The Facets of the Enlightenment Movement from a Libertarian Perspective:
Destroying the Myth of Rousseau as the ‘Compassionate Progressive’
Keywords:Democracy, monarchy, Private Property Order, French revolution, anarcho-capitalism
This paper pretends to explain the origins of the French Revolution, in particular in regards to its connection with the main proponents of the French Enlightenment. It argues that the Enlightenment movement was rather heterogeneous, shaped by many different thinkers with often incompatible views. The merits of Jean
Jacques Rousseau in regards to conservation and education are described, while equivalently criticizing his rather collectivist ideas and his disputable views on women. It is argued that even if during the main period of the Enlightenment movement, liberal thinkers such as Montesquieu, Turgot, Lafayette and Condorcet had defined political theories based on individual freedom and competition, they were possibly “too far ahead of times” to significantly shape the French Revolution. Independently from the positive aspects of the Enlightenment movement, the actual French Revolution was often collectivist and nationalist and led to a violent phase – the ‘Reign of Terror’. Thus, this analysis allows us to understand the complexity and diversity of the Enlightenment movement and its relation to the actual French Revolution. Consequently, the revolution’s collectivist, nationalist and violent phase must be seen critically, also showing us that the implementation of democratic processes can bear risks, as the ‘majority rule’ can differ quite significantly to the concept of the ‘Rule of Law’.
ALTHUSSER, L. Politics and History: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Marx. London: New Left Books, 1972.
AQUINAS, T. On Law, Morality and Politics. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co, 1988.
BAGUS, P. Wir Schaffen das - Allein. Munich: FBV, 2017.
BEITZ, C. The Idea of Human Rights. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572458.001.0001
BOAZ, D. Thinking about the French Revolution. Britannica Blog, on July 11, 2011.
BOBBIO, N. Locke y el derecho natural. Valencia: Tirant Humanidades, 2017.
BOETTKE, P. The Theory of Spontaneous Order and Cultural Evolution in the Social Theory of F.A. Hayek. Cultural Dynamics, v. 3, n. 1, p. 61–83, 1990. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/092137409000300105
BOYKIN, A. Hayek on Spontaneous Order and Constitutional Design. The Independent Review, v. 15, n. 1, p. 19–34, 2010.
BURKE, E. Reflexiones sobre la Revolución en Francia. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2010.
DE JOUVENEL, B. Rousseau the Pessimistic Evolutionist. Yale: Yale French Studies, 1962. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2928946
DE MOLINARI, G. The Production of Security. NewYork: The Center for Libertarian Studies, 1977.
DEVLETOGLOU, N. Montesquieu and the Wealth of Nations. The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, v. 29, n.1, 1963. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/139366
DWYER, P. G; MCPHEE, P. The French Revolution and Napoleon. A sourcebook. USA: Routledge, 2002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203456835
EUCKEN, W. Technik. Konzentration und Ordnung der Wirtschaft. Ordo, v. 3, n. 1, 1950.
FOUCAULT, M. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
FINNIS, J. Natural law and natural rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
GUÉHENNO, J. Review: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Historical Journal, v. 12, p. 549-565, 1969. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X00007287
GEORGE, R. In Defense of Natural Law. The Mises Review, v. 5, n. 4, 1999. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198267713.001.0001
HAYEK, F.A. The Road to Serfdom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944.
HAYEK, F. A. Law, Legislation and Liberty. London: Routledge, 1973.
HAYEK, F. A. The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226321158.001.0001
HOFFER, E. El verdadero creyente. Sobre el fanatismo y los movimientos sociales. Madrid: Tecnos, 2009.
HOPPE, H. H. Fallacies of the Public Goods Theory and the Production of Security. The Journal of Libertarian Studies, v. 9, n. 1, 1989.
HOPPE, H. H. The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006.
HOPPE, H. H. Demokratie: Der Gott, der keiner ist. Monarchie, Demokratie und natürliche Ordnung. Lüdinghausen: Manuskriptum Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2003.
HOPPE, H. H. On the Impossibility of Limited Government and the Prospects for a Second American Revolution. Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008.
KATEB, G. Aspects of Rousseau’s Political Thought. Political Science Quarterly, v.76, n.4, 1961. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2146539
KELLY, C.; MASTERS, R. The Confessions and Correspondence. The Collected Writings of Rousseau. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1995.
LEONI, B. Freedom and the Law, 3rd ed. Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 1991.
LEVRAT, N. Catalonia’s Legitimate Right to Decide. Paths to Self-Determination. Geneva: University of Geneva, 2017.
LOCKE, J. Two Tracts on Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967.
LOCKE, J. An Essay concerning human understanding. Oxford: Oxford Press, 1975.
MCPHEE, P. La Revolución francesa (1789-1799): una nueva historia. Barcelona: Crítica, 2007.
MELZER, A. Rousseau’s “Mission” and the Intention of his Writings. American Journal of Political Science, v. 27, p. 294-320, 1983. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2111019
MISES, L. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949.
MISES, L. Nation, State, and Economy: Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time. New York: New York University Press, 1983 .
NOZICK, R. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books, 1974.
RAICO, R. World War I: The Turning Point. America’s Pyrrhic Victories. Piscataways: Transaction Publishers, 1999.
RAICO, R. Mises on Fascism, Democracy, and Other Questions. Journal / Libertarian Studies, v. 12, n. 1, 1996.
REIMERS, P. The Myth of National Defense. Procesos de Mercado, v. 15, n. 1, p. 479-504, 2017.
REIMERS, P. Monarchy, Democracy and Private Property Order – How human rights have been violated and how to protect them. Procesos de Mercado, v. 16, n. 1, p. 177-212, 2019.
REIMERS, P. Spontaneous Order versus Central Planning: a Comparison of Michael Polanyi and F. A. von Hayek. Procesos de Mercado, v. 17, n. 2, 2019.
REIMERS, P. Secession, Democracy & Human Right. Mises: Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy Law and Economics, São Paulo, v. 7, n. 1, 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.30800/mises.2019.v7.861
ROUSSEAU, J. J. On the Social Contract, with the Geneva Manuscript and Political Economy. New York: St Martin’s Press, 1978.
ROUSSEAU, J. J-. Confessions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
ROTHBARD, M. For a New Liberty. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1973.
ROTHBARD, M. Man, Economy and the State. Editorial. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2004 .
ROTHBARD, M. War Collectivism in World War I. A New History of Leviathan. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1972.
TOCQUEVILLE, A. El Antiguo Régimen y la Revolución. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2004.
TRASK, H.A. What Brought on the French Revolution? Mises Daily Articles, 2004. Retrieved from: https://mises.org/library/what-brought-french-revolution. Accessed on: Nov 4 2019.
WINSTON, M. Human Rights as Moral Rebellion and Social Construction. Journal of Human Rights, v. 6, n. 3, p. 279-305, 2007. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14754830601098436
How to Cite
This Journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.