"Every virtuous nation
has shown respect to women.
Germany, and Rome." 1
The school of law and literature seeks to
examine law from the perspective of literary analysis. It
proposes that court cases are a form of literature and can be
studied with literary tools. It also argues that literature can
inform court decisions and interpretations of law because
literary analysis can be used to interpret legal texts.
Literature presents a dynamic image to the reader. The reader
takes up lessons from the story and then lives them out. Thus,
literature serves to instill voluntary Foucauldian
self-policing, the internalization of norms for compliance.
In this article, I present a critique of
Rousseau's parable of the love story of his fictional ideal
young citizens, Sophie and Emile. I argue that this parable
embodies and reproduces hierarchical inequalities and seeks to
compel the citizen to internalize the values of rugged sexism
that Rousseau thinks best serve the state. I will not so much
focus on literary devices as I will on the actual story line, to
see how the story line creates scenarios on which legislators
and judges may act. Essentially, the story presented is a set of
scenarios for the society to take up and live out. Rousseau is
scriptwriter for the entire French Nation and, due to the
universalistic vision of French liberalism, the entire world.
The problem is the stories Rousseau is telling us are usually
outright disgusting, though they are occasionally
Rousseau's position on gender inequality is the
same old story: he presents a symbolic equality of the sexes,
but then replaces it with a real inequality justified by the
character of "natural" differences. The result is subjugation
of women (homosexuals are beyond the pale of course), by and
under the influence of social games. The problem is that in
these games, there are no fireworks; they at the same time both
hide and reveal inequality, inequality that leads to suffering.
Rousseau does not describe the ugly side of gender relations,
the reality of gender oppression. The omitted part of his story
is, in that sense, the more important side. And that is the
reality of law, literature, and gender: gender as abuse,
ownership, domination, and control. Violence is invisible,
unimportant, secondary, and something to be ignored, if not
swept under the table. Literature is the vector to expose or
impose that reality.
A. Illusory Equality
Rousseau begins to build his
inequality-in-equality story with a comparison and contrast of
In all that does not
relate to sex, woman is man. She has the same organs, the same
needs, the same faculties. The machine is constructed in the
same manner . . . .
In all that does
relate to sex, woman and man are in every way related and in
every way different. The difficulty in comparing them comes from
the difficulty of determining what in the constitution of both
comes from sex and what does not. . . .
All we know for
certain is that everything in common between men and women must
come from their species and everything different must come from
their sex. 2
One could suppose that the fundamental distinction
for Rousseau really is based only on reproduction. But he goes
well beyond that and indeed essentially reiterates the same
gender inequality found in Plato and Aristotle.
Perhaps it is not fair to judge civilizations
that lived under another mode of production by our own values.
It is impossible to completely ameliorate or repair the damage
of slavery, racism, or sexism. But we must judge and criticize
these "dead white males." Otherwise, the damage which is the
logical outcome of their thinking repeats. If there is any doubt
that Rousseau is sexist, perhaps the following passage dispels
restraint [the so-called "natural" gender relations] produces a
docility which woman requires all her life, for she will always
be in subjection to a man, or to man's judgment, and she will
never be free to set her own opinion above his. 3
To which I can only say: Oh. Really?
B. "Natural" Inequality of Talents
Having started by basing inequality in
reproductive power, Rousseau turns that into inequality
according to specific reproductive role and finally, into
generalized sexual inequality according to social role. Rousseau
presents these inequalities as due to "natural" merits, but in
reality, they are socially constructed around the roles of
dominator and dominated. Rousseau constructs sex as a game, a
merely symbolic hunt. But in fact sex was, and to a lesser
extent than ever still is, the hunt of dominator to capture and
dominate the dominated: rape is just the obvious example. For
Rousseau, sex as hunting and dominance by men over women are
"inevitable" and "natural."
Rousseau's so-called natural inequality
results from different reproductive powers and the resulting (to
my view *4
constructed) social roles. For Rousseau, this
inequality is also "natural":
All the faculties
common to both sexes are not equally shared between, them, but
taken as a whole they compensate for each other. Woman is worth
more as a woman and less as a man. When she makes a good use of
her own rights, she has the advantage; when she tries to usurp
our rights, she stays beneath us. It is impossible to go against
this general truth except by quoting exceptions, which is the
usual manner of argumentation by partisans of the fair sex. 4
Fairly obviously, this discourse is a
discourse by men, among men, about women. From a literary
perspective, it is a monologue, and that is why it is so empty
and dissatisfying even after history has proven Rousseau wrong.
The ideal of a complementary partnership is the better vision of
Rousseau. It is the reality to create. But the social relations
he wanted to reproduce in the short-term (Christian elements of
docility and familiarity) will not encourage equal partnerships
- though the ones he wanted to encourage in the long term (pagan
elements of strong women) might.
Rousseau justifies a different education for
young girls than for boys by sex inequality, but thereby
perpetuates that inequality. For example, he writes:
To cultivate the
masculine virtues in women and to neglect their own is obviously
to do them an injury. Women are too clear-sighted to be thus
deceived. When they try to usurp our privileges they do not
abandon their own. But the result is that being unable to manage
the two, because they are incompatible, they fall below their
own potential without reaching ours and lose half of their
worth. Believe me, wise mother, do not try to make your daughter
a good man in defiance of *5
nature. Make her a
good woman, and be sure it will be better both for her and us. 5
Thus, we see that for Rousseau any
affirmation of substantive equality is "usurpation." The choice
of that term, "usurpation," shows the inequality inherent in
his thinking. Usurpation is an attack by ones lower on their
superior. Moreover, the characterization of sexual dissidents as
demented and of deviance from heterosexuality as perversion and
a source of suicides, murders, and forced sexual relations is
C. "Natural" Inequality of Intelligence
Rousseau believed that women were
intellectually limited because he believed that sex inequality
was the "natural result of natural facts." Regarding women's
intellect, he writes plainly that:
Women are no strangers
to the art of thinking, but they should only skim the surface of
logic and metaphysics [i.e. women should focus on practical
works]. . . . She makes most progress [success] in the moral
sciences and sthetics; as to physical science she retains some
vague idea of the general laws and order of this world. 6
It reminds one of the characterizations of
the intelligence of so-called "inferior" humans in Africa.
Rousseau continues in this vein:
The search for
abstract and speculative truths, for principles and axioms in
science, for all that tends to wide generalisation, is beyond a
woman's grasp; their studies should be thoroughly practical. . .
. A woman's thoughts, beyond the range of her immediate duties,
be directed to the study of men, or the
acquisition of that agreeable learning whose sole end is the
formation of taste. For the works of genius are beyond her
reach, and she has neither the accuracy nor the attention for
success in the exact sciences. As for the physical sciences, to
decide the relations between living creatures and the laws of
nature is the task of that sex which is more active and
enterprising, which sees more things, that sex which is
possessed of greater strength and is more accustomed to the
exercise of that strength. Woman, weak as she is and limited in
her range of observation, perceives and judges the forces at her
disposal to supplement her weakness, and those forces are the
passions of man. . . . She must find a way to make us desire
what she cannot achieve unaided and what she considers necessary
or pleasing. Therefore she must have a thorough knowledge of
man's mind - not an abstract knowledge of the mind of man in
general, but the mind of those men who are about her, the mind
of those men who have authority over her, either by law or
Woman should discover,
so to speak, an experimental morality; man should reduce it to a
system. Woman has more wit, man more genius; woman observes, man
reasons. Together they provide the clearest light and the
profoundest knowledge which is possible to the unaided human
mind - in a word, the surest knowledge of self and of others of
which the human race is capable. 8
*7 D. The Critique of Naturalism
My criticism of Rousseau is not limited to
the effects of his ideas (which are rape, suicide, murder, and
mental and physical deformations). I also criticize his basing
his proposals on the idea of "natural" inequality. The results
of Rousseau's ideas are several types of violence. If one sees
that the result of the type of thought Rousseau exemplifies,
typical western patriarchy, is several varieties of violence,
then one must ask whether Rousseau's assumptions are incorrect.
We will see that his idea of "nature" is either ambiguous
(without definition) or circular.
Nature can be defined in at least two ways:
(1) what exists - because all things are natural phenomena and
(2) what is "normal," customary, and usual.
If I say that something is natural
descriptively, then the only thing I say is that it exists in
the universe. However, "nature" in discourse is usually not
meant merely descriptively. Rather, nature as an argument for
what ought to be is essentially a prescription. For example,
homosexuality exists, and so it is in fact natural. But many
"natural" law theorists would never admit the natural character
"Nature" as prescriptive is almost always
used equivocally - to claim that what ought to be is what in
fact is the case, that deviations from what ought to be ought
not in fact exist as they are not a part of nature. "Nature" as
a prescription presents the idea that a thing is "natural" if
it leads to the "good" - if it is customary, normal, and in
short, accepted by the dominant class: "natural," not as what
exists (a description), but rather as what is normal, i.e. the
norm (a prescription - what ought to be). To use the nature of
things as an argument, to say that something is, and then
consequently that another thing should be, is usually an
equivocation and/or contains a hidden enthymematic premise. The
idea of prescriptive "nature" is just about always
pseudo-reasoning because nature-as-a-prescription is almost
always linked to an equivocation between the idea of nature as a
description (describing the universe as it is) and "nature" as
prescription, i.e. a description of how the author wants the
world to be. *8
Finally, if the "natural" really is what "is,"
then there is not much point in arguing out what it "is" since
it is the case, is even self-evident, and probably does not
imply anything prescriptive, being as it is the case. The sort
of naturalist reasoning which equivocates between nature as a
description and natural as a prescription is inadmissible, but
not because of a supposed refusal of inferring from ought to is.
Rather, reasoning from is to ought is inadmissible here because
of the equivocation of prescriptive and descriptive uses of the
term nature and/or enthymematic presumptions which usually mask
that equivocation. As I have said elsewhere, Hume is badly
misunderstood by late modern American legal theory.
Why is there a presumption of the existence
of a "natural" order of things? The "natural order" is
necessary as the foundation of several value judgments. If there
is a natural order, which inevitably leads to truth and/or
happiness, then it is right to follow that. But "nature"
(existential) order (a description) includes several things that
are not "natural" (prescriptives).
This "natural order" is an assumption. For
"nature" in the universal sense (nature is defined as anything
existing) generally has no prescriptive usefulness (unlike a
chain of statements about nature). We cannot demonstrate the
existence of a natural order even one iota different from the
reality that does exist. Murder is descriptively "natural"
because murder happens in nature. However, no one would argue
that murder ought to be normal because it is a part of the
Whenever trying to externalize a model of
"reality," one risks universalizing his own individual
experiences, which is not at all a scientific method because it
leads to the risk of errors due to lack of comparative
verification and the limited experiences of any one individual.
In Emile, Rousseau made the presumption that socially
constructed relations are "natural," i.e. genetic. But his
externalization of that model is not necessarily bad if there
are ways to contest, compare, and synthesize the various
opinions - which explains the power of dialectical method.
Comparison and interplay of each individual's model of reality
through social interaction is the *9
justifying democracy in a world based on mutual respect and
mutual consent. It seems to be the best, perhaps the only, way
of conducting human affairs. Critics of skepticism and moral
relativism were strong enough to upset the old moral order: it
must be reestablished on a more human and less dogmatic basis.
The alternative is morally and economically unthinkable - more
genocide, war, and pointless dehumanization with attendant
poverty both literal and metaphoric.
II. Mythology and Contradiction: Sparta
"Return with your
shield - or on it." 9
"A Spartan mother had
five sons in the army and awaited news of the battle. A Helot
arrived; trembling she asked his news. "˜Your five sons have
been killed."™ "˜Vile slave, was that what I asked you?"™ "˜We
have won the victory."™ She ran to the temple to give thanks to
the gods. That was a citizen." 10
My position is that Rousseau is sexist. I
must clarify that his vision of women is at times contradictory.
Rousseau wants to create a strong, athletic woman, but also to
have the docile, motherly woman. The "classic" myth of women in
the West is the "vision" of the virgin/prostitute (Mary, mother
of Jesus and Mary Magdalene; the proper woman at dinner and the
whore in bed). This "vision" was then expropriated and used by
capitalism in pornography. But the crypto-pagan Rousseau has a
different ideal: the duality of mother/warrior. Although he
eroticizes power and glorifies war, at least this vision offers
more opportunities for women's development and self-expression.
However, Rousseau combines his ideal with the detritus of the
virgin/whore complex. The better description would be that there
is a sub-current of the *10
vision of the woman who remains as a relic (and as a
contradiction) in the thought of Rousseau.
History teaches us that Sparta was a
militarized, communist society. Its economy was undeveloped
because Spartans believed that an easy life would lead to
weakness. Their objective was to structure their society so as
to have a strong military with which to defend themselves.
According to the legends, Sparta was gifted with very strong and
talented athletes. Not only men, but also women exercised their
physical talents there.
Thus, Sparta was a hierarchical society on
the military level, but was egalitarian on the economic and
sexual levels. With regard to equality, history teaches us that
the best commissioned officers worked their way up through the
ranks of non-commissioned officers and that the best form of
leadership is informal. 11
History also teaches us that
these same societies have produced women warriors. Thus, we see
a correlation between equality in a society and the quality of
its military force. Rousseau's Sparta looks like an ideal Polis
in several aspects.
The quotations above, which glorified war,
show the idealization of Sparta by Rousseau and that his idea of
the relationship between women and men is dichotomous, split
between the vision of the church (total bivalent inequality) and
the Roman vision (a bond between spouses, but inequality
relating to the powers over children and third parties).
Rousseau's theory is distorted and
contradictory on the topic of women and the role of women in war
as well as in his construction of other physical relationships
between the sexes. He seeks to create a new woman to compliment
his new man. So, he wants a strong woman, a new Minerva, but
also a mother:
The exaggeration of
feminine delicacy leads to effeminacy in men. Women should not
be strong like men but for them, so that their sons may be
strong. Convents and boarding-schools, with their plain food and
ample opportunities for activities, *11
games in the open air and in the garden, are better in this
respect than the home. . . . 12
In Sparta the girls
used to take part in military sports just like the boys, not
that they might go to war, but that they might bear sons who
could endure hardship. That is not what I desire. To provide the
state with soldiers it is not necessary that the mother should
carry a musket and learn Prussian drills. 13
Rousseau again follows Plato on the need for
a militarized communal society, saying:
I am quite aware that
Plato in the Republic assigns the same gymnastics to women and
men. Having rid his government of private families and knowing
not what to do with the women, he was forced to make them into
men. That great genius has figured out everything and foreseen
everything; he has even thought ahead to an objection that
perhaps no one would ever have raised; but he has not succeeded
in meeting the real difficulty. I am not speaking of the alleged
community of wives, the oft-repeated reproach concerning which
only shows that those who make it have never read his works. I
refer to the civil promiscuity which everywhere brings the two
sexes in the same occupations, the same work, and could not fail
to engender the most intolerable abuses. I refer to that
subversion of all the tenderest of our natural feelings, which
are sacrificed to an artificial sentiment that can *12
only exist by their aid. 14
As if a natural bond were not required in order to form
conventional ties; or that love for one's relations were not the
basis for the love that one owes to the state; or that it is not
through one's attachment to the small society of the family that
the heart becomes attached to the larger society of one's
nation; or that it is not the good son, the good husband, the
good father who makes a good citizen!" 15
The reason for exercise is frankly functional
- to bring forth strong children, a pagan outlook. But at the
same time, Rousseau wants to keep women in the same position as
the old order - wife and protective mother, docile, Christian.
Rousseau seems to think the two competing visions are
complementary. But the contradiction is fundamental enough to be
evident at times in his own texts: "Can she be a nursing mother
to-day and a warrior tomorrow?" 16
Well, why not? Other than
the fact that war kills women's children.
The division between mother and warrior is
fairly fundamental to Rousseau - but it is not always the case
historically. He ignores the fact that historically there were
women warriors; the most recent examples being those in the
Soviet Union during the Second World War, Israel, Vietnam, and
Eritrea during their wars of independence. Historically, women
warriors also existed in Scythia, although the patriarchy does
not want to admit that.
In trying to find the ideal city (kalipolis),
we contrast the Polis in Sparta (communist, militarized, and
conservative) and Athens (aristocratic, artistic, philosophical,
and liberal). In general, late modernity sees greater virtu in
Athens because it was freer, more liberal. Is that the case?
Were you freer in Sparta or Athens? I think the ideal of liberty
is at least ambiguous, if not empty. The human condition is
fundamentally dependent physically and mentally. We are *13
conditioned in many ways and by many experiences.
How can we speak of abstract freedom? It seems to me that the
idea of freedom is used (and abused) generally to justify
inequalities as "natural" and/or "contractual." Freedom as an
abstract "glittering generality" seems empty of meaning and
therefore is an ideal tool of demagogues. To show this, I
propose the following argument: does liberty consist in choosing
to do right or in doing what is right? Is the freedom to poison
and fatten and harm one's self freedom? Freedom, if it exists,
is to know what is right and to choose to do it - which still is
conditioned, relative, and to that extent, predetermined.
Predetermination and freedom seem contradictory.
So the question becomes in which society
would one have the best opportunity to know and choose to do
Let us carry the debate forward 2000 years.
In the 1970s, where would one have had the best opportunity to
know and choose to do right - in the United States (Athens) or
the Soviet Union (Sparta)? The former was decadent. The latter
was authoritarian and sclerotic. If you are in a decadent
society, you are not likely to be able know the good - there are
too many bad possibilities. But if you are in an authoritarian
society, it is also nearly impossible to know the good because
there are no alternatives.
This indicates that the question of
autonomous moral choice is a false one: we always have imperfect
knowledge and to that extent, are not free. Seeing that we are
constructed by our society, that we are inevitably the product
of this society, and that our knowledge is inevitably partial,
how could we make a "free choice"? Heuristics help. If a
proposition leads to bad ends, it is probably bad too. The truth
produces truths (which are not necessarily good - something can
be true and bad). Lies produce lies. The difference between
truth and falsehood is revealed here - lies in general do not
lead to good things, especially in the long term. A thing may be
true, but bad, but it is very rare that something is false and
good. This is a general rule, and general rules are not
universally true. Nevertheless, this proposal is sufficiently
certain that we can depend on it as a way to live practically.
It seems to me that the opposition between truth
and falsehood is absolute. Thus, their opposition cannot be
synthesized. It is a destructive opposition, not a synthetic
III. Sex and Violence
Rousseau's inequality appears innocent, but
leads to the reality of violence. So, I have to deal with the
topical of sexual violence.
Most people believe what they want to believe
and do not believe what they do not want to believe. We are all
shaped by our experiences to interpret "reality" in accord with
our dominant assumptions. To overcome this obstacle was one
target of Nietzsche in his quest for " bermenschen" - supermen.
The initiatory cults - the army, sects, and police - seek to
generate, more or less consciously, a shock sufficient to force
the subject to rethink all his experiences. In the case of
dominating organizations, the objective is to destroy the
subject and instill the ideas of the organization. The
liberating cults also seek to shock, but thereby to force the
subject to rethink all the time and to think for himself - i.e.
to start to philosophize and to escape from the tendency to just
assume that whatever we observe is one more case of reality
confirming our assumptions. Rousseau shows unintentional
blindness in this way when he addresses the topic of sexual
violence. He interprets social reality to conform to his
erroneous presumptions. For example, he wrote: "The freest and
sweetest of acts does not permit of any real violence; indeed
both reason and nature are against it." 17
That sentence is ignorant. Rousseau seems unable to believe in
the reality of sexual violence or to conjecture that sexual
violence is pervasive. He does not want to see the ugly reality
because that reality is ugly. Similar statements appear
elsewhere, for example, "[T]he stronger is the master in all
appearance and yet in effect depends on the weaker." 18
That is wrong. The economically *15
sex was sexually dominant because it was economically
independent. Men were not in fact dependent on women, but women
were dependent on men. The consent of women to sex in that
system was mere acquiescence and was often absent.
The sex-violence nexus is pervasive, either
due to evolution or economic relations, but probably both. In
any case, sexual violence is there, a reality and a pervasive
one. I suppose the sex-violence nexus exists, to varying levels,
in most relationships. And the results are not always (even most
of the time?) "just a game" - just ask any victim. But having
an understanding of this fact is the first step to changing it.
You can escape the "game" of capitalist, sexualized violence
put into service of the economic order. No one has a monopoly on
sublimation or eroticism.
The blindness of Rousseau on the reality of
sexual violence is also evident in the following passage:
The progress of
enlightenment acquired through our vices has considerably
changed the earlier opinions held among us on this point, and
one hardly hears speak any more of cases of sexual violence
since they are so seldom needed and because men no longer would
believe them. Yet such stories are common enough among the
ancient Greeks and Jews, for such views belong to the simplicity
of nature; it is only the experience of libertinage [that] has
been able to uproot them. If fewer acts of violence are cited in
our days, it is surely not because men are more temperate. It is
because they are less credulous, and a complaint which would
have persuaded simple people would provoke only mocking laughter
among ourselves. Therefore silence is the better course. In the
Book of Deuteronomy in the Bible there is a law under which the
abused maiden was punished along with her seducer if the crime
were committed in a town, but if in the country or in a lonely
place, the latter alone was *16
"For," says the law, "the maiden cried for help but was not
heard." From this benign interpretation of the law, girls
learned not to let themselves be surprised in well-frequented
Rousseau does not seem to understand that
victims of crime are not at fault and that claims of rape are
generally sincere. Rousseau holds women responsible for being
The same vision of super-responsibility for
women also manifests in Rousseau's view of marriage.
[I]t is not permitted
to anyone to violate his faith, and every unfaithful husband who
deprives his wife of the sole reward of the austere duties of
her sex is an unjust and cruel man. But the unfaithful wife does
more; she dissolves the family and breaks the bonds of nature.
By giving the man children that are not his own she betrays all
of them; she adds treachery to infidelity . . . . 20
What really counts most for Rousseau is
social opinion. "It is thus not only important that the wife be
faithful but that she be judged so by her husband, by those near
him, by everyone. . . . [S]he must have in others' eyes as in
her own conscience the evidence of her virtue." 21
That passage highlights the fact that social "reality" is
socially constructed and is more double standard.
*17 C. Objectification of Women
The logical conclusion of the thought of
Rousseau, which was inherent from the beginning, is that woman
is a thing defined around her reproductive ability. Children are
property and so are women - property owned by men. Women are a
capital good: they produce more women. The mechanization of
women to breed soldiers and workers, a common theme in the West,
appears quite clearly in Rousseau's thought. "Women, you say, do
not always have children. No, but their proper aim is to do so.
Just because there are a hundred or so large cities in the world
where women live licentiously and have few children can you
claim that their role is to have few children?" 22
But that is exactly what economic development led to: women
having fewer children, more of whom survived into adulthood;
pursuing careers; and adopting a sexuality wherein consent
became possible because economic dependence ended.
A problem of one school of natural law
(natural law as God's own law, for example) is that when it sees
facts in nature, it does not like it; it throws the belief that
law should reflect "nature" out the window. Prescriptive
theories of natural law often ignore the facts of nature.
Returning to the critique of Rousseau, he
mixes colonization and objectification of women in the following
passage, where he makes a comparison of animals to humans:
Yet female animals
are without this sense of shame and what is the result? Do they,
like women, have the same unlimited desires that shame serves to
curb? With female animals, their desire comes only with need.
When the need is satisfied, the desire ceases and they no longer
make a pretense of repulsing the male but do it for real. They
do exactly the contrary of what the daughter of Augustus did;
once the boat is filled with cargo, they refuse to take on more
Here, Rousseau speaks of animals and slave ships
as an analogy for women. However, sexual relations are not a
combat. Rousseau argues that desire among women is not as easy
to meet as that of men. Maybe the men are bad in bed?
Relations between the sexes according to
Rousseau are inevitably and naturally unequal. His view, in my
opinion, is twisted and leads to twisted outcomes.
D. War Between the Sexes?
Rousseau concluded his book with the
marriage of his two puppets. At least in his sub-conscious, he
recognizes the internal contradictions in his thinking. He
describes the so-called seduction of the strong, but stupid
Emile orchestrated by the ugly, but useful Sophie: "The charms
of this maiden enchantress rush like torrents through his heart,
and he begins eagerly to quaff down the poison with which he is
A loving relationship does not begin with
poison. If Rousseau wanted to build a little Minerva, he
finished instead with a spider. The choice of the term "poison"
by Rousseau shows the fear, power, and war which is inherent in
sexual relations - according to his perspective. This pathetic
story is sad and could be otherwise. That is the reality to
Conclusion: Emile, a Tragicomedy
1. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile,
or On Education, 1367 (Barbara Foxley trans., J. M. Dent &
Sons Ltd. 1911) (1762), available at http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/pedagogies/rousseau/contents2.html.
Rousseau intends to present several stirring
stories explaining the justice of his worldview. We are told,
essentially, of the girl who cried rape, the girl who did not
know her place, the girl who tried to be a man, the girl who had
sex with some other man, and above all, the baby factory for the
war machine. The good girl is useful for something after all.
These stories however shape judicial and political consciousness
and have influenced who knows how many people by presenting them
a presentiment and model of situations to live out in their own
lives. The best use of this literature today is as tragicomedy.
It is tragic because the sort *19
nightmares it presages really are avoidable, yet comic because
history has definitively outgrown the world Rousseau believes we
live in or ought to live in. Karl Marx said, "History repeats
itself - first as tragedy, then as farce." As the left learns
to mock its opponents, I look forward to seeing more tragedies
2. Id. at 1251-52.
3. Id. at 1300.
4. Id. at 1275.
5. Id. at 1276.
6. Id. at 1494.
7. Id. at 1357.
9. This is a proverb attributed
to Spartan mothers. See Plutarch, Lacaenarum Apophthegmata, in III
Moralia 465 (Frank Cole Babbitt trans., Loeb Classical Library
10. Id. at 26.
11. See United States Army,
Military Leadership, FM 21-100.
12. Rousseau, supra note 1, at
13. Id.at 1285.
14. I believe here he means
15. Rousseau, supra note 1, at
16. Id. at 1269.
17. Id. at 1260.
18. Id. at 1261.
19. Id. at 1262.
20. Id. at 1266.
21. Id. at 1267.
22. Id. at 1268.
23. Id. at 1258.
24. Id. at 1457.