in the state of nature. Why bother? Once his needs were met, that was it. He wasn't wicked or greedy; in fact, he had no idea of good and evil. All he knew was hunger and exhaustion and desire. Since men had the advantage of freedom over instinct, it wasn't hard for anybro to satisfy these.


Did inequality exist back then? Well, of course. Sometimes smart-as-shit bros devised a plan that required a strong-as-fuck bro to execute. But when bros absolutely had to work together, they did so simply and advantageously - they didn't intrude on each other's freedom. Instead, they made deals, fulfilled them, and went on their way. Fuck, bros barely even needed language, so simple were their needs and the tasks required to fill them. Point, grunt, kill, eat, sleep. Fucking lather rinse repeat, bitches. If something didn't help a bro preserve himself, he had no use for it - words were as few as needs. Men were naturally unequal, but back then, that just meant different. 




Eventually, though, bros got too fucking successful, and they started to spread. Natural disasters, weather patterns, scarcity, none of that shit kept them in check; bros just hardened, got stronger, and began to develop new concepts. And then modern society was truly born: some asshole invented property. He put some sticks in the ground and told people, "This is mine." If those first bros had told him, as they should have, "What? Fuck you, dude. It's the goddamn earth, how do those sticks make it yours?" we could have avoided a whole bunch of trouble. But apparently he convinced enough people that one could actually own land, and shit went downhill from there. 


Soon enough bros started marking out territory left and right, building huts and developing tools. Then families began staying together and dividing up roles since women now had a 'home' they could stay in. With homes to stay in, land to cultivate, and families to care for, bros got fucking lazy. No, that doesn't sound awesome, it sounds fucking terrible - thus began the pussification of bros everywhere. All those luxuries soon became needs - after all, how many of you could survive without a grocery store, out in the wild with a spear and a cave? Those are supposed to be conveniences, but they soon got out of control, and men became dependent on each other. We got social real fucking quick then, because when things got tough bros suddenly had no idea what to do on their own - so language got more complex, tribes formed, and men began to judge and exclude each other.


This is where shit actually got ugly. Men were now divided into rich and poor, have and have-nots, and since the have-nots no longer had the ability to perform the feats of badassery and survivitude that all men once knew, they had to work or steal. Here men and tribes started warring with each other over resources, taking from the rich what they could What did the rich do? Did they fight back? Fuck no. Why bother going the hard way? They were rich as fuck and didn't really need to fight - besides, they needed to keep exploiting the poor, since they had even less testicular fortitude than the have-nots - so instead, they invented government. Yeah, that's right, government is nothing but a trick  of the rich to subjugate the poor. "Hey, guys, you know how we're always fighting and shit? How about we come up with a way to resolve our disputes without killing each other, hm?" Sure, that sounds like a good idea, until you realize who exactly composes the government. Of course the rich have more influence, so that 'peaceful dispute resolution' somehow conveniently seems to always go their way - suddenly the rich and the poor are the powerful and the weak.


Of course people noticed that government didn't fix the inequality, and this was a crucial moment in our history - we could have fixed it by starting over, or abandoning the system and property altogether, but we tried to fix system that could never work, and legitimate social contracts soon turned into monarchies. The first laws were necessary, because they convinced bros that they could be ruled by laws; they never realized that only laws that were part of a social contract, that they voluntarily accepted, could really bind them. When the powerful destroyed these laws and put in place new ones, the people could have returned to nature, unbound - but they didn't. It's hard to blame them - think of how far people had fallen from the badass bros men once were. When no one came along to remind them of that, they gave up their freedom because the didn't know how to fight for it. Some of them reduced the harms of governments by insisting on 'democracies', but the rich dictated the terms of even those democracies, and all that did was spread out the corruption.


Look, any inequality beyond our natural abilities exists because we lost sight of our original needs. Who really needs anything more than to survive? Who needs a fucking jet? The more important wealth is, the more corrupt a society is - the farther it has fallen from that original state where all men could be happy and fend for themselves. No wonder savage men never commit suicide - they have it made. They have everything they want. Only in corruption do our wants exceed our abilities. Inequality is wrong when it exceeds the inherent inequality in our natural abilities, and there's no fucking bro in the world who is seven houses and a yacht more naturally talented than anyone else; no one is so much less talented that he deserves to starve. Fuck society for telling you that. 


--


You can read the entire Discourse online at Wikisource; if you insist on a paper copy, they're pretty cheap on Amazon.

7 comments:

  1. Fuck and yes. This was a fantastic summary, and surely the way Rousseau would have said it if he were alive today. This is one of the many reasons Rousseau is a hero of mine.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Man, this is an amazing summary, but the ideas in it are so inaccurate and baseless.

    Note that we can blame dead men for being unaware of evolutionary biology.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is beautiful... wonderful summary. beautiful. im sure if you did sum'n on karl marx it'd rock!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What of Rousseau's notion that government, as flawed as it is, is preferable to man returning to the state of nature? I understand that stating that would undermine Rousseau's point because it seems to be contradictory with his statement that man in the state of nature is happier and less bound by addiction to consumption, but you don't hit the nail right on the head. To Rousseau, men do not return to the state of nature because we choose submission to government out of habit, or that we have forgotten how to fight for our freedom. Men do not and will not return to the state of nature because we are incapable! To do so would be the demise of modern man, burdened by near-infinite luxury.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Only in corruption do our wants exceed our abilities.

    That's very Tao.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just read the book... what a waste of time: it is clear that Rousseau copied this article!

    ReplyDelete
  7. beautiful, just beautiful. :)

    ReplyDelete