A word from Rousseau

Collin Anderson reports at the Washington Free Beacon that, in his capacity as President Biden’s climate prince, “John Kerry Has Flown More Than 180,000 Miles, Emitting 9.5 Million Pounds of Carbon.” Although Kerry’s air travel supposedly endangers the future of humanity, Kerry is in the air to save the world from the “existential crisis” of climate change caused by carbon emissions. Collin cruelly quotes Kerry: “If you offset your carbon, it’s the only choice for somebody like me, who is traveling the world to win this battle.” You know the thing, as they say, and if not, Collin provides a translation.

Reading the first few pages of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile, or On Education in Allan Bloom’s translation this week, I came across this description of the progressive saviors of humanity such as M. Kerry: “Distrust those cosmopolitans who go to great length in their books to discover duties they do not deign to fulfill around them. A philosopher loves the Tartars so as to be spared having to love his neighbors.” Charles Dickens captured something of the same phenomenon with his depiction of “telescopic philanthropy” in Bleak House, but Rousseau’s concise exposition is the best I have seen. “Distrust” is, shall we say, le mot juste.

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