David Heleniak has done me the favor of letting me read his forthcoming book, Rousseau and the Real Culture War so that I could review it, and I have to say that I found it quite interesting. Heleniak's point, that the Left and Right are basically identical, is a pretty common observation, but I have never encountered his particular discussion for the reasons why this came about anywhere.
I'm not especially familiar with Rousseau or 18th century French philosophy, and it was startling to see how and why Heleniak considers that his ideas have given rise to the modern Left.
The book does have some flaws, mostly because the organization and presentation of the argument are a bit scattered and it requires some concentration to follow, but the material is sound. Heleniak does a good job of keeping it concise, so it's easy to sit down and read it all the way through. I'm sure we'll be hearing more from Mr. Heleniak in the future. At the moment I'd say he's still an amateur, but a very promising one. There's nothing wrong with being an amateur: I'm one and probably will be for quite some time.
Mr. Heleniak indicated that he plans to have Rousseau and the Real Culture War available at lulu.com sometime next month, and perhaps also available at Amazon or other sites later. I'll post an update when I have firmer information than this.
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