In this Pastor's Corner, we see how the errors of the philosopher, Jean Rosseau, though dating from the period of the French Revolution, continued to permeate modern society today with their negative influence.
Pastor's Corner for Sunday, June 9
The Google database of over 5 million books published after Guttenberg’s invention offers us an interesting insight into what words were more in use then, and which have become common in the last two generations. It certainly has a story to tell.
In past centuries up to the 1960s, communal words and phrases like "community," "collective," "tribe," "share," and "common good" were very common indeed, whereas they drastically receded after that date. In the same line of thought, the contrary words like "preference", "personalized," "self," "standout" and "I can do it myself" have lately been used more frequently.
Another element of the story is de-moralization. General moral terms like "virtue," "decency," "prudence" and "conscience" were used less frequently in the last part of the 20th century. Terms like "faith," "wisdom," "evil" and others which certainly refer to religious people are on the decline. Even much less used were words indicative of moral excellence, like "honesty," "patience" and "compassion". Also, "modesty" and "kindness" dropped more than 50%. On the other hand, terms associated with the ability to deliver, like "discipline", and those associated with fairness have increased. This increase suggests that these ‘virtues’ are more relevant to economic production and exchange.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau gave us the "noble savage": "Man is good, society has depraved him!" His books "on the discourse of inequality," Emile and The Social Contract were landmarks of the French Revolution. Its effects are seen among us to this day and it is hard to realize how much the ideology of this madman and compulsory liar (without speaking of his other problems) has pervaded our own times. To be antisocial, to compete with everybody else while crushing them, to assert one’s personality regardless of the neighbor, to despise any superior over my liberty, to realize that one is not part of a whole complex society working for the common good: all these modern ‘rights’ are the fruit of Rousseau’s fertile and deranged imagination.
It is interesting that this man, who wished only to "discard the facts, because they have nothing to do with the question", who sent his five illegitimate children to a religious orphanage, has been catapulted on a pedestal as the model of education of our youth. May God have mercy on us all!