Rousseau’s Social Contract: How a False Doctrine Inspired Totalitarianism

by Patricia Engler on September 16, 2022
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What does a false worldview from the 1700s have to do with modern communism and with the critical theories gaining rapid traction today? To find out, let’s look closer at the political ideas of eighteenth-century philosopher Jean Jacque Rousseau.

Pop quiz: Which of these elements are considered traits of a free country?

  1. Political censorship can trump freedom of speech
  2. Private property is ultimately controlled by the state
  3. At times, a dictator may be in command
  4. Political dissent is punishable by death
  5. All of the above
  6. None of the above

Many people who have grown up in liberal democracies would answer f. But as we’ll soon see, eighteenth-century philosopher Jean-Jacque Rousseau—whose thinking continues to majorly impact Western culture—suggested the answer is e.

Considering how this answer paints a picture which looks suspiciously like life under later communist regimes, it’s no wonder Rousseau played a vital (if sometimes indirect) role in influencing the thinking behind Marxism. That’s why I stopped by Rousseau’s house in Switzerland during my backpacking journey to trace the history of Marxism, as my last blog post described.

In that post, I mentioned how Rousseau’s unbiblical worldview gave rise to the faulty conclusions in his book, The Social Contract. Let’s look closer at Rousseau’s political writings to see the ideas they sowed, the destructive fruits they reaped, and the roots they left to feed our culture’s worldview today. First, we’d better start with a quick recap of Rousseau’s beliefs.

Statue of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A statue of Rousseau, complete with a pigeon, stands outside the Panthéon in Paris.

The State as the Authority for Truth

Rousseau’s writings show that his worldview stood far from God’s Word which reveals that humans are made in the image of a personal Creator whose Word is our authority.1 This biblical worldview provides a consistent foundation for truth, logic, morality, human value, justice, and human rights. But Rousseau’s worldview lacked this foundation. Believing that humans are inherently good, Rousseau emphasized feelings as the authority defining who we are and how we should live.2

God’s Word reveals, however, that humans are not inherently good but are corrupted by sin.3 So, if we stop to think about it, we may find few scenarios scarier to imagine than a society where everybody truly lives by their feelings. To stave off turmoil, societies that reject God must therefore set something else in God’s place as the ultimate authority, as Dr. Joe Boot observed,

When man frees himself from the sovereignty of God, he discovers a serious problem: absolute autonomy (self-law) leads logically to total anarchy of thought and to social chaos. To avoid this disaster, the individual is inevitably plunged into a collectivity that will assume the role of God. . . . The new man-god is the collective agency for organizing man’s liberty and salvation. . . . Because man is a sinner, these utopian schemes must always be dystopian in their outcomes.4

The history of twentieth-century communism offers tragic examples of such dystopias, revealing how deifying humans as the authority for truth leads to systems that are not only authoritarian but also totalitarian. While authoritarian regimes govern as dictatorships over the body, controlling what people do, totalitarian regimes also function as dictatorships over the mind, controlling how people think.5 As Rod Dreher explained, “A totalitarian state is one that aspires to nothing less than defining and controlling reality. Truth is whatever the rulers decide it is.”6

Books by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The published works of Rousseau, displayed in his former home on St. Peter's Island, Switzerland.

Rousseau, Totalitarianism, and Genesis

Rewind a few centuries, and we find seeds of modern totalitarianism in Rousseau’s writings. Sociologist Robert Nisbit concluded in the Journal of Politics back in 1943, “It is in Rousseau’s absorption of all forms of society into the unitary mould of the state that we may observe the first unmistakable appearance of the totalitarian theory of society.”7

By setting a political body in God’s place as supreme, Rousseau’s move toward totalitarianism marked a fundamental worldview shift which both stemmed from and contributed to a rejection of Genesis. Western Marxist Lucio Colletti described this shift in his book, From Rousseau to Lenin, observing,

Rousseau sees politics as the global response to the problems of man. . . . This primacy of politics stems from a particular view of evil, whose origins Rousseau attributes wholly to society. . . . After Christianity with its claim for the supremacy of the spiritual, Rousseau’s primacy of politics signals a profound transformation of the whole conception of life. Not only does it invalidate the Christian concept of the fall, the idea of original sin, but it subverts the very basis of secular Christianity8 and the school of natural law.9

In other words, Rousseau opposed the Genesis revelation that sin is the root of society’s problems, instead believing that society itself is the problem, and politics—specifically, a kind of totalitarianism—is the solution. Dr. Andrew Levine, a former American philosophy professor who argued for a revisitation of Marxian communism based on Rousseau’s political theories, summarized Rousseau’s doctrine of “sin” and salvation this way:

However, for Rousseau, the Original Sin of the first men and women was not Pride or Disobedience but the introduction of private property in alienable means of production. Although Rousseau had no specifically economic alternative to private property in mind, he did think that rational economic agents could—and would—rectify the antagonisms it engendered at the political level by means of a social contract. Thus, in his view, in contrast to Augustine’s,10 “salvation” is possible through human efforts—thanks, ironically, to the very circumstance, the predominance of private violation, that makes it necessary.11

This is another way of saying Rousseau believed that society, with its origins in property ownership and the division of labor,12 spelled the downfall of humanity, and that a new social order would usher in salvation. Rousseau’s worldview not only assumes a completely different doctrine of corruption and redemption than God’s Word reveals, but it also teaches a works-based salvation requiring submission to a manmade “god.”

Enter, the General Will

The “god” in Rousseau’s salvation scheme would be a totalitarian state ruled by the majority consensus, or “general will” of the people.13 Rather than being a collection of self-serving opinions, the general will would (theoretically) reflect an infallible agreement about what’s “good” for citizens.14 According to Rousseau,

The general will is always right and tends to the public advantage; but it does not follow that the deliberations of the people are always equally correct. Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is; the people is never corrupted, but it is often deceived, and on such occasions only does it seem to will what is bad.15

Basically, Rousseau thought that even though people can make mistakes or be deceived, their informed consensus couldn’t go wrong. He clarified, “If, when the people, being furnished with adequate information, held its deliberations, the citizens had no communication one with another, the grand total of the small differences would always give the general will, and the decision would always be good.”16

But wait a minute. How can Rousseau guarantee a collection of error-prone humans will always make the right decision? History, psychology, and Scripture17 remind us that crowds can be wrong—not only because people can be gullible or misinformed, as Rousseau observed, but also simply because we’re fallible, fallen, and finite. No amount of support for a wrong belief can produce a right belief, any more than a thousand declarations that “1 + 1 = 3” can change the reality of mathematics. That’s why believing a message based only on the number of people who espouse it is a fallacy, or faulty type of logic, called appeal to popularity (ad populum).

But the logical problems with the general will concept go well beyond ad populum fallacies. In the introduction to the 1913 edition of Rousseau’s Social Contract and Discourses, Oxford scholar G. H. Cole notes,

It is impossible to acquit Rousseau in some of the passages in which he treats of the General Will, of something worse than obscurity—positive contradiction. It is probable, indeed, that he never quite succeeded in getting his view clear in his own mind; there is nearly always, in his treatment of it, a certain amount of muddle and fluctuation.18

Despite the concept’s contradictions, fallaciousness, and faulty worldview foundation, Rousseau still held the general will as the “Sovereign” to which citizens would submit themselves under the terms of a new “social contract.” He believed that legislators could guide the “Sovereign” by helping people understand what is truly “good” for them.19 And at times, what is “good” for the people may be a dictator who administrates the general will.20 Either way, the scepter of truth would always rest in human hands.

Manuscript by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A copy of a manuscript titled “The Fifth Promenade,” from Rousseau’s book, Reveries of a Solitary Walker, shows a sample of his handwriting.

The Fine Print of the Social Contract

What does submission to the human “Sovereign” entail? Summarizing the conditions of the social contract, Rousseau said,

[The clauses of the contract], properly understood, may be reduced to one—the total alienation of each associate, together with all his rights, to the whole community; for in the first place, as each gives himself absolutely, the conditions are the same for all; and, this being so, no one has any interest in making them burdensome to others.21

That’s right—humans must submit themselves unreservedly to a community governed by the general will, giving up all their rights in faith that other citizens will not call for tyrannical principles because they themselves will be subject to those same principles. (As to what would happen if a principle’s effects would impact certain people more directly than others—say, principles leading to laws that would censor biblical teachings in the name of the “general good”—we can only speculate.) Rousseau added,

[The social contract] tacitly includes the undertaking, which alone can give force to the rest, that whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.22

If being “forced to be free” sounds a bit ironic, it’s an irony Rousseau was (sort of) prepared to answer. He wrote,

But it is asked how a man can be both free and forced to conform to wills that are not his own. How are the opponents at once free and subject to laws they have not agreed to? I retort that the question is wrongly put. The citizen gives his consent to all the laws, including those which are passed in spite of his opposition, and even those which punish him when he dares to break any of them. The constant will of all the members of the State is the general will; by virtue of it they are citizens and free.23

So, Rousseau’s response to people who question the idea of giving up freedom in the name of freedom is to tell them they’re questioning the wrong way. He argues that submission to the general will makes people free; therefore, people who submit to the general will are free, no matter how unfree they might appear. This argument is not only circular but also founded on a questionable redefinition of “freedom.”24

Window of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s residence

Looking out the window from Rousseau's residence on St. Peter's Island.

A Consequence of Totalitarianism: Rights Become Privileges

Rousseau’s new version of “freedom” comes with enough strings attached to knit an army’s worth of sweaters. He wasn’t kidding that citizens must give themselves and all their rights to the general will. Let’s look closer at how the social contract affects just three of these rights.

1. The right to property

Rousseau’s conception of property isn’t easy to pin down.25 He criticized private land ownership as the beginning of society and its corruption, but also argued that “the right of property is the most sacred of all the rights of citizenship.”26 Like all rights, however, the right to property bows to the general will. Rousseau wrote that under the social contract,

Each member of the community gives himself to [the collective], at the moment of its foundation, just as he is, with all the resources at his command, including the goods he possesses. . . . For the State, in relation to its members, is master of all their goods by the social contract, which, within the State, is the basis of all rights.27

Some interpreters of Rousseau suggest that the state must return ownership to individuals, solidifying property rights for all.28 But while the social contract would theoretically grant a person “proprietorship of all he possesses,”29 the state would still hold the ultimate claim to those possessions. In Rousseau’s words, “Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact,30 only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign is sole judge of what is important.”31

2. The right to free speech

Like his perspective on property, Rousseau’s views on censorship are not always clean-cut.32 However, he devotes an entire section of The Social Contract to discussing censorship, stating, “The censorship upholds morality by preventing opinion from growing corrupt, by preserving its rectitude by means of wise applications, and sometimes even by fixing it when it is still uncertain.”33 Under the social contract, then, citizens must submit their rights to speech to the state as well, allowing censorship to keep public opinion molded to the morals defined by the general will.

3. The right to life

Freedom of speech and property ownership aren’t the highest rights an individual must relinquish under the social contract. A biblical worldview reveals that humans have a fundamental right to life as image-bearers of God;34 however, Rousseau reached a far different understanding by extending his manmade worldview to its logical conclusion.

[A citizen’s] very life, which they have devoted to the State, is by it constantly protected; and when they risk it in the State's defence, what more are they doing than giving back what they have received from it? . . . Furthermore, the citizen is no longer the judge of the dangers to which the law desires him to expose himself; and when the prince says to him: ‘It is expedient for the State that you should die,’ he ought to die, because it is only on that condition that he has been living in security up to the present, and because his life is no longer a mere bounty of nature, but a gift made conditionally by the State.35

Whoa, whoa.

Back up.

Rousseau explicitly stated that under the contract, a collectivist State will own the rights to human life itself. A person’s life is a gift from the State, and the State can take away that gift at any time. This chilling conclusion highlights the consequences of man taking God’s place as the authority for determining truth, personhood, and human rights. Rights become privileges dispensed by humans. This outlook not only opens the door to human rights abuses, but also prevents people from protesting those abuses. As pastor and author Erwin Lutzer notes, “Because it is the state, and not God, that creates rights, it follows that one cannot logically criticize the state for human rights violations.”36

Notably, the idea that states can decide who counts as a person with human rights is the final hallmark of “brainwashing” (or thought reform) environments which psychiatrist Robert Lifton identified in his research of communist prisons.37 We clearly see this hallmark foreshadowed in Rousseau. But the parallels between The Social Contract and later Marxian-inspired regimes don’t end there. Let’s investigate a few big-picture similarities between the teachings of Rousseau and Marx.

Boat named after Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A boat named after Rousseau sits docked on Lake Biel, Switzerland.

From Rousseau to Marxism—and Beyond

At a foundational level, Marx and Rousseau based their thinking on similarly faulty worldviews. They both rejected God’s Word beginning in Genesis, opting instead to promote manmade religions which claimed the ultimate source of humanity’s problems is not our sin, but our social conditions. Specifically, both Rousseau and Marx emphasized the roles of private property, the division of labor, and economic conditions in causing corruption, oppression, and inequality.38 An underlying assumption in both Marxist and Rousseauian thinking39 is that life represents a zero-sum game of winners and losers: one person’s advantage is another’s disadvantage.40 Believing the resulting social conditions have enslaved humanity, Rousseau and Marx stood as radicalizing critics of their cultures—a stance that spills into the neo-Marxist critical theories revolutionizing society today.

In response to their similar faulty worldviews about humanity’s core problem, Marx and Rousseau proposed similar faulty political solutions. Both believed that the key to freeing humanity from its (real or imagined) chains lies in creating totalitarian systems—for Rousseau, the social contract and for Marx, communism.41 Under both systems, a collective of like-minded humans would be the authority for truth. Citizens would enforce this truth on one another, abandoning themselves entirely to the collective. In this way, humanity would redeem itself to achieve a works-based salvation. Summarizing the political parallels between Marx and Rousseau, Lucio Colleti concluded,

My thesis is that revolutionary ‘political’ theory, as it has developed since Rousseau, is already foreshadowed and contained in The Social Contract; or to be more explicit, that so far as ‘political’ theory in the strict sense is concerned, Marx and Lenin have added nothing to Rousseau, except for the analysis (which is of course rather important) of the ‘economic bases’ for the withering away of the State.42
Postage stamp featuring Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A 1962 stamp from Romania's communist era features a portrait of Rousseau. Image by AKA MBG, via Wikipedia.

Considering Rousseau’s remarkable—if originally unsung43—connection to Marxism, it’s little wonder that Rousseau’s face starred on a stamp in communist Romania, or that communist dictator Fidel Castro reportedly called Rousseau his “teacher.”44 The consequences for human rights which unfolded under these and other communist regimes highlight a final major parallel between Rousseau and Marx: their plans could only backfire. As the history of human rights abuses in totalitarian countries reminds us, fallen humanity cannot function as its own authority for truth.

With this reality in mind, we see that the goals of contemporary neo-Marxian movements must backfire too. Like Marx and Rousseau, today’s critical theories rooted in neo-Marxism45 begin from an unbiblical foundation to view social conditions as humanity’s core problem, proposing a major societal overhaul as the solution.46 When critical theorists suggest that individuals’ feelings about their authentic identities should inform political and moral norms, these suggestions also trace back to Rousseau.47 Commenting on Rousseau’s contribution to modern critical theories, Alessandro Ferrara (who is himself a critical theorist) wrote, “Rousseau has long been recognized as a classic in many disciplines—philosophy, political theory, sociological theory, education, literary studies and the history of French literature—and no longer than 50 years has passed since he acquired that status within Critical Theory too.”48

The Foundation of Freedom

From Marxian communism to the critical theories storming culture today, we see that centuries of impactful secular philosophies have roots in Rousseau. These philosophies, like Rousseau’s proposals in The Social Contract, attempt to build freedom and justice on the foundation of an unbiblical worldview. But not even the most intelligent, persuasive, or eloquent philosopher can begin from a faulty foundation and arrive at a functional structure for society. Without the solid foundation of God’s Word, the best-laid plans of philosophers fail, bringing the opposite results of the justice, peace, and freedom promised—results that look like “All of the above” from the pop quiz.

The good news is that, when we start with the right foundation, we find the solution that all these philosophers were seeking. In light of God’s infallible Word, we see that redemption for humanity is possible only through a covenant—not a social contract written by humans, but the New Covenant which Jesus established at the cross. In Christ alone, we find the genuine version of the freedom Rousseau had pursued all along.

Footnotes

  1. See “Who Was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Why Should Christians Care?” Answers in Genesis.
  2. For further information and references, please see the blog post linked above.
  3. E.g., Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23.
  4. Joe Boot, “The Makings of the Utopian Power State,” Ezra Institute, September 2, 2020, a href="https://www.ezrainstitute.com/resource-library/articles/the-makings-of-the-utopian-power-state/">https://www.ezrainstitute.com/resource-library/articles/the-makings-of-the-utopian-power-state/.
  5. See Rod Dreher, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents (New York: Sentinel, 2020), 7–8.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Robert Nisbet, “Rousseau and Totalitarianism,” The Journal of Politics 5, no. 2 (1943): 93–114.
  8. Colletti doesn’t elaborate on what he means by “secular Christianity,” but his statement does apply to secular perspectives that are influenced by a culturally Christian heritage. For instance, many secular Westerners would view murder as a crime, borrowing from the biblical worldview which provides a foundation for morality, justice, and human value. But if Rousseau is right, then people are basically good but are led to murder due to factors like social inequality. This view opposes the biblical doctrine, founded in Genesis, that crimes including murder reflect humanity’s sinful condition, requiring a Savior. Instead, Rousseau’s perspective suggests the solution to murder is not a changed heart, but a changed society based upon totalitarian democracy (the social contract). The concepts of crime and punishment would remain in such a society but would have moved from the timeless biblical foundation for justice to the shifting sands of politics.
  9. Lucio Colletti, From Rousseau to Lenin: Studies in Ideology and Society, trans. John Merrington and Judith White (New York: New Left Books, 1972), 144.
  10. Notably, the concept of salvation by God’s grace rather than human efforts came from Scripture (e.g., Ephesians 2:8–9), not Augustine; however, Augustine famously articulated this biblical doctrine.
  11. Andrew Levine, The General Will: Rousseau, Marx, Communism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 48, Google Books.
  12. The division of labor can refer to a society where different workers have different occupations or to a workplace setting where different workers fulfill different subtasks. This often happens in the context of the “alienable means of production” Dr. Levine referred to; for instance, factories and farms, which are means of producing consumer goods, run efficiently when different workers simultaneously fulfill different subtasks. However, Marx believed the process of laboring for employers in such settings “alienated” humans from achieving their full humanity. See “New Backpacking Journey to Trace the History and Consequences of Marxism.”
  13. See Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Social Contract and Discourses, trans. G. D. H. Cole (London: J.M. Dent; New York: Dutton, 1913), 14–19 and 22–30.
  14. Ibid., 25-26.
  15. Ibid., 25.
  16. Ibid., 25-26.
  17. E.g., Jesus taught that many people are (literally) on the wrong track—the broad road leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13).
  18. G. H. Cole, “Introduction,” in Rousseau, Social Contract and Discourses (1913), xxxi.
  19. Rousseau, Social Contract, 35–38. See also Alessandro Ferrara, “Rousseau and Critical Theory: An Excerpt from Alessandro Ferrara’s Latest Book,” Public Seminar, November 8, 2017, https://publicseminar.org/2017/11/rousseau-and-critical-theory/.
  20. Rousseau, Social Contract, 108–111. See also Marc de Wilde, “Silencing the Laws to Save the Fatherland: Rousseau’s Theory of Dictatorship Between Bodin and Schmitt,” History of European Ideas 45, no. 8 (2019): 1107–1124.
  21. Rousseau, Social Contract, 15; emphasis added.
  22. Ibid., 18.
  23. Ibid., 93.
  24. Robert Nisbit (1943, pp. 99) notes that Rousseau’s version of freedom meant freedom from social ties and dependences within traditional society, which Rousseau believed to be the source of humanity’s corruption.
  25. See Chris Pierson, “Rousseau and the Paradoxes of Property,” European Journal of Political Theory 12, no. 4 (2013): 409–424.
  26. Rousseau, Social Contract, 207, 271.
  27. Rousseau, Social Contract, 19.
  28. David Siroky and Hans-Jörg Sigwart, “Principle and Prudence: Rousseau on Private Property and Inequality,” Polity 46, no. 3 (2014): 381–406.
  29. Rousseau, Social Contract, 19.
  30. Rousseau sometimes used the term “social compact” interchangeably with “social contract.”
  31. Rousseau, Social Contract, 27; emphasis added.
  32. Christopher Kelly, “Rousseau and the Case for (and Against) Censorship,” The Journal of Politics 59, no. 4 (1997): 1232–1251.
  33. Rousseau, Social Contract, 112.
  34. E.g., Genesis 9:6.
  35. Rousseau, Social Contract, 29–30.
  36. Erwin Lutzer, We Will Not Be Silenced (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2020), 262, Hoopla.
  37. Robert Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of ‘Brainwashing' in China (New York: Norton, 1963), 433–437.
  38. Marx focused directly on labor relations and private property as humanity’s root problem (see Karl Marx, “Estranged Labour,” in Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, trans. Martin Milligan [New York: International Publishers, 1964], 106–119), whereas Rousseau viewed society at large, with its basis in property and exchange relations, as the problem (see “Who Was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Why Should Christians Care?”). Property, labor, and exchange relations then exacerbate the problem by being agents of corruption within the corrupting society they helped to establish (see Rousseau, Social Contract and Discourses, 207–224 and Colletti, From Rousseau to Lenin, 163–171). Notably, Rousseau distinguished between two types of inequality: natural inequality resulting from physical differences between people (e.g., differences in height and health) and political inequality which Rousseau said, “consists of the different privileges, which some men enjoy to the prejudice of others; such as that of being more rich, more honoured, more powerful or even in a position to exact obedience.” (Rousseau, Social Contract, 174.) Rousseau, fairly enough, argued that political inequalities are a problem to the extent they are disproportionate to physical inequalities (see Colletti, From Rousseau to Lenin, 190–191). A traditional way to address this discrepancy in free societies is to promote equal opportunities for everyone, but the Marxian solution is to enforce equal outcomes for everyone, as Dr. Joe Boot explains in the video “Justice, Race, and Revolution (Part 1),” available on Answers TV.
  39. For references to this assumption in Marxism, see Alf Hornborg, “Cornucopia or Zero-Sum Game? The Epistemology of Sustainability,” in Globalization and the Environment, 23–35, Brill, 2006; for Rousseau, see Alessandro Ferrara, “Rousseau and Critical Theory: An Excerpt from Alessandro Ferrara’s Latest Book,” Public Seminar, November 8, 2017, https://publicseminar.org/2017/11/rousseau-and-critical-theory/.
  40. Everyday human experience reflects that, while some situations in life are zero-sum (win-lose) situations, many situations have a variety of other possible outcomes, such as win-wins, various potential compromises (partial wins for everyone), or situations where outcomes for one party have little-to-no effect on outcomes for other parties. So, applying zero-sum thinking to cases where other possible outcomes exist besides either (A) Party 1 wins and Party 2 loses or (B) Party 2 wins and Party 1 loses is a type of either/or fallacy.
  41. See Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, trans. Samuel Moore, ed. Fredrich Engels, (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1910).
  42. Lucio Colletti, From Rousseau to Lenin: Studies in Ideology and Society, trans. John Merrington and Judith White (New York: New Left Books, 1972), 185; emphasis added.
  43. Lucio Colletti notes that, while Marx mentioned (and even misquoted) Rousseau, “in spite of the fact of [Marx’s] debt to Rousseau, Marx never gave any indication of being remotely aware of it.” (Colletti, From Rousseau to Lenin, 187).
  44. Colletti, From Rousseau to Lenin, 143.
  45. E.g., sociology professor Dr. Rachel Aldred observed in a book review for the journal International Socialism, “Contemporary critical theories, under pressure from the rebirth of popular protest, are reviving many themes alien to Stalinism and social democracy, but connecting with the Marxist tradition at its best.” Rachel Aldred, “Between the No Longer and the Not Yet,” International Socialism 2:98, Spring 2003, accessed August 2022 from Marxists.org.
  46. For more information on critical theories and a biblical response to them, see Dr. Owen Strachan, Christianity and Wokeness (Washington: Salem Books, 2020). An analysis of how critical theories represent a false gospel in opposition to the biblical worldview is also available in Dr. Voddie Baucham’s book, Fault Lines (Washington: Salem Books, 2021).
  47. Alessandro Ferrara, “Rousseau and Critical Theory: An Excerpt from Alessandro Ferrara’s Latest Book,” Public Seminar, November 8, 2017, https://publicseminar.org/2017/11/rousseau-and-critical-theory/.
  48. Ferrara, “Rousseau and Critical Theory.”

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