The Foundations of American Citizenship, Richard C.Sinopoli
Oxford University Press | English | ISBN 0195070674 | 224 pages | PDF | 13.31 MB | 1992
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in his first published discourse that "we have physicists, geometers, chemists, astronomers, poets . . . but we no longer have citizens. In so doing, he pointed to a long-standing, probably eternal, problem of political life. How does an individual reconcile private capacities and goals with the duties—and opportunities—of public life? Rousseau's solution, by and large, consists of a campaign of education and socialization, reminiscent of the Spartans, to remind each and every member of the political community that the good of the community takes precedence over that of any of its members. If you are a poet, Rousseau suggests, your poetry should laud the country that enabled you to develop your gifts. If you are a chemist, your life's work should be put at the service of the community. Each person, is in a sense, public property. Whatever your particular gifts, you are first and foremost a citizen and, as such, you should not only serve the state in your particular occupation but should take an active part in its governance.