The Politics of Authenticity
McCool provides an overview of the political style and theory known as “the politics of authenticity.” He defines this politics as one in which the inward intentions of political actors correspond with their outward appearances, actions, and speech. The main representative of this politics is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who disdained the theatrical, artificial culture of hypocrisy in bourgeois Paris. McCool relies on the analysis of political theorist Marshall Berman to detail how Rousseau, then later Marx, sought to collapse the private and public self to create an intimate, transparent community in which individuals expressed themselves openly, and governed themselves directly. This politics was employed by democratic and social movements in Jacksonian America and into the twentieth century.