In past centuries up to the 1960s,
communal words and phrases like "community," "collective,"
"tribe," "share," and "common good" were very common indeed,
whereas they drastically receded after that date. In the same
line of thought, the contrary words like "preference",
"personalized," "self," "standout" and "I can do it myself"
have lately been used more frequently.
Another element of the story is
de-moralization. General moral terms like "virtue," "decency,"
"prudence" and "conscience" were used less frequently in the
last part of the 20th century. Terms like "faith," "wisdom,"
"evil" and which certainly refer to religious people are on
the decline. Even much less used were words indicative of
moral excellence, like "honesty," "patience" and "compassion".
Also, "modesty" and "kindness" dropped more than 50%. On the
other hand, terms associated with the ability to deliver, like
"discipline", and those associated with fairness too. This
increase suggests that these ‘virtues’ are more relevant to
economic production and exchange.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau gave us the "noble
savage": "Man is good, society has depraved him!"
His books "on the discourse of inequality," Emile
and The Social Contract were landmarks of the French
Revolution. Its effects are seen among us to this day and it
is hard to realize how much the ideology of this madman and
compulsory liar (without speaking of his other problems) has
pervaded our own times. To be antisocial, to compete with
everybody else while crushing them, to assert one’s
personality regardless of the neighbor, to despise any
superior over my liberty, to realize that one is part of a
whole complex society working for the common good: all these
modern ‘rights’ are the fruit of Rousseau’s fertile and
It is interesting that this man, who
wished only to "discard the facts, because they have
nothing to do with the question", who sent his five
illegitimate children to a religious orphanage, has been
catapulted on a pedestal as the model of education of our
youth. May God have mercy on us all!