Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek wrote something very interesting recently in his accessible, hilarious, and pertinent in his new work First as Tragedy, Then as Farce. He is a socialist, quite radical, with some very interesting ideas. I'm a libertarian; quite opposed to socialism as a system, but something this guy wrote resonates with some research I did into Jean Jaques Rousseau, the father of modern conservative priciples.
Žižek writes that making the 'best' decision in a social situation, which pretty much all situations are part of now, given the massive amount of interconnectedness, communication, and transparency in ideology that exists around us, is "not a case of choosing those which, to the best of ones judgment, is really the best, nor even those which average opinion genuine thinks the best. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligent to anticipating what the average opinion expects the average opinion to be" (TF, 10).
This corrosive, destructive, decision making context marred with second guessing is, curiously enough, also something JJ Rousseau touches on in his under-researched Letter to French philosophe D'alembert. I wrote the first draft of a chapter for the head of the Government department a few summers ago, just to see exactly what Rousseau would count as valid political action. I found that, rather than each citizen acting in a way that they think will suit the general will, Rousseau is advocating each citizen doing what he or she thinks is right, because the general will can only organically be created in such a way.
Rousseau says in the Social Contract "Man is born free, but Everywhere [in society] he is in chains," while Žižek understands that in society "Man is forces to act as if he were free".
Two philosophers in polar opposite schools touching on a very similar