‘Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains’

A look on-line at the papers from home today in work caused me to pause for thought on the idea and burning issue of sovereignty in modern democratic societies, especially considering the continuing crisis of Ireland and the EU at large. Iconic philosopher and writer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the man who sparked the French Revolution’s birthday has provided a though-provoking and relevent article from Vincent Brown, the ever out-spoken, political assassin, journalist and broadcaster. The key premise Vincent highlights;

“The idea of the people being sovereign is part of our political jargon, but Rousseau had a far stronger notion of what was meant by “a sovereign people” than is nowadays commonly allowed. It was that the people themselves decide on all the fundamental issues of their society, deciding on the basis of the common good, not on the basis of their factional self-interests. He regarded representative democracy, the version of democracy we have here and that prevails throughout most of the world that is called democratic, as a corruption of the people’s sovereignty for it removed them from decision-making, except at periodic elections when they were momentarily free, and thereafter, once more, mere subjects.”

Leaving Ireland a year and a half ago I was so tired of his political talk-show incessantly beaming out negativity to the nation on the economic turmoil. However this article actually highlights some interesting ideals, reference, critique and connections as to why things have become what they’ve become.

Give a glance and make up your own minds.

– Grace, Melbourne

Periodic elections a corruption of people’s sovereignty.


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