In Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau draws some interesting conclusions and makes some very interesting points about the dynamic that human beings have to go through when dealing with each other. His main points in the book have to do with the fact that men are not meant to be held down, nor or they meant to be restrained in any way. Instead, men were meant to run free and be able to make their own decisions as much as they possibly can.
I think that this book takes the completely complicated question of human nature and breaks it down in a way that is a little bit easier to understand. The first and most prevalent point in the book is about how people are not meant to be held down or restrained. According to the thoughts of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, freedom and liberty are things that help both people and societies thrive and survive. More than anything else, people desire this type of freedom because it makes them feel like they can do what they were meant to do.
In my opinion, this is a driving force for societies. Because of human nature and how we are wired, people are not meant at all to be held down and they are not meant to have to conform to what society tells them to conform to. When a society feels like they are being held down or enslaved by another group of people, it is just a natural thing to want to break free of that oppression and spread their wings. This book also takes an interesting look at the role of government and how it impacts the way people treat each other.
Like many of the prevalent thinkers of his time, Rousseau holds onto the opinion that big government is a limiting factor instead of being something that has a positive impact on the people it purports to help. With that in mind, government should be limited as much as possible, especially when there is a chance that some sort of corruption exists underneath the surface. I think this is a cynical way to look at life, but given the circumstances that were around for Rousseau and many of his fellow thinkers, it is easy to see where one might be compelled to think this way.
I don’t think that it is necessarily healthy to hold onto this opinion in terms of today’s government, but there are some very interesting lessons that can be gleaned. This book takes the opportunity to touch on a number of political topics and how they affect people and it does not miss. The author obviously has a healthy fear of big government, which was extremely important during his time. I think that the consideration of force among peoples is an extremely important consideration, as well.
Individuals can either conform to force as it confronts them or they can take the forces in their way and direct them. I think that it is difficult for most people to grasp having unnecessary force being put on them. As the author wrote in the first part of the book, men were not made to be enslaved, so that is not a natural thing for them to have to put up with. This understanding is essential to getting to know human beings and further, understanding society at large.