‘Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains’
An oft misunderstood line, the chains are not the chains of an oppressive fascistic force of government that should be destroyed, but simply the limitations placed upon our freedom of action by the existence of other people. The human situation is on of shared social existence.
When we exist amongst others we must take those other into account when we act. We must take them into account, morally, but also simply cannot avoid having our actions limited and formed by their existence, practically.
There are more people on this earth now than there has ever been, this all came crashing home to me when rolling around trying to find some car parking at the airport in Liverpool. It was very difficult to park at the airport, just as it was very difficult to walk around at the airport, just as it was very difficult to get on the plane at the airport, because of all the people at the airport. These crowds, and the difficulty they bring us, are Rousseau’s chains. Each and everyone of them.
These chains are a fact of life, or at least they should be.
The height in privilege now is an escape from these fair chains. For a price, you can upgrade to 1st class. For a price, you can get in the fast track queue.
For a price, you can shed the chains of your fellow humans. It has forever been the dream of the ruling classes. It is desperate and wrong.