We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
"Nothing is more depressing than the general fate of men. And yet they feel in themselves a consuming desire to become happy, and it makes them feel at every moment that they were born to be happy. So why are they not?" Jean-Jacques Rousseau
From a review of a new book about Rousseau, by Dirda in the WaPo:
"Rousseau's contemporary, the arch-conservative Edmund Burke, labeled him "the Socrates of the National Assembly" (that is, of the hated French Revolution). Come the 20th century, this radical thinker had grown into the great beast of all who revere traditional institutions, worship in established churches and either fear or exploit the common man. Yet no one, of whatever political or philosophical persuasion, would deny how deeply Rousseau's sensibility pervades the past 250 years, from the poetry of the Romantics ("One impulse from a vernal wood/May teach you more of man . . . ") to the slogans, pop songs and lifestyles of the 1960s: Drop out, "Let it be," back to Nature, hippies, communes, self-realization. Yet Rousseauian ideals also lie behind our unabated, unassuaged longings to live more humanely in a bureaucratic, technological and often unjust world. Even the staunchest meritocrat or most self-satisfied scion of inherited wealth must find it hard to discount the truth of the discourse on inequality's final ringing lines: "It is manifestly against the Law of Nature . . . that a handful of men wallow in luxury, while the famished multitudes lack the necessities of life."
Such thrilling emotional language has always contributed to Rousseau's powerful appeal. Contrary to a widespread misconception, many philosophers have also been superb prose stylists -- just think of Plato, Hume or William James -- but this largely self-educated former valet may be the finest of all. Rousseau actually had to beg his readers to disregard his "beau style" and just pay attention to his ideas. But this is impossible. His sentences are musical and absolutely limpid, at once classically balanced yet intimate, oracular and confessional. One is simply swept along, no matter what the subject."