onanistic apologetics II

    The sources of Rousseau’s success are instructive. His was, and remains, the earliest and the greatest of all tales of self-consecration. The idea of the writer immortalizing himself through his work is as old as Horace. The idea of the writer immortalizing his work through his life is entirely modern. It is tempting to wax paradoxical in discussing this course of creation. In cultivating his paranoia by eliciting quarrels from his best friends, Jean-Jacques never ceased to extol his virtues as the finest example of man’s innate goodness. While defending the rights of children, he caused his five illegitimate offspring to be abandoned at the door of a foundling hospital, without so much as looking at them. After ending his formal education before entering his teens, he fashioned himself into an oracular educationist. Through pretending to eschew judgment in his accounts of himself, he relentlessly indicted individuals along with their institutions. Widely acknowledged as the heroic progenitor of the French Revolution, and thence of modernity as such, he opens himself up to plaudits and anathemas as an implacable terrorist or self-righteous totalitarian. In avoiding this embarrassment of epithets, the best approach is through plain facts. Continue reading onanistic apologetics II