In Chapter 5 we sketched out Rousseau’s cultural ideal, embodied in the culture of Geneva. As we saw, Rousseau assigns to the culture of society as it could be the responsibility of harnessing citizens’ amour propre, so that they come to want to behave in ways that are socially beneficial. Now from his own time forward many readers have found Rousseau’s views-including his conception of ideal culture-extremely distasteful. Rousseau’s theory, to be sure, has few of the hallmarks of liberalism; it lacks a respect for what Michael Walzer calls the art of separation (1984). Indeed, contemporary readers have seen in Rousseau the precursor of twentieth-century totalitarianism, by way of the excesses of the French Revolution; this reading is associated with J.L.Talmon (1960: Ch. 3; see also Crocker (1968:115-31)). Talmon’s approach exemplifies an external criticism. Note, for example, his criticism of Rousseau’s conception of sovereignty: ‘Exercise of sovereignty is not conceived [by Rousseau] as the interplay of interests, the balancing of views, all equally deserving a hearing’ (44). The argument here is that Rousseau fails to hold the conception of sovereignty Talmon himself prefers; in general, Talmon rejects Rousseau’s model for political life on the basis of the massive discrepancies between it and liberal values.