Everywhere in Chains

WHILST reading Jean-Jeaques Rousseau’s masterpiece I came across the following paragraphs. Its intense analysis is only best served by writing it again and again.

The book’s subtitle reads: “Man is born free, and he is every where in chains.”

Book III, Chapter 15: Deputies or Representatives

As soon as public service ceases to be the main concern of the citizens and they come to prefer to serve the state with their purse rather than their person, the state is already clone to ruin. Are troops needed to march to war? They pay mercenaries and stay at home. Is it time to go to an assembly? They pay deputies and stay at home. Thanks to laziness and money, they end up with soldiers to enslave the country and deputies to sell it.”

“It is the bustle of commerce and the crafts, it is the avid thirst for profit, it is effeminacy and the love of comfort that commute personal service for money. Men give up a part of their profits so as to increase the rest at their ease. Use money thus, and you will soon have chains. The word ‘finance’ is the word of a slave; it is unknown in the true republic. In a genuinely free state, the citizens do everything with their own hands and nothing by means of money; far from paying for exemption from their duties, they would pay to discharge them in person. I am very far from sharing received ideas: I believe that compulsory service is less contrary to liberty than is taxation.” Read more