The Greens and Jean-Jacques Rosseau

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The Greens and Jean-Jacques Rosseau natural allies?
Filipiak, Daniel Lee
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Denver, CO
University of Colorado Denver
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vi, 69 leaves : ; 28 cm.


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Green movement ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
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non-fiction ( marcgt )


Thesis (M.H.)--University of Colorado at Denver, 1994. Humanities
Includes bibliographical references (leaf 69).
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Humanities.
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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
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by Daniel Lee Filipiak.

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Auraria Library
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TilE GREENS AND JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU: NATURAL ALLIES? by Daniel Lee Filipiak B.S., Purdue University, 1965 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities 1994 @


1994 by Daniel Lee Filipiak All Rights Reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Daniel Lee Filipiak has been approved for the Graduate School by I IJJJ ,(1!_ I r Date I


Filipiak, Daniel Lee (M.H., Humanities) The Greens and Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Natural Allies? Thesis directed by Professor Michael S .. Cummings ABSTRACT Given their. common belief in social equality and pan1c1pative governance; and the deep love and respect for nature that both profess, one would tend to consider Rousseau and the Greens comrades in the same cause. Yet today's Greens rarely mention Rousseau, and rarely cite his works. This thesis asks why the two should not be allies, in spirit if not in time, panicularly as concerns two crucial problems that deeply concern each of them. The first of these is the problem of humankind's relationship with itself, of people relating to other people in matters of social fairness and governance. The second is the problem of humanity's relationship with nature and the environment. This paper poses and then answers the question of whether, as concerns these matters, Rousseau in fact anticipated the ideas of the modem Greens. The works of two articulate and respected Green authors are analyzed in depth, and their ideas are compared to corresponding ideas from the works of Rousseau. This analysis and the associated comparison consider several factors of possible similarity, namely: their views of these problems and their approaches to resolving them; their operative principles, assumptions, and values; and the most imponant elements of their solutions. Though on the surface iv


similarities would seem to dominate, closer scrutiny uncovers profound differences between the two. These differences can be traced to fundamentally different views of the individual in community, and to basic differences as regards the role of humankind in nature's process. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed v


CONIENI'S CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1 2. 1WO GREENS 5 Murray Bookchin; Ecological Ethics 6 Kirkpatrick Sale; Gaea on the Bioregional Scale 18 3. JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU 28 4. COMPARISON 45 Views of the Problem 46 Principles, Assumptions, and Values Solutions Nature Individual and Community Society, the Social Contract Unity. Work Place Participative Governance Education 5. Sl)MMARY AND CONCLUSIONS LIST OF REFERENCES vi 49 51 51 54 56 58 59 60 61 63 65 69


CHAPrER 1 INTRODUCTION Our twentieth century has its idealistic, peaceful revolutionaries known as the Greens. Dissatisfied with the present state of affairs, the Green movement would change the world by revision of principle, value, and institution. They criticize a worldview that has become mechanistic, heartless, self-centered, and ruinously competitive They advocate a new paradigm inclusive of ecology, social responsibility, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. The eighteenth century had its intellectual revolutionary in Jean Jacques Rousseau. He would stand his Enlightenment world on its head through reversion to humankind's best and most basic faculties. Rousseau decried the unbalanced rationality of his times, the deference to op1mon rather than to conscience, and the loss. of natural goodness and simplicity. He, too, advocated a new vision, one that encompassed nature, the individual in community, pure and the common good. Natural allies? It would seem so. The Greens are prolific and articulate writers. And they have a great propensity to adapt and adopt the works of sympathetic thinkers outside their own movement. Their list of recommended readings is long, 1


if it is anything. But their list includes none of Rousseau's works. Even allusions to him are sparse and fragmentary. There is no systematic exploiting of Rousseau's writings for Green purposes; they seem to have largely ignored him. Yet, the elegance of Rousseau's written word is legendary, and his sympathies are apparent. The reader of Rousseau's works is impressed time and again by his central, recurring concerns. He speaks of balance and harmony, and he speaks of relationships; with one's self, with other individuals in shared community, and with nature. He loved nature and the natural. Not as one beholding it, separate, from an outside vantage point, but as one within it. And he loathed the artificial, the affected, and the decadent. Rousseau believed in the modest scale of human community. He advocated the closely-knit state of manageable size, one wherein direct democracy and the active involvement of each and every individual would keep society at its best. He held that the common good is consistent with the fulfilled individual, that the General Will, formed of the uncontaminated interests of compassionate people would infallibly guide and sustain the good society. In this view he may be considered utopian, but he would neither be put down nor deterred from speaking his mind by such a characterization. Perhaps the Greens discount Rousseau out of hand because they categorize him as part of the problem, not part of the solution, and especially in so far as they might lump together all names associated with the Age of Enlightenment. Such a categorization would of course ignore the fact that Rousseau was an intellectual rebel in his day. He simply did not buy into the rationalist worldview of the philosophes, frequent targets of the Greens But is it possible that Rousseau anticipated the ideas of the modem Greens? If so, in what particular ways? That question is the focus of this paper -to examine certain fundamental notions of today's Greens, and compare them against the related ideas of Rousseau. 2


Within the broad range of the Greens' and Rousseau's interests, there are two topic areas of panicular interest here. Two panicular relationships, both crucial to humankind, will be examined. Both are central to the positions and the visions of each side in our comparison. The first is the relationship of people with people; it includes the matters of social justice and political panicipation. The second relationship, just as imponant, is that between humankind and nature. While examining these areas, we will restrict our attention to the higher principles, fundamental assumptions. and the idealistic visions of the Greens and of Rousseau. Their more pragmatic methods, tactics, and programs are not of concern. The more utopian aspects of their respective positions will be of interest whether explicit and admitted, or implied. To be sure, focusing on the utopian is not preparatory to discounting such views. There is no suggestion here that utopian is synonymous with impractical or useless. Only funher analysis and appropriate inference would determine whether what is utopian on its surface would be, in fulfillment, useful, useless, or dangerous. What statements of each side will be selected for this comparison? In Rousseau's case it is only a matter of choosing from his own writings. As for the Greens, the question is not so easily answered, for there must be hundreds of writers who profess to be spokespersons for the Green movement. Most of these writers seem to focus on tactics, methods, and programs -matters not germane to this paper. Precious few write in conceptual terms that would legitimize a substantive comparison with Rousseau. An initial difficulty. then, lies in finding such writers -hopefully only one or two for purposes of crispness in the comparisonand in finding the aniculate one or two whom most Greens would acknowledge. Murray Bookchin and Kirkpatrick Sale were selected precisely because they meet these criteria. Both are respected and recognized 3


within the Green movement, both are acknowledged by other prominent Green authors, and both are on the Greens' list of recommended readings. And so we proceed to explore the ways in which Rousseau may have foretold the ideas of the Greens. The outcomes one can conceive are fascinating to consider. Do his writings in fact provide a rich source of materials for protagonists of the Green vision, or are his meandering style and his very eloquence unsuited to our sound-bite society? Are they comrades in pursuit of participative government, or is Rousseau's seemingly totalitarian side profoundly incompatible with the kind of Green libertarianism Bookchin represents? The possibilities are enticing. The first part of this paper is an examination and analysis of the Green side, that is, their fundamental concerns, principles, assumptions, and visions. This involves a close look at Bookchin's The Ecology of Freedom, and at Sales' Dwellers in the Land. Then comes a review of the related concerns and ideas of Rousseau, as taken from his principal Discourses, from The Social Contract, Emile, and The Confessions. Following these analyses, the paper takes up the comparison itself, focusing on selected corresponding ideas. This comparison is the engine that will sort out the particular elements, pro and con, of any presumed "anticipation" by Rousseau. Finally, the paper draws from the comparison and formulates a concise summary in answer to the primary question, whether or not Rousseau anticipated the ideas of the modem Greens. 4


CHAPTER2 TWO GREENS Bookchin and Sale have substantially common areas of interest, and both of them, to some degree, address the subtopics chosen for this paper. But total agreement is perhaps more scarce among the Greens than it is in almost any other identifiable movement. While both were consistently recommended by the Greens as articulate spokesmen and primary sources of Green thought, Bookchin was generally their preferred source in the domain of the social and political, and Sale was the preference with respect to the environment. Having spent considerable time with their books, I see rather substantial differences between the two in terms of their style and emphasis. Bookchin is particularly interested in presenting the carefully reasoned argument in favor of what he calls an ecological society, and he proceeds to do so after first taking pains to destroy any predisposition the reader may have against such a notion. There is a sense in his work that he is focusing on the profoundly important, but with no sense of crisis. Indeed, l:le is comfortable with the approach of advocating and encouraging what may in fact become a lengthy dialogue on the kind of society we should seek. Though Bookchin sets up his own opportunity to define his ecological society in detail, he summarily declines to do so. 5


Sale, in contrast, sees an imminent apocalypse, and gives his full attention to the immediate need to define and create new communities, based on a Green vision. His work is more honatory, less apologetic. What he seeks to leave with the reader is a clear concept of the bioregional community, and a strong commitment to making it happen. While the supponive rationale for such a community is imponant to Sale, he seems comfortable with leaving the full-fledged task of rational justification to his own sources, including Bookchin's Ecology of Freedom. Sale's particular focus provides the detailed view of communities delimited and defined by their natural characteristics. Thus, these two spokesmen for Green thought tend to complement each other. Bookchin provides the foundation of reasoned argument, and Sale CQntributes the framework of a convincing picture. Together they comprise a vision of humankind living at peace both with its own kind, and with all of nature. Murray Bookchin: Ecolosical Ethics Murray Bookchin admits to much the same concern about technology as does most any other self-respecting Green. But he makes it clear early that this book is not to be just another tirade against the scientific method. Indeed, he opens The Ecology of Freedom, with what turns out to be a son of pardoning, a shffting of blame away from technology towards a more perverse and basic cause. His greatest single concern, he says, is the evolution of domination. Nature is perhaps the most obvious victim of this domination. But Bookchin will go to great length to demonstrate that domination's greatest harm has been to the self-perceptions and the essential freedoms of 6


humanity. In the recent history of humankind, equality and the common good were sacrificed well before the environment had its turn. In point of historical fact, says Bookchin, it was two ideas in combination that irresistibly propelled the force of dominance to succeed. One of those ideas was early science's "new image of the world -a lifeless physical world composed of matter and motion" (Bookchin 223). This image included a spiritless world of inanimate and abstract matter and, by association, a de-spiritized humankind. The other idea behind dominance was what Bookchin terms the epistemology of. rule. In net effect, this is the notion that expansive volition, the human will, is too often expressed through control, domination, and hierarchy. "The imagery of modem technical design", says Bookchin, "has its origins in the epistemologies of rule" (228). Every warped society follows the dialectic of its own pathology of dominance, he says, regardless of the form of its technologies (241). An example of that pathology in the case of human society is the perversion of reason, science, and technology. These were once the precision tools with which the Enlightenment would build secular perfection; now they have become devices for the privileged and the powerful. In the domain of reason, he says, instrumental reason -that related to efficient means-has come to dominate objective reason -that related to selfless ethics and social good (270). Instrumental reason, equivalent in its most pragmatic sense to conscious rationalization, has become the driving force behind personalized ethics and modem technology. "By reducing ethics to little more than matters of opinion and taste, instrumentalism has dissolved every moral and ethical constraint over the impending catastrophe that seems to await humanity." What is more says Bookchin, . instrumentalism threatens to keep us from formulating a critical stance toward its own role in the problems it has created" (273-274). Science has deceived itself, he seems to say, and it is still living lie. It presupposed and now assumes that the orderliness of physical 7


nature is a by-product of human observation, intelligence, and the scientific method, and not an attribute of nature itself. Nature is meaningless, science seems to claim, without scientists to interpret its meaning (235). The upshot of this self-deception is that science has not developed in relation to its knowledge of nature, but only in relation to its own paradigms (288). The de-spirited concept of matter and this methodological vanity have led science well out of the richness of natural philosophy, and into the rarity of experimentally verifiable phenomena. Technology has presented us with a paradox -such high promise, such disenchanting results. Behind the disenchantment is the fact that for the most part, modem technology bas set itself outside and above any social and ethical context. Where in early societies; tools and techniques were consciously elaborated within the today there is really no one to question technology on society's behalf. At the core of our difficulties in controlling the machine, "[w]e lack a sense of the social matrix in which all technics should be embedded . (240). At one time, early in U.S. history, for example, technology had earned due respect as the means to achieve economic strength and independence among nations. It was then associated with an ethic of efficiency within a dominant context of noble democratic ideals. Eventually, however, economics itself became the dominant force. "[T]echnics no longer had to pretend that it had an ethical context; it had become the vital spark of society itself' (301). Bookchin is concerned about the joining together of instrumental reason and spiritless science. "Once regarded as the herald of the Enlightenment in all spheres of knowledge, .science is now increasingly seen as a strictly instrumental system .... Add to these two a technology that has no constraints, together with heartless dominance, and Bookchin is deeply alarmed. Together they have . become in effect, a cold, unfeeling, metaphysically grounded technics that has imperialistically expanded beyond its limited realm as a form of knowing to claim the entire realm of knowledge as such" (280). They have joined hands to 8


reinforce the mastery of human over human. This perverse combination has "produced a technocracy that now threatens to divest humanity itself -and its natural environment-of the subjectivity by which the Enlightenment had intended to illuminate the world" (286). Just as nature has been de-spiritized, we as both individuals and society have been de-natured. We are now parts of "industrial society," where the rules of the game make us the very objects that our industry most effectively controls, and disconnect us from the natural matrix so necessary to our well-being. What's more, that industrial society is ruled by a "technocracy", an authoritarian political structure no less technical, and no less unethical, than its tools and machines. Indeed, human society now suffers the same fate as does nature. "The legacy of domination" he says, "culminates in the growing together of the state and society -and with it a dissolution of the family, community, mutual aid, and social commitment", and "the dissolution of a richly organic society into an inorganic one" (139). We have been domesticated, says Bookchin, into a condition that lacks meaning and direction. Like our cattle, poultry, pets, ... crops, we too have lost our wildness in a 'pacified' world that is overly administered and highly rationalized" (279-280). This, he says, is the terrible destiny that the social world shares with the natural. As for each of us as individuals, we have suffered loss of membership in true community and the loss of our true freedoms. All that remains of those blessings in today's technocratic society is a form of individualistic independence that is no more than "the brute ideology of a pervasive and corrosive egotism" (321 ). Our modem view of the good life is conceived as "limitless consumption within the framework of a totally unethical, privatized level of self-interest" (222). Solitary selfsufficiency has displaced the ethical context of a life rich in friends, family, and organic community. In these circumstances humanity remains unsatisfied and unfulfilled. 9


Here, then, is Bookchin's one and only warning. Humanity unfulfilled is not a humanity at all, he says. And "a humanity unfulfilled is more fearsome than any living being, for it has enough of that mentality called mere 'intelligence' to assemble all the conditions for the destruction of life on the planet" (237). "We are still a curse on natural evolution," says Bookchin, "not its fulfillment." Until we come to understand our potentialities, until we become what we should be in the constellation of life, we would do well to live with a healthy fear of what we can be (238). Leaving matters mainly as they are, or working the problem at the margins, or continuing to muddle through -none of these sketchy solutions is acceptable. For Bookchin, it is imperative that the concerns he identifies and explores be resolutely addressed and resolved at their root causes. Fundamental to Bookchin's solution for these problems is the need to rid ourselves, our institutions, and our social psyches of the notion of dominance. Not just the dominance of others, but equally our dominance of nature. Once dominance is obliterated he sees every reason to hope for an enlightened future, the likes of which have no historical precedent (340). He insists that ending dominance is not at all beyond our human nature, nor is it counter to the behavioral history of humankind, provided we correctly interpret that history. Indeed, one of his key objectives, as he says, is "to rescue the legacy of freedom that the legacy of domination had sought to extirpate from the memory of humanity" (318). The particulars of his solution are multi-faceted, and they are carefully articulated and interrelated so as to expansively strengthen their collective effect. Taken as a whole, what he describes for us is a symbiotic interplay of social and natural freedoms, what Bookchin terms the ecology of freedom (319). "The point of departure for a new beginning" is the state wherein the human community achieves completeness in "uninhibited volition and self-consciousness" (36), a state that is "the most complete form of human autonomy that we can ever 10


hope to achieve" (218). But in this context he reminds us that this wonderful life "depends on the stability of the natural ecosystem in which it is always embedded" (36). In -Bookchin's ecological society, libertarian principles and institutions altogether displace authoritarian hierarchy and dominance. This change is essential in order to provide the context for illuminating the human enterprise. Libertarian social ideals value unity in diversity, spontaneity, and complementary relationships (352-353 ). Libertarian institutions and politics center on belief in the people: in the individual's competence to be a self-governing citizen; in the people's inalienable right to determine state policy; in the sacredness of direct democracy and direct action (338-339). His is a context that stresses participation, involvement, and active citizenship, not "the delegation of power, and spectatorial politics" (336). No less crucial is the infusion of libertarian approaches in order to reclaim reason, science, and technology for the good of all creatures and all creation. But there is no retribution in this reclaiming. Bookchin's concern is with the overuse and misuse of these three products of human intelligence. Indeed, applied in a soundly ethical context, reason, science, and technology become the pathways, and the tools, for attaining human freedom. Reason had become rationalism, "a cold logic for the sophisticated manipulating of human beings and nature" (268). The libertarian approach would place instrumental reason once again in the service of an objective reason concerned with ethics and social ecology (352-353). Science had become scientism, "an ideology for viewing the world as an ethically neutral essentially mechanical body to be manipulated" (268). The libertarian approach would deny science's claim to universality as the sole way of knowing (238). Libertarian science would be more than a paradigm; it would once again become the many rich sciences and philosophies that make up its own evolution, from animism to nuclear 11


physics, and it would once again "respond to the many voices emitted by natural history" (308). Technics had become modem technology, "vastly powerful instruments for asserting the authority of a technically trained, largely bureaucratic elite" (268). Libertarian technology would once again be inspired by natural arts and natural processes, and be entirely recast in "the light of ecological ethics" (346). From what had been a scourge on people and nature, technology will be reclaimed as a benign catalyst between humankind and its environment (259). And with this reclaiming of reason, science, and technology, the Enlightenment, derailed centuries ago, would begin anew, but this time soundly centered onecological ethics. Ecological ethics seems to imply that nature is to be a source of inspiration, a model, or an example for the libertarian approach. But for Bookchin, these notions imply too much separateness. To idolize or idealize nature is to miss the point. Our habitat, he says, is a form of natural conscience (303 ). Interpreted in terms of its unity in diversity, and its spontaneity, nature is a holistic model for a balanced and harmonized world. Nature, he instructs us, is the essential matrix for our ecological ethic (274-276). Nature as matrix is a context rather than a paradigm. It is the "fecund and creative reality" that objectifies ethical meaning (278). Nature's unity in diversity evokes a logic of unity between the "I" and the "other" that recognizes the stabilizing and integrative function of diversity -of a cosmos of others that can be comprehended and integrated symbiotically" (306). In its essence, then, nature is not a system apart from us that we ought to respect from afar. It is an inclusive process that we should join. And if nature's process is evolving, the ecological ethic will only lead us to serve that evolution, and not impede it (342). Having nature as matrix for its ethics, this ecological society will accordingly be in its viewpoint. Just as all of nature's creatures and creation are at once interrelated and interdependent, so this society 12


will have holistic ends. Likewise, just as nature is at the same time ever evolving, so will this society have holistic means. The most crucial example of holistic means, as Bookchin sees the matter, is the re-naturing of technology, and not its exclusion, as some would advocate. Bookchin's collective humankind has moved forever beyond the stage of Noble Savage. Myth, poetry, and imagination on their own are inadequate to the challenges we face. "Poetry and imagination must be integrated with science and technology", he insists, "for we have evolved beyond the innocence that can be nourished exclusively by myths and dreams." On the other hand, neither are science and technology sufficient on their own. Says Bookchin, "to assume that science commands this vast nexus of organic and inorganic relationships in all its details is worse than arrogance: it is sheer stupidity" (25). He advocates as society's model the Hellenic concept of technology -as existing within a social and ethical context that we today would consider an organic whole, "an enchanted synthesis of creative ability," a synthesis of natural materials, an artful process, and a culture (231). Indeed, myth and animism have their fitting roles in this holistic picture. Crucial roles, inspiring roles -balancing roles that moderate and offset the more rigidly procedural aspects of science and technology. Today, he says, our design imagination is too often utilitarian, and blind to a vast domain of experience and that surrounds us (264 ). Bookchin believes that ceremony and myth . may serve to inculcate a human respect for nature and cause people to cherish its bounty as more than exploitable resources" (234). He sees these more emotional elements of the holistic scheme as inherently, albeit differently, logical in their own right; . it is the hints of a more complete logic -a logic possibly complementary to that of science, but certainly a more organic logic that render the animistic imagination invaluable to the modem mind" (237). This inclusion of alternative logic is not just a crumb thrown to the more primitivist elements of society. Indeed, Bookchin implies that this alternative logic is perhaps a higher form than the purely rational. 13


There is nothing primitive about alternative, organic views of causality, he says, "On the contrary, it may be too sophisticated and demanding for the mechanically oriented mind to comprehend" (238). What Bookchin has in mind, then, is for humankind to reinstate nature as our holistic ethical environment, re-start the Enlightenment in its highest sense, and re-enter natural evolution. "After some ten millenia of a very ambiguous social evolution, we must reenter natural evolution again ... to recover our own fecundity in the world of life" (315). It is not for us to wrestle with nature, but to coax it along from within (320). This reentering into evolution he characterizes as "no less a humanization of nature than a naturalization of humanity" (315). And with this characterization is the first hint that we're not just another species in the physical give-and-take of nature. Bookchin develops this distinction further. "Humanity, as a part of natural history has the intrinsic right to participate in it. As a unique agent of consciousness, humanity can provide the voice of nature's internal rationality in the form of thought and self-reflective action" (307). Our obligation to re nature technology, he says, ... does not conflict with humanity's right to interfere in the natural world, to do even better than blind nature in fostering variety and natural fecundity" [emphasis mine] (268). Apparently anticipating objection from the deep-ecology types, he defends this position; "Actually, the ability to manipulate nature and to function actively in natural and social history is a desideratum, not an evil. But human activity is expected to occur within an ethical context of virtue, not a value-free context of utility and efficiency" (307). He even goes so far as to say that our perceived self-reflective uniqueness levies unique ethical responsibilities on the human species (365). We may want to agree with Bookchin here, but at the same time we must wonder how he can take his ethic from the matrix of nature, and, at the same time ethically alter that matrix. 14


As seen from the individual's perspective, Bookchin's society offers participation through social citizenship and through labor (339). His notion of democracy presumes that everyone will participate, but it forces nothing. It places highest policy directly into the hands of the people, but it sets no quorum. This society values and encourages diversity and spontaneity. Its culture guides and constrains its _technologies, ensuring in the process that a person's labor can intrinsically satisfy needs for self-expression and self-actualization. Bookchin's society gives its individuals the freedom to choose, and meet, their own needs. Here will is expressed in artistic imagination and creativity, not in dominance. that creativity is inspired by . the free flowing realm of ethics" And (322). And at this point, Bookchin entrusts the rest of the solution to us -more specifically, to our own creative imaginations. As he does so he leaves us with two things; one consists of the broad elements of his preferred communal style of ecological society, the other is his advocacy of an "energetic utopian dialogue" (334). Though, true to his claim, this book does not contain a concrete and dynamic description of his utopian vision, it is nonetheless a heartfelt plea for utopian dialogue -now, not later-as a vital and continuing public event (325). Bookchin is clear and emphatic in distinguishing between futurist and utopian thinking. He is against the sort of futurist approach that simply extrapolates from the features and perceived trends of the present. For Bookchin, that spells doom. It would be the most egregious error to project the present system into the future in any terms. We must be more imaginative, he insists, especially in "this confluence of social and ecological crisis" (40). It is incumbent on us that we now break clean from authoritarian approaches, and pursue the libertarian. To do otherwise. would place all of nature, and us, in grave peril (334). He will tolerate none of the popularized American utopias that are steeped in "monumental technocratic images . power, . mastery of nature, gigantism, ... and mobility" (219). Nor will he accept any vision that implies the continuing perversion of work. 15


True to form, Bookchin has a particular son of utopia in mind -a holistic one. One whose concept of humankind holds that people and society are not machines and are not to be mechanized. "What marked the great utopians was not their lack of realism, but their sensuousness, their passion for the concrete, their adoration of desire and pleasure . (325). The ultimate vision of society should express humankind in its fullest self-expression. This is the ecological way; to let each participant in the scheme of nature be its fullest possibility. This is not hedonism, it is freedom. As Bookchin says, it is precisely in this utopistic quest for pleasure, I believe, that humanity begins to gain its most sparkling glimpse of emancipation" (9). Bookchin prefers Fourier's utopian vision, and proffers it as especially rich in its applicability to the present problem. For Bookchin, it has elements that ought to be considered guidance, an initial sketch, for the energetic public dialogue he seeks.. The aspects of Fourier's vision that Bookchin particularly favors read like a synopsis of his own ecological society. It is a community where rich diversity yields resilience, balance and unity, and where there is equality among the unequal. Social freedom is linked to personal freedom, to an individual's freedom to choose and to will. The ethic of self-denial is rejected here, as is the supposition that reason is supreme over the passions. And technological development provides for all in a civilization congenial to the ecological ethic. As further guidance, he defines four cardinal qualities he would have in his ideal society. It would be more comprehensible to its citizenry, more human in scale and decency. It would be more firmly formed in character. And it would be more self-regulating in matters of personal and social concern (334 ). And with this as an exhortation, Bookchin leaves us to imagine, to debate, and to determine our own utopia, one that could well be the natural culmination of an evolved ecological society. It is to be an unending dialogue, one that is both end and means. 16


Before moving on to Kirkpatrick Sale's more deliberate portrayal of the bioregional community, a brief comment on Bookchin's Ecology of Freedom is in order. An important assumption Bookchin makes is that humankind can never return to being a noble savage; that we have irreversibly evolved beyond an innocence that could do without technology. Tending to balance what seems cast as a permanent dependence on technology is his assumption that nature is bountiful, and not stingy as our stingy elites would suggest (Bookchin 321). The false perception of a nature that stands in opposition to our well-being has legitimized an attitude of strife (365). An assumption of his that seems especially susceptible to misinterpretation and misuse is that humankind is the sole self-conscious participant in nature, and that this unique characteristic establishes our species as singularly qualified to act on nature's behalf. Such action in tum presupposes that we could ever achieve a profound, holistic understanding of and within nature, and it presupposes as well that we could -and indeed would-decide and act consistently for the good of nature in the grandest sense. Perhaps more likely. given our obsession with our own species. would be actions based on predominantly anthropocentric means and ends. His set of interrelated assumptions seems somewhat more benign, but otherwise is essentially the same as today's more patently instrumental rationale. An assumption key to his vision is the validity of the three libertarian premises mentioned above: that individuals are competent to goveni themselves; that all policy is to be decided by the people; and that direct democracy and direct action are essential. Bookchin admits no fear that these principles of popular sovereignty, if left unconstrained, might lead to a dominant tyranny of the majority. Beyond all these assumptions, there is his faith in mankind's creative imagination. And beyond his libertarian premises, there is his implicit belief -a belief in itself idealistic-that a sincere utopian dialog can make a substantive utopian difference. 17


Kirkpatrick Sale: Gaea on the Bioregional Scale Kirkpatrick Sale is certainly no intellectual clone of Bookchin. And though we choose for purposes of this paper to concentrate in particular on his notion of the bioregional community.. Sale has a distinctive spin in some of his underlying premises. Besides being a disservice to Sale, it would be a disservice to our comparisons to skip over his analysis and his explanations. In his Dwellers in the Land, Sale _expressly acknowledges Bookchin's Ecology of Freedom. He acknowledges it both for the notion that dominance within humanity feeds dominance over nature, and for the notion that nature itself manifests no such dominance, only symbiosis. Sale agrees on these points without qualification. But Sale tends to be less sweeping than Bookchin. True to his membership in the Schumacher Society ("Small is Beautiful") he scales down both the global holism and the presumptuous anthropocentrism of Bookchin. By coming down from the society of everywhere to the community of the bioregion, he renders our institutions manageable. By narrowing our domain of experience and necessity from the ecology of the whole world to the nature of our own bioregion, he renders our ability to comprehend it credible. And by blending human compassion with Bookchin's intricate, albeit ecological, science, Sale enriches and .softens Bookchin's somewhat haughty anthropocentrism, suggesting speciate humility and offering a new definition of 'fittest' in its place. Sale would have us believe in and honor the Gaea concept, but cautions us lest any individual presume the ability to truly comprehend Gaea's process. Perhaps together, perhaps by adopting permanence of 18


place, perhaps by viewing ourselves more as participants than as observers, we can come to understand a particular bioregion, but no more. Sale's concerns center on cultures that have grown "too large and distended." Their decadence, their exploitation and dominance of nature, and their style of living far beyond the sustainable carrying capacity of natural environments tend to draw down and exhaust nature's vitality. Overgrown urban centers dominate the countrysides politically, socially, economically, -and destructively. They become more involved with preserving unsustainable preferences than preserving irreplaceable ecosystems. Sale frames his solution with the Gaea concept -the grand organic symbiosis, the demhirge and mistress of evolution, the synthesis of the mystical with the rational. Gaea is the earth alive, organized, and self. contained, and it is the earth smoothly changing according to a progression we can only respect, but never know (Sale 3, 176). Gaea is both a belief and an inspiration, helping to shape key aspects of Sale's bioregional community. Out of this notion comes what Sale calls the ecological worldview. It extols knowledge of natural limits and restraint, and the appreciation of natural realities (4). And it sees no separation of self from the Gaean world. In its political aspect, this worldview envisages a society "based on [ecological] laws, on the evident workings of the biotic world," that would not celebrate centralized coordination, hierarchical efficiency, and monolithic strength . but rather decentralization, interdependence, and diversity" (90). According to Sale, it is in the participative and purposeful study of nature that we find the best models and guidance for restructuring today's societies into tomorrow's bioregional world (49). What is more, this study will be a soulful endeavor, for our best urges arise in our own souls as an emanation of the Gaean spirit ... "speaking directly to us as dwellers in the land" (41). The ecological worldview advocated by Sale is a loose assemblage of bioregional communities. These are not "artificial states" but "natural 19


regions . defined by the givens of nature . and by the human settlements and cultures those attributes have given rise to" (69). And while those cultures are as different as their natural givens, they are alike in several essential ways. Their respective peoples know their land, know its possibilities, and develop only within its natural potentials. Their developments are constrained by necessity, by the principles of ecology, and by "speciate humility". They have realized regional selfreliance -community, not rugged individualism. They have liberated the individual from the institutional constraints of industrial societies. And they have developed a natural connectedness; they are rooted in their bioregion (preface, 43-47). Sale goes on to fully explain the fundamental principles of his bioregional community. These principles are themselves interconnected, by means of a self-consistent scheme he calls the bioregional paradigm. It incorporates the principles of scale, economy, polity, and society. Perhaps the pivotal principle among these is that of scale. Without properly constrained scale, all other good effects are unachievable, or at least unsustainable. Sale does not envision anything like today's extensive nation-states. He sees large cities as parasites, and he is even more opposed to anything approaching a global community. Visions such as these, he insists, exceed our faculties to comprehend, and to remain connected. "[T]he human animal, being small and limited, has only a small view of the world and a limited comprehension of how to act within it" (53). By our consciously limiting community to the right scale -to the naturally self-defining bioregion-"human potential is unleashed, human comprehension magnified, human accomplishment multiplied" (55). Modest scale suits and nurtures human potentials. Especially important to matters of peace and the common good, scale is a determinant of values and responsible behavior. Citizens of the well-proportioned society will behave well, because they readily can see the effects of their own actions. Feedback is immediate and direct. In Sale's view, scale precludes or. solves 20


in the everyday domain many of those "abstract and theoretical problems philosophers dither themselves into knots over" (32). As to the matter of determining the proper scale, that is of determining the appropriate bioregional boundaries, this is to be left to the inhabitants of the area, the "dwellers in the land". They will know best, ". . providing only that they have undenaken the job of honing their bioregional sensibilities and making acute their bioregional consciousness" (59). The economy of the bioregion would be characterized by stability, cooperation, self-sufficiency, and conservation. Gone would be contrived change, cold competition, the so-called world economy, and exploitation. An appropriate bioregional economy "would seek first to maintain rather than use up the natural world, to adapt to the environment rather than . manipulate it, to conserve not only resources but also the relationships and systems of the natural world ... (69). Political ideals would be based on Gaean concepts and on the evident working of the biotic world; decentralization, interdependence and complementarity, and diversity. Nothing is more apparent in the natural world, he points out, than the absence of centralized control. There is no species domination. Even the most successful pradators seek only food, "and not power, governance, or sovereignty" (91). So too in the bioregional community. There will be no political hierarchy, and no domination. "[S]ystems of ruler-and-ruled, even of elected-president-andelecting-people, are non-ecological." All citizens would be equally responsible and equally accountable in the polity of the community. Those taking on special functions would be only temporarily empowered to perform roles deemed necessary to the community as a whole. Political power, "if it can be found and named at all" rests only with the totality of the citizenry (101). Such a community of complementarity evenly distributes its political power -so evenly that power as such becomes inconspicuous. It just as evenly allocates political responsibility, but the effect in this regard is anything but subtle. Every citizen is asked, and 21


expected, to be involved in political debate and decisions. For, . where there is no one decision-maker, decision making must be shared and assumed by everyone" (101). It is the diversity of this egalitarian community that underpins its collective political wisdom, and guarantees its ability to perceive and adjust to new circumstances (105). Good government is r_ninimalist government. It is even less than that. In the spirit of LaoTzu, the best government is none at all (89). In the domain of society, the bioregi<;mal paradigm advocates symbiosis, evolution, and difference. These are in contrast to what Sale sees as the polarization, violent growth, and monoculture that characterize industrial societies. Symbiosis, he says, is the model for interpersonal relations; "collaboration and exchange, cooperation and mutual benefit." On the bioregional scale, symbiosis balances and enriches the relationship between city and country, "between the urban machine and the rural inflorescence" (113-114 ). The country is the locus of earthy essence and traditions, ensuring that Gaean values are preserved in full flower, and providing a reminder and a respite for the urban population (115). As Sale sees the need, the overgrown megalopolis must be divided up and dispersed, each city made to be as rooted in nature as the farm village, once more integrating into every urban process a total understanding of ecological principles (116). Sale's bioregional society would be wary of change for change's sake, seeking instead a gradualism, akin to natural evolution; a process that would not upset their treasured stability. To do otherwise would be anti-ecological (119). The texture of its progress would be pleasingly smooth. The texture of its peoples,. on the other hand, would be a more coarse fabric, intentionally varied and stimulating. And all of its peoples would share in the ultimate wisdom of the bioregion -its holism, its diversity, and its clear lesson as to the connectedness of all things in the web of life (174). All of its peoples, the dwellers in its land, would have a profound sense of place. 22


Just as each bioregion would be a distinct blend of nature's a variety that would include some scarcities and some abundances, so would each community become a unique adaptation. But, by means of its own adaptations, each would be self-sufficient. Each community would exist within the living web of nature. Within, and not upon. If modest scale .is Sale's first law of bioregionalism, the web of life is his second. He views the biotic community as the "basic building block of the ecological world; . an essentially self-suffiCient and self-perpetuating collection of different species that have adapted as a whole to the conditions of their habitat" (62). As. it penains to human communities, the web of life defines our place and role with respect to each other, and with respect to all the rest of animate and inanimate nature. Every bioregional web, Sale has within it sufficient means and resources to provide a stable and satisfying life for all its panicipants (75). Every community can be self-sufficient, provided it acknowledge that nature and need alone will define sufficiency, not wants and whims. Indeed, any other approach to perceived self-sufficiency, especially the more anthropocentric, can yield only a temporary, unsustainable, and self-defeating result. A self-sufficiency that is founded within the bioregion's web of life will guarantee full and fully-.sustainable selfempowerment, self-regulation, and self-reliance (73). On the level of daily life, self-sufficiency will bless us with economic stability, independence, true enrichment, health, willing cooperation, and a freedom to care (79). Key to defining and achieving the bioregional vision, Sale believes that industrial people must be broadly and persuasively educated. This education must make them realize . "that it is not the bioregional task that is irrelevant but precisely the business-as-usual politics of all the major panies of all the major industrial nations, not one of which has made the ecological solution a significant priority . (48). This will require a rethinking of premises, but cenainly no new technologies. It is a matter of rediscovering and relearning what people have known and 23


chosen to leave behind (178). Given a new sense of what Sale calls "speciate humility" we can choose our place and rejoin nature's web of life. Sale seems to envision a new Eden. One for humankind after The Fall, where we would become as good as we can be, within the embrace of blessed nature. He assumes that a vision such as this is the basic and common urge of all people --even though some of them are rarely in touch with that urge. The basic idea of region, be asserts, is now a matter of common consciousness (165). What is more, this vision does not require any "fantastic alterations of nature as it is or people-as-they-are." There is no need for a new socialist man and woman (178). There is only the need for education -to change cold, dead-ended scientism into rich, renewable bioregionalism. There is simply the proviso that humankind be committed to educating itself, honing its bioregional sensibilities, and focusing its bioregional consciousness (61). Though he acknowledges that the capacity of the human brain is limited, he still assumes that we can understand nature and know how to adopt it as the singular, essential model for every important element of the bioregional paradigm. Combine these assumptions, match them with what Sale considers "mankind's restless quest" and you have the makings of bioregionalism. It is. a grand vision, but one weakened by its basis in some very precarious assumptions. Sale seems to want to avoid getting sidetracked in discussions of the utopian. His only explicit mention of such notions is to defend his vision against those who call it utopian as a dismissal. Some might indeed consider all of this utopian, he explains, but a utopia is a design for tomorrow, and that design is needed now (164). Given his acknowledgement that there just may be something utopian in Sale's bioregionalism, it is left to his audience to try and determine what that might be. It is implicitly utopian to declare as he does that bioregional sensibilities and consciousness will in themselves become or define so many solutions to so many ills. That under the bioregional paradigm, the 24


search for personal advantage and the us-versus-them mentality will fade to insignificance, and that cultural homogeneity will prevail (97). It is implicitly utopian to imagine that human creativity will come .to apply itself towards only the betterment of society and nature (110). It is utopian to envision worthwhile "systems. that will work even if the people in them are not good" (109). It is likewise utopian, to envision a social order that is enforced solely by social and ecological pressures (109). It is wishful if not utopian to believe that similar problems in separate bioregions will promote cooperative problem-solving. And it is beautiful beyond belief that society will come to view the fittest as the one who most helps others to survive (113). Sale's solution to the pTessures of growth within any given bioregic;m is both inconsistent with his paradigm, and false in its underlying presumption. It is inconsistent because overgrowth is inconsistent with the reality of natural constraints, and inconsistent as well with the notion of stability and symbiosis. More fundamentally, growth by segmentation. and colonization which he advocates ( 129-131 ), presumes an unlimited commons. It is precisely this presumption that has gotten industrial societies in the deep trouble he has just described to us. There we have our two Greens. While Sale insists on the small scale, Bookchin asserts that the dimensions of a society matter very little. Sale sets limits to humankind's ability to comprehend earth processes, while Bookchin boldly asserts that collectively we can come to know all that matters to us. Would it not be better for the purposes of this paper there were no such differences? Perhaps, but differences such as these are only in keeping with the best traditions of the Green movement. There is a fascinating similarity between the times of the Greens and the times of Rousseau. He is of the early French Enlightenment, when men let themselves believe in dreams they thought realizable through the new scientific approach, through discovery, by means of 25


man's limitless rational powers, and ultimately by the very perfectibility of humankind. The religion of the intellectuals of his day was a sort of compromise with traditional Christianity, taking the form of Deism. God was the divine mechanic, the creator who was little involved in sustaining his creation, and even less involved with answering the prayers of the faithful. It was a time when the mystical was seen as simple, ignorant superstition. It was early in what has become our own age of materialism as a philosophy of living. It was an age of servitude and poverty on the one hand, and unlimited authority and wealth on the other. It was an age of idealism, but an age when idealists such as Voltaire :were willing to tolerate authoritarian monarchy as acceptable means if they believed it would lead to desirable ends. It was still early in the time of humankind's accelerating conquest of nature. A time when great areas of the earth were still unconquered. It was around the time when some Europeans found the native Americans to be less-than--noble savages; and around the time when their lands were declared a new unlimited commons for European taking. In more than one way the Enlightenment was parent to our present era of science and technology, and Rousseau was perhaps the first prophet against its dark side. Yet there are differences between his age and our own. Withouf doubt, Rousseau felt the menace of science's methods and foresaw its growing dominance over culture. Yet his fears were more general than specific. From his vantage point in history, he could have foreseen neither the particular discoveries of our science, nor its egregious failings. He could not have seen how fast the commons would be exhausted; nor how ruthless people would be in taming the earth. And he could not have seen the population explosion that followed his times. These things were impossible for him to foresee, and so he did not focus on them in his writings, as the Greens have had clear reason to do. 26


But there was a great deal that Rousseau saw in the spirit of his times that caused him deep concern -for all of humanity. And it is those concerns, along with his values and vision, that we take up now. 27


CHAPrER3 JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU Rousseau's essential principles and values are based in the love of nature and deep respect for natural growth and composition. They include a humankind of self-sufficient, self-fulfilled individuals; each with compassion as balance to self-interest. Each with a healthy distaste for the artificial and the decadent. They include a humankind brought together in mutual commitment -even subservience-to the common good. Rousseau's community depends on the dedicated involvement of its people and on their earnest and direct participation in legislative processes. And the well-being of this community, the effectiveness of its legislative processes, and other matters of good governance depend profoundly on its being of manageable size, and of essentially a single will. Society, and a perverse streak in each of us, remain the original and continuing causes of inequality, as Rousseau sees the matter. And only by the principled re-forming of both individuals and communities can inequality be vanquished. His reform is keyed to relationships. First and foremost, it involves the relationship of people with nature, and with real necessity. No less, it involves the interpersonal relationship -the personal relationship one ought to establish with onesself, with other individuals, and with one's community. 28


The faculties nature has given to humankind are the only reliable bases for our satisfaction and happiness. When desires exceed our natural capabilities, -when our wants are perceived as our needs-true happiness ceases. Balance is the issue here, and concerning this balance, Rousseau says; "It is thus that nature, which does everything for the best constituted him in the beginning. It gives him ... only the desires necessary to his preservation, and the faculties sufficient to satisfy them" (Emile 80). In nature, and in his natural state, manl is grounded and whole; he is competent, confident, and at peace with himself and his surroundings. In nature, in the natural state, we are also at peace with the rest of humankind. For then the keen instinct for self-preservation is balanced by the deeply felt sense of compassion. We have all changed, says Rousseau. We have left nature for the cities. We have become sociable, and in the process become slaves to our artificial needs. We are grown "weak, timid, and servile" in our new way of life (Emile 57). Our natural selves have vanished by degrees" (Ori of Ineq\lality 115). Obviously, Rousseau sees nature as the prime nurturing and corrective prerequisite for a humankind that is both satisfied in its individuals and at peace in its societies. In nature are freedom, self-sufficiency, and holistic fitness. In nature, we were wild, not wicked. Passions were not problematic; they even served our natural best interests. Indeed, as Rousseau said, "Our natural passions are very limited. They are the instruments of our freedom; they tend to preserve us. All those which subject us and destroy us come from elsewhere" (Emile 212). What makes people wicked, he .says is to have unnatural passions, many needs, and to depend on opinion (214). Freedom is based in self-sufficiency, and in sustaining the natural connections, values, and balances. This is one of the basic messages in Rousseau uses gender-specific terms throughout his works. 29


Emile. "Freedom is found in no form of government; it is in the heart of a free man. He takes it with him everywhere." "For the wise man [nature's laws] take the place of positive law. They are written in the depth of his heart" (Emile 473). It is impossible, says Rousseau, to make a man a slave unless he is first reduced to dependency (Ori&in of Inequality 81). To be free is to be independent of the opinions and approvals of others. Nature instructs us in what matters and in what is worthy of our concerns. Seeking the approval of others is an endless and unfulfilling search. Finding one's best fit in the natural domain is immediately, and forever, more deeply satisfying. Rousseau's good student Emile will take his lessons from nature, and not from people. Besides the good instincts of self-preservation and compassion, nature .has also given humankind sound guidance in the forms of intuition and conscience. These must guide us no less than our rational faculties. Intuition, conscience, passion, reason, pity, and selfpreservation -all of these are gifts of nature. Together, in balance, they assure us self-sufficiency as individuals, and mutual fairness as members of society. Rousseau is staunchly against the dominance granted to reason. For him, reason in and of itself is too handy, too mischievous, and too easily subverted. It is as well too overblown. The human race would have perished long ago had its preservation depended only on reason. Reason can also be perverse, for it is reason that engenders amour pro pre, he says, and reflection that confirms it. Reason can be perverse even to the ultimate in self-centered utilitarianism; "it is philosophy that isolates [man] and bids him say 'Perish if you will, I am secure"' (Ori&in of Inequality 75). What he advocates instead seems to be a son of holistic enlightenment that comes from the voice of nature (46). The uncivilized and natural individual is always ready to obey the co.mpassionate promptings of humanity (75). Nature speaks in a language that is intelligible to all minds, Rousseau says, and no one can be excused from hearing (Em i I e 307). And 30


this language is certainly not the dialect of reason alone. Indeed, in our earliest consciousness and memory, it is not reason that we recall, not reason that forms us, it is our feelings. "I felt before I thought: which is the common lot of man" (ConfesSions 19). Not only is this early voice something other than reason, something based in feeling rather than logic, this natural voice is profoundly steady and benign. "I have only one faithful guide on which I can count; the succession of feelings which have. marked the development of my being. . I cannot go wrong about what I have felt, or about what my feelings have led me to" (262). What's more, this steady voice of nature speaks clearly to all of us in the discerning of right from wrong. In its highest form this voice is conscience. Says Rousseau, . he who follows conscience obeys nature and does not fear being led astray" (Emile 287). Conscience is the natural casuist, an innate principle of justice and virtue. Conscience speaks clearly and directly to each of us, without subtlety. And, says Rousseau, "it is only when one haggles with it that one has recourse to the subtleties of reason (286). Rousseau is perhaps most intense in his condemnation of Enlightenment science. He is brutally clear. Science is, he warns us, a futile artiflce, a feeble interpretation of the richness of nature, a misuse of the nature's sacred order, and a plague on humanity. "If our sciences are futile in the objects they propose, they are even more dangerous in the effects they produce." Effects that include useless citizens, pernicious persons, and the irreparable loss of time (Arts and Sciences 16). Effects that include as well the destructive erosion of our culture. Says Rousseau; . these vain and futile declaimers armed with their fatal paradoxes, sap the. foundations of our faith, and nullify virtue. [They] consecrate their talents and philosophy to the destruction and defamation of all that men hold sacred" (17). The sciences (and the arts as well), Rousseau says, have their birth in our vices. Superstition, ambition, avarice, falsehood, and idle curiosity -all these contribute to the nurturing and expansion of science. Though 31


naturally good, man has a perverse streak. And science is the child of that perversion. Not only is science the child of our perversion, but, as an instrument, it becomes as well the parent of still more ill effect. Given this vicious spiral, Rousseau is grateful that we are not born with innate knowledge of the sciences (Arts and Sciences 14-15). Nature is secretive, says Rousseau, and rightly so. She is protective of her domain for her own sake, and even more for the sake of humankind. Nature's secrets are sacred. Knowledge of nature's secrets is apt to be dangerous in our meddling hands. "Let [men] know that all the secrets [nature] hides are so many evils from which she protects them" (Arts and Sciences 14). Rousseau observes that nature was not satisfied with simply establishing order, but took further measures so that nothing could disturb that order. The insurmountable barrier nature has set between the various species demonstrates this protective intent (Em i1 e 276). Humankind shows its utter lack of prudence whenever it chooses to disturb the order of nature and "to wring from it involuntary produce, which it gives reluctantly and with its curse" (Emile 346). We must study nature not to abuse it but to avoid misusing it. [I]t is always from nature itself that the proper instruments to regulate nature must be drawn" (327). The science of the times, says Rousseau, is based on conjured-up abstractions, on unnatural observation, and on the separation/isolation of the subject from its rich environment. Linnaeus has studied too many dried plants, and not enough of nature herself (Confessions 593). The particular science of medicine is, for Rousseau, the ultimate example of the adverse effects of science on both the individual and the culture of a community. Medicine's so-called cure is worse than the disease. "[I] do not know of what illness they cure us, but I do know that they give us quite fatal ones: cowardice, pusillanimity, credulousness, terror of death" (Emile 54). Better, he says, to live according to nature, for "You will not avoid death, but you will feel it only once" (82). Better to consult your 32


true friends than to place your faith in science's medicine (Confessions 213). And not only was science disrupting to what remained of Rousseau's contemporary culture, it was also instrumental in the earliest technological origins of social inequality. It was the primitive forms of metallurgy and agriculture, in the hands of the more clever and ingenious, that helped establish and solidify the earliest social gap (Orisin of Inequality 92-94). It is, at least in part, the abuse of books that has killed science. The neophyte reader of science deceives himself. "Believing that we know what we have read, we believe that we can dispense with learning it. And besides, too much book-learning only serves to produce presumptuous ignoramuses (Emile 450). "I hate books", he says. "They only teach one to talk about what one does not know" (184). Better the judgment of the person with limited intelligence who spends a lifetime of practical learning, than that of the brilliant individual whose knowledge is solely derived from abstract scientific principles (Confessions 268). Nations that have avoided useless knowledge have become "happy in themselves and afforded an example to the rest of the world" (Arts and Sciences 90. And such nations tend to be those closest to nature. Says Rousseau, "there are certainly more errors in the Academy of Sciences than in the whole nation of Hurons" (Emile 204). The closer peoples and nations are to nature, the more their character is dominated by goodness. "It is only by closing themselves up in cities and corrupting themselves by means of culture that they become depraved" (Emile 469). Nature impresses itself upon the communities of humankind. It's effects are irresistible. Indeed, the very climates and surroundings of a people will inevitably influence both the values of its individuals, the framework of its customs, and its form of government (Social Contract 251). When called upon to draft a constitution for Corsica, Rousseau knew that he first had to be there, live there, long enough to 33


comprehend all of nature's local circumstances, "the people to be legislated for, the soil they inhabited ... (Confessions 579). Rousseau is especially critical of the urban scene. "Men are made not to be crowded into anthills but to be dispersed over the earth which they should cultivate. The more they come together, the more they are corrupted. The infirmities of the body as well as the vices of the soul, are the unfailing effect of this overcrowding" (Emile 59). Big cities tend to exhaust a state and cause its weakness. Some cities, like eighteenth century Paris, have gone beyond just becoming un-natural, they have in fact become ugly. And that ugliness produces its own inharmonious and confused effect on its inhabitants. It results in a pervasive feeling of anger and disappointment (Confessions 243). Go to the provinces if you want to find humankind at its best. Ir is in Jhe provinces that the inhabitants move around less, change fortune and status less, and thereby become bonded with the locality. It is in the provinces that one can most surely avoid the overall dulling effects of mankinds tools. Go to the provinces "in order to study the genius and morals of a nation" (Emile 468). Not that we are to disperse ourselves so much that we live as disconnected individuals. Living altogether alone is sadness, and living in community is a pleasure (Confessions 559). Humankind has left its original state of nature, and we are thereby no longer either able or willing to live in pristine isolation. We are now naturally communal. So "Let us form a society . and let each apply himself, for himself and for the others, to the kind of occupation that suits him best. Each will profit from the talents of others That is the apparent principle of all ou.r institutions" (Emile 193). That principle, in the context Rousseau has assembled, is one of self-fulfillment, within the community and in the embrace of nature. In community "our common needs unite us by interest, our common miseries unite us by affection" (221). It is not individuality that is the end objective here, but the common well-being of those individuals who choose to form their own society. And this is 34


altogether consistent with Rousseau's highest visions for individuality, for, as he says "the good man orders himself in relation to the whole, and the wicked one orders the whole in relation to himself' (292). The more a person's cares are consecrated to the happiness of others, the more all involved will be enlightened and wise, and the less any person will be deceived about what is good and bad (252). It is clear that Rousseau saw nature as humankind's mother, cradle, teacher, and life-long conscience. Yet she has left us on our own as to matters of society and governance. "[I]t may be at least inferred from the little care which nature has taken to unite mankind by mutual wants, he says, . that she has contributed little to make them sociable, and has put little of her own into all they have done to create such bonds of union" (Origin of Inequality 70). Therein lies the task left substantially. to us; to determine the best values and institutions to underpin our relationships with each other. At iSS!le here, in the most basic sense, are the matters of inequality, and social contract. Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality is a study into the life of pre-societal peoples, with the purpose of discovering the earliest beginnings of inequality and determining how inequality then came to be incorporated and, in effect, institutionalized in society. He is insistent that such an endeavor as. this study must not be based only on what has been written by philosophers about the ills of society, for such works typically focus too late in our chronology. What one will conclude from a proper approach such as his is that mankind's ills are essentially selfimposed. On the level of the physical, people are and have always been essentially, but not absolutely, equal one to another. It is on the level of the political that inequality has become so pronounced and problematic. Rousseau says that natural man has but two driving instincts, that of self-preservation, and that of compassion. Pre-societal man does not operate and survive by the use of reason. What he learns, he learns because of immediate necessity. Nature and raw circumstance are his 35


teachers. He is empiricist, not rationalist. In this way, in so far as he survives, he becomes a self-sufficient part of nature itself. Natural man is independent, self-confident, resourceful, whole, and unafraid. Social man is another sort of creature. He is disconnected from nature, and withdrawn into his own reason. He is given to reflection, and caught in his own imagination. He has been perversely tripped up by a fundamental flaw, the notion of his own perfectibility. This, according to Rousseau, is the source of human misfortunes. It draws people out of their original state, wherein they had found peace and innocence, and it drives both their discoveries and their errors, their virtues and their vices. In the end the notion of perfectibility makes man a "tyrant over both himself and nature" (Origin of Inequality 60). Nature did not nurture these ideas in humankind; it is society, shaped by such notions as perfectibility, that has caused our misery. The two natural instincts of self-preservation and compassion would have tended to balance the proper interests of self and other. As it happened, however, reason, the primary means societal peoples adopted to achieve perfection, created and nurtured amour propre, and instituted a system of philosophy that effectively rationalized and justified an uncaring isolation from their fellow creatures. Thus, others became primarily the means to gain esteem and comparative advantage. Making comparisons, seeking the esteem of others, and what became dependence on the opinion of others comprised, according to Rousseau, the first step towards inequality. Together, they reflect a state of dependence that natural man had. never experienced. "[T]he savage lives within himself; social man .. only knows how to live in the opinion of others" (116). The next reagent in the formula for inequality was ownership of property. The real founder of society, Rousseau asserts, was the first one who enclosed a piece of ground, declared it his own, and . found people simple enough to believe him" (84). Following the lead of Locke, Rousseau accepts the labor theory of property/ownership, provided that each person takes no more than is needed for his own maintenance (98). 36


True, he questions the ethics of the so-called right of first seizure, but he quickly drops his complaint and acknowledges it as accomplished fact. Having accepted essential Lockean principles, propertied inequality was the unavoidable outcome. Over time, differences in abilities, strength, and know-how in the use of tools brought about ever more pronounced differences in the amount of property owned. And with such inequities came the first adverse social effects -rivalry, competition, and conflicting interests (96). Inequality became fact. Differences that had been insignificant in the state of nature had become, in the society based on property, the levers and force multipliers of inequality. And those who had thus come to hold the advantage sought then the means to secure that advantage forever. The propertied few advocated laws and institutions ". . as .favorable to themselves as the law of nature was unfavorable" (98). Inequality was made law. Inequality, then, is not the fault of nature. "[N]ature does not make princes, rich men, or great lords" (Emile 194). It is the result of changes in people. Original, natural man has vanished by degrees, Rousseau says. Now our wants and pleasures seek the artificial. At their base, our present inequalities are due to the over-development of our rational faculties, to our dependence on contrived needs, to our need for esteem, and to the Lockean system of property and ownership. If The Discourse presents the problem, The Social Contract addresses Rousseau's solution, at least in the domain of governance. Its express goal is to inquire into a "sure and legitimate" rule of administration, one that considers people as they are, and laws as they might be. In other words, it concerns itself. with what have become self interested individuals who are no longer in their pristine natural state. It seeks laws that will serve not only self-interest but also justice. It concerns itself with laws, values, and a practical morality that can leverage humankind's natural compassion into a pervasive sense of fairness. Since such a social order does not come from nature, Rousseau says, it must be founded on human conventions (Social Contract 182). 37


The problem, then, becomes one of finding the best form of association that will, in common for all, defend and protect the person and property of each individual, while preserving all natural freedoms. That association must be collective, unified, and serve only the interests of the community of people. Ideally, its people will be self-sufficient, resourceful, fulfilled, and unafraid. They will think for themselves, and not be influenced by what others may deem politically correct. In this association, each will unite himself with all, and each will obey himself alone (Social Contract 191). That association, according to Rousseau, derives from the social contract. It subsumes individuals, and transforms the people into a new corporate body, a "public person." To this public person, all the people willingly give up all their rights, to the end that . the alienation being without reserve, the union is as perfect as it can be" (Social Contract 191). With no reserve, that union takes on absolute powers over lives and properties. But the people are altogether safe in making this act of community, for the sovereign thus created cannot do anything against the original social contract without thereby "annihilating" itself. It can have no interests contrary to theirs,. so it need not give any guarantees to its members. With the social contract man gains civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses, and he gains moral liberty, in that he obeys only the laws he prescribes for himself. The collective, common intent of this public person, Rousseau calls the General Will. All of the people of society participate in this General Will in so far as they honestly concem themselves with the common good. The General Will always tends towards the public advantage; and only through the General Will can the state can be directed to the common good (Social Contract 200).. Its domain is solely legislative, the making of society's law as it applies to all people in common. It binds all, equally and totally, for particular cases and individual considerations are not the province of the General Will; they belong in the domain of government and decree. Indeed, the general will "loses its moral rectitude" when 38


directed towards the particular. Within its domain and in its intended role, however, the General Will can never be corrupted (203 205). The sovereign public person is supreme and absolute, and it alone judges the extent of its absolute powers. It alone determines what individual liberties and properties it must control. Though it cannot impose fetters that are useless to the community, it alone is to be the judge of what is useful (Social Contract 205). Says Rousseau, "Whoever refuses to obey the General Will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body; he will be forced to be. free" (195). Indeed, self-interested particular wills still persist under the social contract. Particular wills are partial to personal interest, and can be contrary to the General Will, and they will never give rise to great or noble actions (Confessions 306). Particular wills tend towards inequality, while the General Will always seeks equality (Social Contract 200). Yet these particular wills do not prevail, provided the people of the community remain involved in the political process. Particular wills tend to cancel out, outweighed by the common kernel of sincere mutual interest. And though the society has men who are called legislators, they have only the role of providing guidance; they enact nothing by themselves. To be sure, there are no representatives of the people involved in this process. Rousseau insists that the sovereignty and the General Will do not allow of representation (266). Government, in Rousseau's scheme, is but another term for the executive function. It is what adds force to the sovereign legislative's will, for without both force and will, nothing gets done. The government's domain is restricted to particular acts 'Or decrees. It is an intermediate body between the subjects and the sovereign, charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of liberty. It can take on several forms (democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy) depending on suitability to the size of the state, temperament of the people, and the spirit of the times. Ideally, the dominant will of government is identical with the law, the express General Will of the people. Ideally, the 39


government should put people first, and not subordinate the common interests to the particular or corporate interests of those in government. Yet conflicts of interests are bound to arise -between the particular wills of individuals in government, between the corporate will of those who collectively make up the government, and the sense of the General Will as shared by these same individuals. The particular and corporate wills of those in government tend to act in opposition to the General Will. And it is inevitable, says Rousseau, that the corporate will of the government, if it has no effective counterbalance in an active General Will, finally suppresses the sovereign and breaks the social contract. The legislative is certainly not helpless to preserve itself, but it can do so only through its law-making powers. It is the legislative powers and not laws themselves that are the heart of the sovereign. Its vitality lies in the involvement of citizens, in their respect for venerable old laws, and in simplicity -the need for fewer rather than many laws. Procedurally, its preservation lies in a clear-cut independence from the executive, particularly as concerns its own assembly. There must be fixed, periodic assemblies which cannot be abrogated by the executive, nor by any particular or corporate will. These assemblies must be the principal preoccupation of the citizenry. As Rousseau says, when public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, the state is not far from its fall. Active individual involvement is essential; a representatives process is not acceptable. The majority. vote is binding on all, for each citizen gives his consent to all laws enacted by the General Will, including those passed in spite of his opposition. The stronger the majority, the clearer the expression of the General Will. Each citizen must realize and accept the truth of the matter that when opinion contrary to his own prevails, it only proves that he was mistaken, and that what he thought was the General Will was not so. As for matters of its own preservation vis a vis the government, each assembly should always include two questions: does it please the sovereign to preserve the present form of government; and, does it please 40


the people to leave its administration in the hands of those who are now in charge of it? In the same vein of societal self-preservation, Rousseau advocates a fonn of censorship intended to preserve essential morality in the state. The emphasis, he says, must rightly be on preservation, for censorship can never restore morality once it has been lost. He advocates a civil religion, as well. This would supplant the more problematic fonns of religion that cause people either to be obsessed with the afterlife, or to have divided loyalties. Religion is nevertheless important to the state in that it can reinforce the citizens' sense of duty to the community. Accordingly, Rousseau characterizes the truly beneficial civil religion as one that will. encourage good social behavior, promote the love of law and justice, and insist on theological tolerance. Given all these rather involved principles, what is Rousseau's vision of the ideal state? How does he characterize his preferred sort of community, in tenns reasonably analogous to those of Sale? The overarching characteristic of Rousseau's preferred society is that it have "an extent proportionate to. the limits of human faculties, that is to the possibility of being well-governed. Size, then, is to be determined more by man's abilities, than by nature's constraints. It is a misconception, Rousseau would say, to associate strength w.ith. largeness. On the contrary, the smaller state is stronger, in proportion, than a large one. In the large state, the people seldom see their government, and can scarcely identify with it. Governmental leaders are overwhelmed by state business, and too many of the important affairs of society come to be handled by the bureaucracy. Even more important, the people themselves tend to be spread over diverse provinces, develop different local customs and laws, and inevitably become strangers to one another. The basis of common needs and values, and the viability of a cohesive General Will dissipates (Social Contract 220). The less the particulars wills relate to the General Will -that is, the less cohesive the 41


community of people-and the less morals and manners correspond to laws, the more the government must apply repressive force to uphold law and order (232). Prefer the small state, the cohesive community. Prefer the state formed of responsible citizens, who know one another well enough to notice and judge each other's vice and virtue. One wherein there is an open and proud love of country, and an open and unashamed love of all of its citizens. Where all are free under laws they have agreed to impose, without exemption, on themselves. One where in fact the sovereign and the people are identical, and where the leaders are chosen by the people, and do honor to themselves and to their fellow citizens as they do honor to their offices. Prefer a country where laws are few, stable, and sacred (Social Contract 32-3 8). Generally speaking, Rousseau says, the democratic form of the executive suits smaller states. But he is critical of some systematic defects inherent in this form. It is actually a government without government, he says; there is no dedicated cadre of leaders who have trained and commited themselves for the sake of governance, and there is no one to watch over those citizens who take on public office and responsibility. Furthermore, it is not good for one who makes laws to execute them, for that is a situation that engenders corruption of the legislature. Democracy requires constant vigilance and courage for its maintenance, he says. But he then goes on to say that it is unimaginable for the people to remain continually assembled for public affairs. Democracy, more than other forms of government, is dependent on virtue. And it presupposes simplicity, equality, and little or DO luxury. "Were there a people of gods, their government would be democratic", he says. "So perfect a government is not for men" (Social Contract 240). The greatest difficulty in politics and governance, Rousseau says, is in overcoming apathy and getting all the citizens really involved. Each and every member of the community must have a sense for the important issues, and be engaged in resolving them (Emile 458). No one is above or 42


unworthy of involvement. Every citizen alike has only herself or himself to put into society. And one's property does not count as a substitute for involvement, since property is a part of the community with or without its owner's participation. Each niust be constant in discharging his social duty; no exemption is given for wealth and privilege (195). Indeed, there is no factor of difference in Rousseau's ideal community sufficient to give leverage to an us-versus-them mentality. There is no dominance in Rousseau's society other than that of the people, by the people, and for the people. And there is no dominance by his people over nature. "Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Author of things;" he says, but "everything degenerates in. the hands of man" (Emile 37). Instead of violating nature and turning its creatures into monsters, we should extend our natural compassion to include other sentient animals "[O]ur common sensibility", he says, "ought to make us identify with them equally" (225). And once we have gained their confidence, we would be worse than barbarians to abuse it (Confessions 228). It may be true that man is king of the world he inhabits, but of his surroundings, the. man-made part is full of confusion and disorder, while the natural is harmonious and balanced. "The animals are happy; their king alone is miserable" (Em i 1 e 278). "Remain in the place which nature assigns you in the chain of being. . Your freedom and your power extend only as far as your natural strength, and not beyond, All the rest is only slavery, illusion, and deception" (83). Stick to the road of nature, he says, for it is the road to happiness (443) . Rousseau would probably scold us for considering any element of his vision utopian, especially if we were to argue that such a vision could never come to be -at least not in its pure form. Nevertheless, we would have substantial evidence on our side in such an argument, especially in so far as nothing like his vision has ever yet come about, either in his time or our own. Add to our evidence, as well, the that pre-43


societal man's idyllic state of nature existed for certain only in Rousseau's own mind. More than one of Rousseau's notions is an idealistic hypothesis, if not an outright utopian construct. For instance, there is his concept of the self-sufficient, naturally fulfilled and whole individual. Though Rousseau makes us believe that a person such as this can be formed from the least of us, still we have trouble assuring ourselves that the requisite wonderfully wise, perfectly perceptive, totally dedicated, profoundly knowledgeable and masterful teacher is anywhere to be found who can form or transform such a person by means of the perfect education. Without that teacher, there can be no Emile. Likewise utopian, it seems, is actualization of Rousseau's General Will in any but the smallest community. Thllt any sizeable community of self-sufficient individuals can be so uniform in its essential beliefs, objectives, and preferred means is nearly incredible. Indeed, it would be rare for any community to be able even to fully articulate such matters, let alone to achieve a consensus that centered on them. How unimaginable then for that community's self-sufficient individuals to surrender their very lives to create its totalitarian sovereignness. But Rousseau asserts it nonetheless, and he asserts as well that this General Will can be sustained, and infallible -that it and it alone can win the common good-given only the conscientious best efforts of its fallible citizens. Just as utopian is Rousseau's overarching principle of balance. For Rousseau, balance is not the unreachable goal; it is the very metric of life. Perfect balance is possible, and it is crucial. Balance must prevaU between the individual's wants and faculties. Between the rational mind, and the. intuitive. Between reason, the passions, and conscience. There must be balance between the two fundamental natural characteristics of all people; their drive for self-preservation, and their sense of compassion. And there must and can be a stable, satisfying balance between the fulfilled individual, and the common good of community. 44


CHAPTER4 COMPARISON .Back now to our main objective, the task of comparing our two Greens and Rousseau. One is drawn to say that the strong emphasis on nature they share is a good overall gauge of their alikeness. That it is indicative may be true, but such an assessment is inadequate and much too simplistic. Let's go beyond saying that they are probably more alike than not. Profound differences lie beneath some of the apparent similarities. In overall effect, this comparison will reflect our two areas of panicular interest mentioned in the introduction -the one being the relationship of people with people, and the other the relationship between humankind and nature. In its specifics, however, this comparison will be rather more detailed. It will examine these two areas of interest as decomposed into more focused, more manageable topics. The first topic concerns their views of the problem at hand. 45


Views of the Problem Both the Greens and Rousseau would agree that nature is not the cause of mankind's most prevalent and seemingly intractable problems. Entrenched inequity, hierarchy, dominance -all of these are man-made. We seem to be our own worst enemy. It is we ourselves who are stingy and we ourselves who have caused misery. Rousseau says that man wants nothing as nature made it, not even himself. In remaking nature, we have misused the tools of the master and we have hun ourselves in the process. Our history seems to spiral through the painful complications of self-inflicted wounds. Both the Greens and Rousseau would agree as well that it is very difficult indeed to identify and articulate the true problem, and to trace its causes. For Rousseau, there is the risk of mistaking effects for cause, of not looking back far enough and thereby seeing only what happened instead of what mattered. For the Greens, there is the issue of mentality and terminology, for they would say that a thoroughly scientific and overly rational worldview has imposed its own meaning on too much of our language, and left us with no way to communicate any other view. It is when the two sides persist towards diagnosing humankind's illness that the similarity fades. It is when they probe into past and present circumstances that important distinctions emerge. Our Greens hold that the first cause of dominance, hierarchy, and means-centered reasoning is an altogether materialistic view of nature. One wherein all of creation, humankind and trees included, is spiritless. Within this materialism, everything is but a term in the cosmic equation. All of nature is man's despiritized dominion. Humankind itself is but a resource, with qualities unique or peculiar, sometimes unmanageable, but never godlike. Other people are but things for me or someone else to use, and to use in whatever way I may like. Conscience is no hindrance, for it is irrelevant in a spiritless world. 46


Rousseau, in contrast, sees a perverse form of self-love, amour propre, as the basic cause of what has become institutionalized inequality. Under its influence, each is obsessed with comparing his own position and advantage against everyone else's. It is only another's opinion that counts, not their individuality. The rest of humankind is there to pay me some son of homage, whether or not it is in any way deserved. Conscience is no hindrance, for a person's self-serving acts are faultless if aimed towards his own self-perfection. As for nature, it is there for my curiosity, as a challenge for my scientific endeavors, and as a toy for me to tinker with. These are profoundly different statements about cause, though they share some of the same effects. Most obvious of these is an amoral view of both people and nature. Under the Greens' assessment of the problem, it is a mainly systemic force -materialism-that has resulted in a demeaning of people and nature. In Rousseau's view, it is more a personal force -amour propre-that has give us essentially the same sad effects. With. the dominance of materialism and cold logic, faith came to be viewed as foolishness. And when conscience was reconstrued, vinue became obsolete. On these matters both the Greens and Rousseau would agree. Science, with instrumental thinking as its conson, unseated faith and vinue. Opinion and fad were installed in their place. The awful result is that now there were no accepted moral and ethical constraints. Everyone was free to pursue whatever appeared advantageous, regardless of the consequences to another,. or to all of creation. They would agree, as well, that science and technology soon became the levers of the powerful, deepening inequality and fortifying dominance. Moreover, the tools and conveniences technology has given us have tended to dehumanize our work and render us weakened and dependent. Compassion fell victim to the new paradigm of materialism, instrumental thinking, and individualism. Of all our faculties, reason was singled out as supreme. It broke out of its rightful place as one form of knowing, and made successful claim to the whole domain of knowledge. 47


As for science, Rousseau and the Greens would agree that it has become overly abstracted and inbred, that it has become focused more on the development of its own methodology, and more involved with sustaining its dominance than it is in the full-fledged study of nature. In spite of its early promise, unconstrained science has delivered up a frightful mix of miracles and mischief. But the Greens and Rousseau clearly disagree on the question of a suitable role for science. Rousseau is consistently harsh on science and its methods. Science is exceptional only as a source of error, he insists, and we would all be much better off with innocent ignorance than with man-made error. Yes, there has been error, the Greens would agree, and science has overstepped its bounds, but science and technology are not intrinsically evil. Indeed, with suitable constraints they can contribute to mankind's freedom. The Greens would accommodate science; Rousseau would squelch it. Both sides in this comparison are altogether sincere in seeking to find the true cause of mankind's problem, and they are no less sincere in seeking to determine and define the best approach to the best solution. Both the Greens and Rousseau look to lessons inherent in mankind's past for guidance in this matter. The Greens choose to study past societies not only to understand what has come to pass, but also to discover the-kinds of accomplishments we have been capable of. They focus on documented histories and anthropologies, using an approach that is carefully reasoned. History, they say, substantiates and validates their views; one need only accept their analytical approach and see history through their interpretive filter. For Rousseau, however, written history is nothing more than an incomplete post-mortem. What truly mattered in our distant past, he says, happened before anyone could or would document it. What is written is all about effects, not causes. Yet the lack of valid historical source material doesn't hinder Rousseau. He is quite satisfied to boldly intuit or imagine what might have been, and then assert it as the likely story. 48


Obviously then, both the Greens and Rousseau use history, and use it very differently, to justify their very different positions. But their distinct approaches to history are indicative of differences in their larger approach to the whole question. Rousseau acts on "felt" values and visions, and so it is quite okay for him to "feel" what the past may have been. His writings are a circus of intuition, imagination, emotion, rationale, personality, and folksy common sense. The Greens, on the other hand, are far more disciplined in their approach, and more singularly rational than their expressed value system would suggest. While they clearly and boldly advocate an holistic approach to knowlt6dge, they cautiously stick to factual evidence and the carefully reasoned argument. Each side expresses the need for an accommodation with the status quo. This much they share. But their accommodations are quite different. Rousseau admits a need to accommodate some of the inequalities that have by now been institutionalized in our societies. The Greens in their tum say we must accommodate many of the technologies we find all around us. The Greens seem to surely mean what they say. Rousseau, however, will cleverly and persistently, if indirectly. continue to attack inequality in a determined effort to eliminate it. And as we shall see, he intends to do so by means of the perfect education. In Rousseau's vision, social justice will indeed be born again -it will be nurtured and rehabilitated in the hearts of self-sufficient individuals. Principles. Assumptions. and values There is much that is similar in their underlying premises and -principles. Both acknowledge that humankind can never return to lost innocence, can never revert to noble savage. Rousseau's natural man is 49


gone forever. Imagined needs and real dependencies have changed him, and left him with permanent handicaps. Similarly, the Greens' naturebased peoples are gone forever. The course of natural evolution has seen to their extinction. Both agree, then, that people have changed. They agree as well that people are by nature basically good, and that Hobbes was wrong. There is no need to form the new socialist man and woman as prerequisite to realizing either of their visions, for the intrinsic goodness of our species will be sufficient. They share as well a belief in the importance of balance. For Rousseau it is the balance between self-preservation and compassion, between the individual and community, and between an individual's natural capabilities and his wishes. For the Greens, it is balance among all human faculties, and the balance between self-expression and community; on the grand scale, it is balance among all the members of the social organism -among all the participants in Gaean ecology. They would agree, too, that the wonders and variety of nature are endless. That we should find peace and sustenance in what nature is and in what it provides; that nature should be our model and our teacher. They diverge, however, on the question of the boundless commons. Rousseau rails against any taking of the lands created for everyone, to be owned by no one, the lands that are (or were) the common inheritance of all humankind. He knows they are limited, and insists that no one be permitted to take any part of this inheritance as his own, unless others consent unanimously. Yet our two Greens, in spite of their awareness of modem population pressures, don't mention any such concern. Indeed, they even adopt the notion of colonization as the appropriate way to handle outgrown bioregional communities. In so far. as they ignore overpopulation as an issue and suggest colonization as the cure, they implicitly accept unbounded. growth and assume a boundless commons. One last point regarding their premises. Rousseau sees his modem man as too self-centered to truly care about nature. As he sees it, man wants nothing as nature made it, not even himself. Rousseau's unnatural 50


man is a negative force against nature. Not so, say the Greens. Humankind has been and will continue to be a positive influence on the evolutionary process. For Rousseau, man should keep his hands off nature. But for the Greens, it is not only acceptable, but crucial that our kind -somehow wisely-intervene in nature's process. Solutions A contrast of the more intuited and qualitative as against the more reasoned and deterministic -that seems be a sensible, albeit general, characterization of their distinctively different thinking. And that same distinction is apparent in their. visions of solving the problems they've articulated. Nature The Greens take nature to be a sound and meaningful model for human society. Study nature, they say, and apply what you learn. Form society as nature has formed herself. Nature is a continuous web that connects all to all. There is no singular beginning, and no particular end to this web. Nature is not a chain of higher and lower positions, nature is symbiosis, with every member dependent in fact on very other member. The clear lesson we should take from nature as model is that we are all, organically, dependent on each other. We rise or fall as a society as we rise or fall organically, all of us in one web. Nature our model permits no species to break her web and form it into a chain to 5uit its own purpose. Nature knows no dominance. Neither should our society. 51


There is no counterpart to this idea in Rousseau. Nature is too mystical to support such mundane notions. More to the point, Rousseau says quite clearly that nature did not nurture ideas of society. Society is an artifact. It came to be only after people left nature. It is a fundamental error, then, to regard nature as a source or inspiration for any concept of society; He does say that nature has established no hierarchy among men, but he says this only in the context defined by and limited to the human species. He makes no extension of this statement to all of nature. It is man-made conventions that form the basis of all authority, and all society,. among men. Nature has nothing to do with it. Yes, nature instills in all of us her principles of self-preservation, compassion, and fundamental fairness -but she leaves the matter of particular social forms and institutions completely to the minds and hands of. our species. Nature, then, is more teacher than model. She is natural law, and she is necessity. Her natural laws define conscience, but not social laws. Conscience may be inspired by high-minded natural law, say the Greens, but it is the action and .process of our natural habitat that gives conscience its specific meaning. Abstract principles become active ethics only in the context of nature. Nature, diverse and symbiotic, is the web that includes, connects, and sustains all life. What determines the well being of this web at the same time defines rights and wrongs. We are a part of that web, and so nature is the proper matrix on which our kind should base its system of ethics. Here, then is one basic Green reason for the energetic study of nature; to grasp all we can of this marvelous model.. We are competent lo comprehend. nature's model, provided we use all of our faculties, and provided we listen and respond to all of the varied voices of nature. Our science must return to its early, healthy diversity ----inclusive of both physics and animismin order to maximize our knowledge of the natural web and its processes. In. the Greens' scheme, humankind must probe and study, and in essence teach itself about nature. In Rpusseau's view it is nature that 52


quietly and constantly teaches us, if we would only be attentive. Rousseau's nature speaks to all of us in terms we can understand without straining. And it engages all of our faculties, though perhaps our intuitive side more than our rational side. For Rousseau, to see nature, one must feel it. In his view of things, nature will take the initiative to inform us; as the Greens see it, it is we who must take our questions to nature. As the Greens see the matter, we have to press on and learn how to emulate nature. For Rousseau, we have only to open our sensibilities to nature's presence. But, these differences aside, both Rousseau and the Greens a bounty of good coming from man's closer connectedness with nature. They see happiness, sufficiency, morality, fulfillment, identity, and balance. They anticipate more realistic appreciation for limits and constraints, for necessity, and for the notion of sustainability. All of these advantages will befall us when we simply and sincerely take our place within nature. Yet, for the Greens nature is not a static model, and her processes as they are need not rigidly constrain us. Nature is a model we should administer, and one we can improve upon. In the Green view, we, as Gaea's most unique and gifted species, have a specil11 role to play. And to be sure, we have every right to step up to this special role, provided only that are truly grounded within nature, respect her diversity, participate in her symbiotic web of life, and have assimiiated .her ethic. Mankind is, indeed, well suited for such a role; in fact, we would be unnaturally regulating our own faculties and their normal effects if we were to hide our unique light under a basket. We have every right to reenter nature, given the proviso just stated, and in doing so to reenter -and influencethe process of natural evolution. By taking up the oversight role we are capable of, with an appropriate sense of speciate humility, we can be uniquely helpful to nature. But not helpful in the way the conservationist or the environmentalist is helpful. Those roles would be incompatible with the 53


son of full connectedness the Greens have in mind. Such roles would be alien to one who had fully reentered nature. They are too conspicuously separate, and too contrived. And perhaps the Greens see those roles, the conservationist and the environmentalist, as too obviously anthropocentric. Better to endorse the much more subtle anthropocentrism that is inherent in this special role they envision. Better to endorse a re-natured human species that humbly and ethically guides nature from within. Of course, Rousseau would disagree with any such role for fallible mortals. Any presumption we might have of our preeminence over nature is symptomatic of that perverse notion we have of our own perfectibility. Given any such license, people would leave nothing as nature had made it, and leave nothing fo_r the better. Nature has taken care that her order be preserved, and she has drawn the line that we shall not cross. Should we disregard the caveat and venture in any way into changing nature's order, we will pay a heavy price. No, we must simply and forever let nature be, and stay within the natural order. Live as pan of nature. Feel nature. Learn from her, keep her, and let her be. Individual and Community At the other end of the spectrum, opposite the breadth of nature, are their views of how the individual is to play into the solutions they envision. For Rousseau, it is the self-sufficiency of each individual that is crucial --crucial to society as a whole as we see, but even more crucial to the individual person. The self-sufficient person is free of the unending anxiety that goes with comparisons and with the concern for otherS' opinions. He or she is freed to exist as a unique creature. Each of us is thus freed to find the balance consistent with our own faculties. Each is freed to think and choose for ourselves, and to seek and attain our unique sort of fulfillment. 54


This kind of individuality is the result of a continuing sensibility to nature and to nature-defined necessity. It is a vestige of those superb qualities early natural-man acquired in his daily accommodation with nature, when, unaided by society or its technologies, and grounded in the knowledge of his own capabilities and limits, he faced whatever nature might put in his way. It is a quality that overcomes obstacles and appreciates blessings as they really are, not as they may be imagined, and not as we fear or pray they might be. This is self-sufficiency that has been schooled in and by nature alone. The Greens too emphasize individuality, but with a somewhat different twist. Individuality is important,to be sure, but it seems to be important more for what it can do for society than for what it can do for the person. This is a subtle distinction, but a fundamental one. To be sure, individual creativity is essential to their scheme. And surely this creativity would be accompanied by substantive personal satisfaction. But it would seem that the Greens look most to the societal benefits of this creativity, and least to the personal. Creativity will provide new solutions to common problems, and it will serve as a constructive psychic release. It fits nicely with the concept of diversity and complementarity. Indeed, for the Greens, a Rousseauan sort of self-reliance is not even achievable at the individual level; it can be realized only at the collective level. Recall that for Rousseau, there is no nature-given social model for us to study and imitate. Because of this view, his solution is fundamentally centered on the individual as such, and his attention is focused on individual development. For the Greens, on the other hand, it is nature's symbiotic system that is the ultimate model for humankind, and accordingly, their solution in effect concentrates on how to mold individuals into participants in this system. Their views on conscience are consistent with their views on individuality. Rousseau considers conscience as innate and nature-given. It is steadfast and true to the natural laws, and an altogether better determinant of behavior than is reason. And it informs each of us in spite 55


of the influences of the opinions around us. Not quite so, say the Greens. Conscience doesn't arise out of abstruse natural law. It is a product of our socialization. More specifically, conscience, like wisdom, arises from the natural ethical matrix, itself a derivative of our habitat. Once again, the Greens return to the prime importance of the collective, for which individual conscience mainly plays the role of social corrective mechanism. The Greens tend to aim for societal fulfillment, supposing that some degree of individual fullfillment can and will follow. With Rousseau, the view is just the opposite. For him, only fulfilled and self-sufficient individuals are capable of creating and sustaining the kind of society wherein a common good becomes possible. It is not nature's model that shows the way to the good society, it is nature's law of compassion. Society. the Social Contract Rousseau's concept of the General Will is based as much as or more on compassion than it is on self-preservation. The General Will is not another Leviathan, for it is not based on the premise of individuals who can only do war with each other. Instead, General Will is the tenn Rousseau uses to describe his unifying principle for community. Under the General Will, the inequality that had become institutionalized is forever dissolved as all, voluntarily, join in social contract without any reservation whatsoever. This is the grand dissolution of accrued but artificial differences and distinctions. Yet it is not the dissolution of tf:le individual. All are more equal after than they were before, and all are equally empowered to create every aspect of a new society and its governance. They are empowered as well to secure the common good. In fact it is only by means of the General Will that the common good can ever be detennined and made achievable. 56


The Greens take an ostensibly different approach to ordering society, and to finding and securing the common good. They emphasize their natural model with its diversity, its organic interdependence, and its symbiosis. They also stress the freedoms inherent in libertarian principles and institutions. In this way, they eliminate and continue to avoid problematic hierarchy and dominance. They put in its place personal empowerment, subjectivity, and individual creativity. In the Greens' scheme as in Rousseau's, power rests only with the totality of the citizenry. But the authority of the state is not based on the self abandonment, whether voluntary or not, demanded within Rousseau's General Will. The so-called corporate person of the General Will, with its virtually unlimited authorities, would be construed by the Greens as tantamount to a dominating, totalitarian government. Not so, Rousseau would insist, for the General Will is but another term for us. There is no separation, no us-versus-them. Nor is there any hierarchy, for every citizen is a voting equal in the legislative process. The individual people who have joined in Rousseau's society have become corporate by virtue of the substantial common interests they share, and by virtue of their social contract; they have become active in a General Will that is inerringly able to point the way to achieving their shared vision of the common good. There is no dominance, for every one has acted voluntarily, and every one is free to live as fulfilled individual under laws he himself has made. The Greens would be put off by Rousseau's idea of a contract. It is too binding, and too suggestive of submission. They would also be put off by an apparently monolithic General Will. Neither of these notions is at all libertarian. But if he were to have the last word, Rousseau might observe that his active General Will was not so very much different from the Greens' symbiotic web of life. He might also counsel them against considering every state as something necessarily separate and apart from its willing citizens. 57


Unity Rousseau and the Greens seem of one mind as regards the importance of dedication to community. Both praise unity and detest egotism. They advocate willing complementarity, involvement, caring, and the synergy that comes of sharing responsibility. Rousseau captures the essence of the matter for the Greens as well as for himself when he says that whatever destroys unity is worthless, and that community must take priority over egotism. As Rousseau sees the matter, egotism is the individual's particular will become dominant. Not only does the particular will dilute and obscure the clarity of the General WiU, and thereby impede the search for the common good; it also confounds the true fulfillment of the individual. It is vital to the cause of unity, Rousseau believes, that the duties of each citizen be sympathetic to the common interest. Should anyone's normal daily pursuits become incompatible with the common good, that person will in time become adversarial to the General Will. It is precisely the function of Rousseau's General Will and the beauty of human compassion to avoid faction, to preclude the us-versus-them mentality, so as to achieve unity. The Greens send the same message, translated into today's terms. Today's emphasis on independence, they say, is in fact nothing more than pervasive and socially corrosive egotism. They acknowledge that social unity is fundamental and intrinsic to their model of the organic and symbiotic community. They, too, make every attempt within their world of bioregional communities to maximize cohesiveness within each bioregion. And they mean to keep borders vague between the bioregions so as to reduce difference and thereby minimize the hazards of us-versusthem thinking. It is interesting to note here a further thought of Rousseau's that once again reflects and reconfirms his focus on the individual. Having declared himself firmly on the side of community, Rousseau goes on to 58


observe that the benefits of community accrue mainly to the individual. More specifically, along with community comes manifold and rich opportunity for deep personal friendships. Individual friendship warms and personalizes community. It is the feeling element that makes community more than an intellectual association, more than a sense of ends-oriented teamwork. Friendship, he says, develops one's own feelings, strengthens the balance between self and others, and adds communal wannth to the individual's sense of fulfillment. Community without friendship is too cold and too fragile for Rousseau, but with friendship, community becomes akin to family -the most integrated, most sensitive, and most committed of all social foundations Rousseau also stresses the integrating and fullfilling effects of work. And the Greens agree. Everyone in society needs to be occupied with something. Otherwise they have no mode of fitting into the corporateness of society; they feel estranged and disconected. Not only should everyone have an occupation, but it should be somehow important, more than a means simply to avoid boredom. The Greens tend to agree; labor should be a means of creativity and personal fulfillment. The Greens go on to say that each one's work should play into the overall symbiotic processes of the organic community. Both the Greens and Rousseau envision a grand interchange of work and work-products. As Rousseau puts it, each one should apply himself as suits him best, and at the same time each should profit from the work and talents of others. Thus, work is both fulfillment and a framework of communal, mutual help. Moreover, work is and ought to be a means of connectedness with nature. For work ought not be something so abstractt:d as to be unnatural. Whether mental or manual, work should be compatible with if not inspired by nature. Indeed, for Rousseau, manual labor is to be 59


preferred, for it invariably brings one closest to nature's essence. All this is true, the Greens would say, and the lesson for today's workers is clear. Do your science and technology if you will, but keep your methods and your designs sympathetic with nature. Be a part of nature, and have your work favor nature's process. Yes, be a part of nature, but surely not in some abstract sense. Rather, be an active part of a real and self-defining locality of nature. Have your place. And, important for both the Greens and Rousseau, make it a permanent place. Permanency of place leads to connectedness, both with nature. and with others who have settled to stay. The connectedness with others enables true community to happen, and the connectedness with nature serves to form the satisfying life style. Thus it happens that the unique natural bounties, the relative scarcities, and the very climate of a particular region come to influence, if not determine, culture and the choice of governance. Asked to draw up the Corsican constitution, Rousseau knew well that he had to live there before he could do justice to that task. The idea of permanent roots in a particular natural place is the essence of the Greens' concept of bioregionalism. A society and its territory grow together to become symbiotic in the largest sense. Though our two Greens themselves disagree about the optimum size of the nature based community, they do agree, and Rousseau joins in this agreement, that it must be human in scale so as to be comprehensible to its citizens. Large enough to be and remain self-sustaining, and not so large as to become unmanageable. Living beyond the land's carrying capacity would mean living in a permanent state of dependence on others -a situation abhorrent to Rousseau, and intolerable to the Greens. Likewise abhorrent to Rousseau is the idea of spending one's precious life in the ugliness of 60


crowded cities -a situation that could only result in deep feelings of anxiety and anger. Both sides agree that wise and caring people chose long ago to develop their better faculties in nature's pristine countrysides. Participative Governance In any event, an all-consuming preoccupation with size is not helpful, because what truly matter are the ideals and structures of freedom -governance. In the area of governance, both Rousseau and the Greens would minimize all would-be hindrances to participative democracy. At the same time both would charge _the people themselves with the crucial role in all matters of policy and law. They agree that there would be few laws. The overarching legislative concept would be simplicity and clarity, and consistency with society's operative conscience. Legislated prohibitions would be an essential few. Freedoms would be fully articulated and expressly guaranteed. Both the Greens and Rousseau would carefully avoid a complicated code of law, because it would be burdensome to apply, and difficult to sustain. They would agree that once the system of laws has lost its simplicity, it becomes more of a burden on society to dismantle old laws, than to build up the new. Not only would there be few laws, but the laws that were would have virtually unanimous suppon. The framework of law would be venerated by all the citizenry. And the laws would be worthy of this veneration, for they would intrude neither on the possibilities choices for Rousseau's individual self-fulfillment, nor on the free and organic -workings of the Greens' symbiotic society. Yet there is and must be some son of intrusion on the people, in so far as every citizen is also a participant in the legislature. There would be no government through representatives, for both the Greens and Rousseau agree on direct democracy. The people themselves will consider 61


and ratify every law in person. There would be no difference in political obligation or empowerment between the wealthy and the not, and wealth would not relieve any citizen of his or her duty. Both sides are clear that government must and should encroach on the lives of citizens. It is simply a question of. responsibly following through on the commitment each makes to sustaining the society they have opted to build. Both Rousseau and the Greens make a clear-cut distinction between legislative and executive functions of governance. Whereas every act of legislation and every determination of policy is based on the direct participation of all the citizens, it is not so for executive and administrative functions. Those functions can be delegated to elected officials. But such offiCials are always accountable to the citizens who elected them. Says Rousseau, every assembly should begin with two questions: is the present form of governance still favored by the citizens; and are the present office-holders still those preferred by the electorate. And here we see a distinct difference between Rousseau and the Greens. The latter, it seems, would ask these two questions continually, not just on assembly-day. Rousseau does not seem to think it necessary to interrogate the General Will very frequently. And when its deliberation and decision were needed, the General Will would be summoned with some conscious formality, and according to some correct process. Otherwise, the people remain free to go about their own pursuits. Their involvement would be obligatory, but infrequent. As for the Greens, their participation would be up to them; they would be free to become involved or not. There is not to be any rigid format or schedule for governance in the Greens' libertarian scheme; they would in effect be deciding law and policy on a daily basis. For the Greens, freedom is the opportunity to panicipate, not the participation itself. As for Rousseau, he bemoans the fact that the greatest difficulty in political matters is getting people interested and involved. It is unimaginable, he says, for the people to remain continually assembled; such a government is for gods, not people. 62


Separate and distinct from the governance of law and policy is the regulation of behavior. Both agree that this is an important matter, yet both would leave matters of morality essentially to the corrective influence of active public opinion. If there is a dictinction, it is that Rousseau would establish the role of censor within the institutions of the state. The censor would be charged with preserving, but not determining, morality. The Greens, on the other hand, would somehow ensure that the community as a whole had visibility into the behavior of each of its members, and then leave the rest to a presumably assertive public conscience. Both approaches carry with them some risk of an encroaching tyranny of the majority. Nevertheless, both sides believe that the need for an active protection of societal values is worth that risk. And though the office of censor seems to add an ominous overtone to Rousseau's seemingly totalitarian General Will, one must keep in mind that for him the General Will is a wholly benign force, based in human compassion, and intent on establishing the true common good. Education Our Greens, to be sure, allocate particuhtr importance to education. It is through education that peoples' awareness and understanding of the problem are to be deepened. And it is education that must help discover nature's model, which is at the same time both their solution and their vision for the future. They are very clear about these objectives for education, and very crucial objectives they are: But, having levied these on education, they drop the subject. Compared to Rousseau's treatment of this subject, the Greens do little more than ann-waving. In exceptional contrast, Rousseau makes education the focus of his masterpiece, Emile. For Rousseau, education is the sole certain means of forming the self-sufficient, balanced, and compassionate person. It is the right way of 63


forming the individual, and it is thereby the right way of forming the citizen. It is the necessary and sufficient preparation for one entering into membership and full participation in the General Will. In Emile, Rousseau's educational process is exhaustively explained, in terms of its intended results, its learning environment, its curriculum, and the mode of .instruction: In effect it is the dedicated parents who teach. And it is nature and necessity that provide each practical objective and its lesson plan. What is taught each individual is the very set of values that underpin society. Forming Emile is tantamount to forming community. Such an approach is essentially precluded under the Greens' view of society. For they view such key qualities as self-reliance, self empowerment, and self-regulation as qualities found only at the community level, and not in each individ_ual. For Rousseau, it is family teaching the individual by means of nature; for the Greens it is the system teaching its collective membership to emulate the natural model. Rousseau's censor is there to protect and preserve the values his education has imparted. 64


CHAPTERS SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS In so far as they are rebels against the dominant ideals and lifestyles of their times, Rousseau and our Greens do indeed seem to be allies. They seem to be responding to the same problems; that progress is more illusion than reality, and that what we take for progress is in fact eroding the very culture and values that we depend upon. That the way we live separates us from our true selves, and disconnects us from healthful natural relationships. Beyond simple rebellion, an emphasis on nature seems to be the common ground they share. But our more careful scrutiny has gone well beyond such obvious similarities and uncovered weighty differences. As regards the general outlines of a society, the Greens and Rousseau alike prefer the egalitarian community, one focused on the common good, founded on and guided by consensus. But as concerns the particular foun4ing principles of society, we have found Rousseau and the Greens to be at odds more often than not. He sees the self-sufficient individual as the centerpiece of society, and individual fulfillment as the ultimate life purpose. He sees the fulfilled individual as prerequisite to the fulfillment of society. The Greens see the symbiotic system as their centerpiece and individual complementarity as the associated ideal. And they see individual fulfillment as dependent. upon and possible only 65


within the self-sufficient society. Rousseau would have us participate from our individuality, they would have us participate from our interdependence. Rousseau would fix any faults in the system by fixing related faults in the individual. They would fix the system by finding a new system. He would count on human compassion and the natural law of conscience as beacons for social fairness. They would count mainly on objective reason, and an evolving social conscience for the same kind of guidance. He sees society formed out of the common ."intent of self-reliant but compassionate individuals, who voluntarily and totally pledge themselves to cooperatively try to determine and institute the common good. They see a society formed out of the common need -a need shared by interdependent, rational people-for a model to emulate, a model that will give them both unity and freedom. He sees the state as at least potentially benign; they see the state as most probably intrusive. He sees the need for all citizens to be involved in governance. They prefer the freedom of all citizens to be uninvolved if they so choose. Seeing the individual as the foundation of society, Rousseau would dedicate himself to the forming and educating that individual. Seeing the foundation of society as the correct choice of system-model, the Greens would spare no effort to envisioning it, rationalizing it, tuning it, and then teaching about it. Rousseau believed that freedom is in the heart of the individual, and that it is our values that fail us, not our institutions. The Greens believe that freedoms are predetermined by the form of government, and that when society breaks down, it is because the social model was faulty. With respect to the relationship between people and nature, we have found telling differences. To begin with the most profound of these differences, Rousseau positions humankind under nature, living within nature's strictures, not as subordinate and superior, more as student and teacher. Nature teaches us, keeps us in touch with real necessity, informs us by means of her natural law, influences us and 66


guides us through conscience. Nature speaks to each of us through all of our faculties, in a voice every one of us can understand. The Greens see nature as our process-model, to be sure, but as a model that we can influence and redirect if we determine we must. Nature is continually changing, and we, as the only rational being involved in its flow, have every right to bring our unique intelligence to bear .in influencing nature's evolution. Nature speaks to us mainly through our science's determination of the physical laws. For Rousseau, nature's structures and processes are strictly off-limits to humankind. For the Greens, nature may be manipulated by us, provided we do what we do ethically. Ethically, that is, as we ourselves define the ethics. For though the Greens insist on our thinking,_ deciding, and acting with nature's best interests in mind, whatever basis we may have for that acting is, in the end, based on our own primarily rational understanding of nature. While strictures are based heavily in intuition and feeling, the Greens' emulation is based mainly on whatever reasoned assessment we can make of nature as model. The Greens have not demoted our tendency to favor reason, as Rousseau has, they have only corrected its course by making it more objective, and less instrumental. And where Rousseau sees nature as not-invulnerable, and as a not unlimited number of places, the Greens are much less reserved. They seem to view nature as a remarkably adaptable process. Nevermind that some of nature's adaptations might lead to the extinction of our kind. To them nature is open-ended, and ready to adapt to and absorb whatever we might "ethically" decide to do to her. Nature is Gaea, nature is adaptive and evolving. For the Greens, nature is boundless, for her process will always continue, and presumeably her process will always include us. Rousseau feels a deep filial respect for nature. The Greens profess the same sort of respect, but can't resist the urge to bring nature to what they know is a more perfected state. 67


Did Rousseau anticipate the Green movement? In general outlines, perhaps, but certainly not in its more philosophical particulars. Would the Greens accept Rousseau as an ally? No, not unless they were searching to form the broadest possible coalition. Would Rousseau accept Bookchin and Sale as allies? Never; he is too convinced of his own correctness, and would most certainly consider their Green views as but a variant of the rational/scientific mentality. And he never was the least bit hesitant to go it alone as concerns ideals. Rousseau might well say that the Greens have misnamed themselves, and that the only one worthy of such a moniker was Emile. 68


LIST OF REFERENCES Bookchin, Murray. The Ecology of Freedom. Palo Alto: Cheshire, 1982. Manuel, Frank E., and Fritzie P. Manuel. Utopian Thought in the Western World. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1979. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Confessions. Trans. J. M. Cohen. London: Penguin, 1953. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Discourse on the Arts and Sciences. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Social Contract and Discourses. Trans. G. D. H. Cole. London: Dent, 1973. 1-29. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Discourse on the Origin of Inequality. Jacques Rousseau. The Social Contract and Discourses. Trans. G. D. H. Cole. London: Dent, 1973. 31-126. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Emile: or On Education. Trans. Allen Bloom. N.p. 1979. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Social Contract and Discourses. Trans. G. D. H. Cole. London: Dent, 1973. 179-309. Sale, Kirkpatrick. DweJiers in the Land: The Biore&ional Vision. Philadelphia: New Society, 1991. 69