Second Treatise of Government ePUB õ Second Treatise

Second Treatise of Government ePUB õ Second Treatise


Second Treatise of Government ❮PDF / Epub❯ ✈ Second Treatise of Government ⚣ Author John Locke – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk The Second Treatise is one of the most important political treatises ever written and one of the most far reaching in its influence In his provocative page introduction to this edition, the late emin The Second Treatise is one of the most important political treatises ever written and one of the most far reaching in its influence In his provocativepage introduction to this edition, the late eminent political theorist C B Macpherson examines Locke s arguments for limited, conditional government, private property and right of revolution and suggests reasons for the appeal of these arguments in Locke s time and since.


10 thoughts on “Second Treatise of Government

  1. Tony Tony says:

    100 things I ve learned from Ayn Rand sJohn Locke s Second Treatise of Government 1 God gave the world to Adam, and his successive heirs.2 Therefore, by the natural laws of succession i.e primogeniture , that means everything in the world should now be owned by one supreme King.3 Hmmm That doesn t sound so good 4 Hey What s that over there 5 As I was saying, everything in the world is owned in common by everyone.6 But not like the stupid way the English do it with Common land , w 100 things I ve learned from Ayn Rand sJohn Locke s Second Treatise of Government 1 God gave the world to Adam, and his successive heirs.2 Therefore, by the natural laws of succession i.e primogeniture , that means everything in the world should now be owned by one supreme King.3 Hmmm That doesn t sound so good 4 Hey What s that over there 5 As I was saying, everything in the world is owned in common by everyone.6 But not like the stupid way the English do it with Common land , where no one can do anything without getting everyone s permission first.7 If that were the natural state of things, then father couldn t just put lots of meat on the dinner table for the whole family to eat, he d have to tell everyone what their portion was first, and that would be madness.8 Rather, anyone should be allowed to just take anything they want The very act of taking it makes it theirs.9 This is clearly how God intended things, as he commanded man to work, and thus my labour in picking up an apple makes it mine.10 Don t be greedy though You re only allowed to take anything you can actually use before it spoils.11 This applies to land too You can simply take as much land as you like without asking anyone s permission, but only if you re actually able to properly tend to it.12 Some people claim that this is reducing the Commons, but they ve obviously never learned how to count Land that is well looked after produces ten times as much value as land that s just lying idle So if I take 10 acres and use it to feed myself, society hasn t lost those 10 acres, it has gained 90 acres Or maybe even 900 13 If you have taken too much from the commons say, too many plums then one way to avoid having them spoil is to trade them with someone else If someone gives you lots of, say, nuts that will last a year for your excess plums, then crisis avoided If those plums spoil now, it s his fault, not yours.14 And now, better yet, get someone to give you sparkly metal for those nuts That will never spoil 15 Now that you have property that is rightfully yours, you re allowed to use lethal force to defend it.16 If someone has already managed to steal everything you own, then your recourse is to the law.17 But if someone is actively trying to steal something say, your coat from you right now, then you don t have time to go find a magistrate somewhere to stop him, so instead you re entitled to just kill him 18 Nature itself tells us this is obviously so Just as you can t reason with a wild animal, any person who resorts to force against you is no different to a beast of prey, and should be killed like one.19 Oh, and when I talk about laws of nature, you know what I mean I don t want to go into detail of how that works, but anyway I don t need to, as it s all as obvious and plain as commonwealth law Clearer, in fact.20 Just like how when a husband and wife disagree, it s obvious that someone needs to make the final decision, and naturally that will be the man.21 So, yes, anyway, it s the thief s fault that I don t have time to go find a judge, so I m allowed to kill him if I can.22 And when I say kill , I also mean that I can force him to be my slave instead After all, he ll be happy to be a slave instead of being dead And any time he decides that he doesn t like it any , he can just refuse to do what I say, thus bringing about the death he obviously wants instead.23..99 And now that I ve derived from first principles that society is just a collective formulation of all these natural rights, it s fairly obvious how government should work 100 Unfortunately I lost most of the first draft of this treatise, which was an excellent fisking of that ass Filmer But, oh well, that s probably OK, as surely no one believes him anyanyway, and now you get to read this instead And if this is as good as I think it is and, trust me, it really is that good , then the lost pages are no great loss at all With the proviso that I ve only read it, not studied it PS I strongly recommend Jonathan Bennett s translation into modern English It makes it so much easier to see the crazinessunderstand the text


  2. B. P. Rinehart B. P. Rinehart says:

    3 Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of private property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common wealth from foreign injury and all this only for the public good. So I finally have read political philosophy that makes sense This is the philosopher that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison swore by and who 3 Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of private property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common wealth from foreign injury and all this only for the public good. So I finally have read political philosophy that makes sense This is the philosopher that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison swore by and who is essential to understanding modern democratic governance With this treatise, which was a polemic against absolute monarchy, you see the project started by Aristotle in his Politics finally reach its conclusion for the most part This book is not a relatively long read when you consider its subject matter so I will not have to go into a extended summary on it Basically, humanity starts out in a very free, very equal state of nature were everything is shard with every one and the law of nature which is reason rules all If you cause conflict you go into a state of war and all just measures can be used to subdue you It is constant in nature, and after it, that preservation of yourself first and others is key which means slavery is not allowed of yourself or anybody else When you start to acquire private property though, the state of nature is not a very good place to be anyand this is where hu man start s to make a civil society and all the laws that come with it Civil society, while nice, is not perfect and it is when your government starts messing with your ability to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of property then you have a right to revolution This treatise, of course, is really known for its establishment of what we now call liberal government It is the main reason I feel this to be the best work of political philosophy I have read Locke says that in the end it does not matter what form of government you have The reason is that two principles have to be in place a the government relies on the consent of the people or citizenry and b that the government acts in a limited role, doing only what is necessary for the well being of civil society This last point is easily the most confusing because what any society considers necessary is not set in stone This is just a very short, abridged and inadequate summary of some of the knowledge in this book The reason I don t go intodetail is because it is much better that you read this book yourself than hear it second hand This goes especially if you live under a government that is theoretically limited in its role and based on the consent of the governed because you are basically living in John Locke s commonwealth If you had to read one book on political philosophy, this is the book


  3. Jeremy Jeremy says:

    It feels sort of like Hobbes for optimists, except he places a much higher emphasis on personal vs collective property rights, which comes across as the precursor to most of the capitalist oriented d bag philopshy that s sprouted up in the past century The notion that not being able to personally own something makes it useless and trifiling to us gets its foundation here I could see Karl Marx frothing at the mouth and writing some bitter diatribe after reading something like this I was also It feels sort of like Hobbes for optimists, except he places a much higher emphasis on personal vs collective property rights, which comes across as the precursor to most of the capitalist oriented d bag philopshy that s sprouted up in the past century The notion that not being able to personally own something makes it useless and trifiling to us gets its foundation here I could see Karl Marx frothing at the mouth and writing some bitter diatribe after reading something like this I was also surprised at just how much of this is grounded on cherry picked scriptural references, probably explains why it s almost obnixously upbeat If nothing else his writing style is waaaaay easier to get through than Hobbes s Leviathan


  4. Beth Beth says:

    This is Locke s most famous political work, in which he explains the role of legitimate government and the basis for legitimate revolution Locke argues that the people have the right to dissolve the government if it is usurped by a tyrannical executive power, or if the government ignored its own duties Then the people have the right to reform the structure of government so that it protects against future abuses of power or breaches of trust Locke wants to show that his argument for a right to This is Locke s most famous political work, in which he explains the role of legitimate government and the basis for legitimate revolution Locke argues that the people have the right to dissolve the government if it is usurped by a tyrannical executive power, or if the government ignored its own duties Then the people have the right to reform the structure of government so that it protects against future abuses of power or breaches of trust Locke wants to show that his argument for a right to revolution will not lead to excessive unrest, so he emphasizes that as long as people have a reliable way to change their laws, they are unlikely to resort to force to overthrow the government There s also a chapter on the rights of parents over their children Chapter 6 Of Parental Power , in which Locke argued criticized the prevalent idea that the power of parents over their children is wholly in the father, as if the mother had no share in it whereas, if we consult reason or revelation, we shall find, she hath an equal title Locke s discussion of slavery allows for one way that he says slavery can be legitimate The state of slavery can result from a continued state of war between the winning side in a just war and the defeated aggressors, in which the winner has the right to enslave the captives in return for sparing their lives There s a clear contradiction between this theory and slavery as it actually existed, since Atlantic slavery was hereditary I reread this book in the Well Educated Mind Histories Group I haven t looked at any secondary sources except the Stanford Encyclopedia article on Locke the section on the Two Treatises of Government can be found here


  5. Erik Graff Erik Graff says:

    This book was assigned reading for the Social and Political Philosophy class at Loyola University Chicago It s a rewarding, yet easy, read.John Locke s Second Treatise has long been mentioned as a major factor in forming the mindsets of the authors of the Constitution of the USA There is certainly, as Wittgenstein would put it, a family resemblance , but a study of the library contents of the period indicates that actually it may not have been much read at the time It certainly wasn t his This book was assigned reading for the Social and Political Philosophy class at Loyola University Chicago It s a rewarding, yet easy, read.John Locke s Second Treatise has long been mentioned as a major factor in forming the mindsets of the authors of the Constitution of the USA There is certainly, as Wittgenstein would put it, a family resemblance , but a study of the library contents of the period indicates that actually it may not have been much read at the time It certainly wasn t his most popular book In any case, when the framers spoke and wrote, their references were muchoften to the idealized days of the Roman Republic than to the theories of Locke or any other roughly contemporary political philosopher Still, the kind of thinking enunciated by Locke was apparently in the air and his arguments regarding governmental legitimacy are powerful at least to those of us indoctrinated since childhood with such ideals as that governments require legitimization beyond brute force or tradition.The basic idea is this governments derive legitimacy from the consent of the governed in other words, they are contractual arrangements Any notion that this is historically descriptive is certainly dubious, but the idea is certainly relevant to the founding of this republic years after his death It was also, during that period, apparently both realistic and practical, the existence of the American frontier allowing adults the possibility of opting out such contracts.Of course, Locke has his blindspots He does deal with the issue of children, endorsing the idea that young men upon attainment of their majority ought be able to become outlaws Tho young boys remain coerced, they have the prospect of freedom He does not, however, at least to my recollection, give thought to girls and women Nor does he think of those adult members of the community who are, owing to physical or mental disability, unable to fend for themselves Most egregiously, however, he neglects the native inhabitants of the American and of all other habitable frontiers of his and of our later revolutionary age.Still, it is a powerful idea and an attractive one So powerful and constituative is it of the secular American religion that the loss of the frontier, of any realistic way to opt out of the American system, out of any governmental system, constitutes a radical challenge to the very foundations of the claim that the United States of America is in any way specially sanctioned.I should very much like to live in a society in which this, the matter of governmental legitimacy, was an issue of actual concern, rather than of pious mythologization Any government worthy of our respect must needs include among its functions the maintenance of real means to escape its authority Indeed, making allowance for race and gender blindness, our government, and that of our Britannic parent, used to act with some mind to just that when the mythic frontiers of America and of Australia seemed quite real Oh, it was half assed and self serving, but frontiers were seen as social safety valves and these, and other, governments did make some efforts to make it possible for citizens to get away from noxious authority by such means as the Northwest Territories and Homestead Acts Nowadays, however, while rugged individualism and frontier virtues are still invoked by the political priesthoods, the actual fact is quite the contrary Our government grows everintrusive, everoppressive, everinescapable and everdisrespected while it should, at least, be striving to engage with the other powers and principalities in order to create the conditions for all of them to obtain and maintain legitimacy This can be done.Science fiction writers has dealt with this issue for decades, solving the problem of legitimacy in various ways On one extreme there is the vast body of literature about pioneers in space, usually just hi tech versions of sixteenth through eighteenth century colonists, pioneers, adventurers, pirates and the like These pictures are, of course, unrealistic, given the technologies involved and the capitalization that they would entail On the other extreme, andrealistically, there have been some who have envisioned futures when vast areas of our planet have been depopulated in order to allow for outlawry As I recall, Huxley makes a wilderness Australia the alternative to his dystopian brave new world and a private retreat the haven for psychedelic pilgrims in his Island Neither work out, but they could Here, in the Midwest, we have created a national park in the Indiana Dunes by exemplary intention.Unless nature forces the issue by radical depopulation, such an effort will not yield immediate results If the nations unitedly decided to create a frontier of, say, Australia assuming it would be big enough and clement enough to be a real alternative to those not liking the existing social contracts available elsewhere and willing to bear the hardships of independent outlawry , it would have to occur over time given the interests of its current inhabitants Otherwise, one might consider global efforts to reduce the human population and perhaps concentrate the remainder so as to allow ever increasing frontier areas everywhere, frontiers offering freedoms ranging from weekend excursions to lifelong escape Or, and this I just have a glimmer of, perhaps future developments in computer technology, the world wide web and self induced altered states of consciousness will allow our descendents other dimensions of freedom barely imaginable to us now, but real enough to them as to serve as alternatives to unwanted authority.In any case, John Locke, way back in the transitional years of the 17 18th centuries, got me started worrying about this stuff Quite an accomplishment


  6. Amy Amy says:

    Always a favorite.


  7. Michael O& Michael O& says:

    I think that the best description for this book is that it formed much of the Founding Fathers source code behind their political thought, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution Now, we largely take it for granted that all men are created equal and are endowed with natural rights In 1690, in a time when the Divine Right of Kings was still very much in acceptance, Locke s contention that all men are have the same natural rights was a revolutionary notion which he developed in ju I think that the best description for this book is that it formed much of the Founding Fathers source code behind their political thought, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution Now, we largely take it for granted that all men are created equal and are endowed with natural rights In 1690, in a time when the Divine Right of Kings was still very much in acceptance, Locke s contention that all men are have the same natural rights was a revolutionary notion which he developed in justification of England s Glorious Revolution which overthrew King James II Because of Locke s major influence on Thomas Jefferson, I read this book Surprisingly, Locke forms many of his beginning basis of his arguments on natural rights from the Bible something that I was not told about in either high school or college in their mentions of his political philosophy Probably not a good book for a weak reader, but definitely worth the effort for anyone seeking to learn the background from which America s greatest patriots drew their principles during and after the American Revolution


  8. Andrew Andrew says:

    Even if all of the concepts in this book are bullshit it is still an important read because powerful people thought it was important I enjoy the idea that property is a product of labour, but it really doesn t hold up in most circumstances, and especially not in our world of scarce resources I can t just pick a plum and claim it mine I like the idea of a state of war in which all the rights and duties fly out the window But, when do I know if I m in a state of war And, further, if by Even if all of the concepts in this book are bullshit it is still an important read because powerful people thought it was important I enjoy the idea that property is a product of labour, but it really doesn t hold up in most circumstances, and especially not in our world of scarce resources I can t just pick a plum and claim it mine I like the idea of a state of war in which all the rights and duties fly out the window But, when do I know if I m in a state of war And, further, if by breaking my rights the opposition enters into a state of war with me, what substance do those rights have And then so much of what is right and wrong is defined by those in power, so unless there s a serious and obvious breach, I have no right to declare that those Powers have entered into a state of war Locke created an ultra rational basis of government and authority that doesn t work in our unkempt world But it is still a basis of some sort, and it was apparently influential on the constitution of that one country who s international influences distorts everyone s reality This sort of work is powerful because it gives people the rational justification to do what they want to do It s something that everyone should read And, really, I did enjoy the read, and I won t judge a book by its influence for good or bad as any important book could be construed in which ever way you want to interpret its influence.note I was extremely confused by his stance on slavery At one point it seems like a slave is his her master s property, but in another point Locke seems to say that an individuals liberty liberty being a type of property can never be sacrificed I don t understand how I can justifiably become a slave, and if I can t then no slave is justifiably property which would be congruent with modern notions of human rights


  9. Jacob Aitken Jacob Aitken says:

    A book much talked about sometimes maligned but rarely read There are several good reasons, namely Locke articulates a rather clear and logically coherent theory of resistance buton that later.Like Hobbes and Rousseau, albeit with different andgodly conclusions, Locke analyzes man in his state of nature What is this state of nature It is men living together in reason without a common superior III.19 If that is so, then why would anyone surrender a portion of his liberty and A book much talked about sometimes maligned but rarely read There are several good reasons, namely Locke articulates a rather clear and logically coherent theory of resistance buton that later.Like Hobbes and Rousseau, albeit with different andgodly conclusions, Locke analyzes man in his state of nature What is this state of nature It is men living together in reason without a common superior III.19 If that is so, then why would anyone surrender a portion of his liberty and authority to incorporate into a state Locke gives a clear, if not entirely consistent answer men incorporate together because of the precariousness of solitary existence Agreed, but if the state of nature is what it is, then why do men have to worry Labour as Distinction and Valuation Labour creates a distinction between his and common Labour begins the distinction of property.Whatever a man cannot use for himself returns to the realm of common V.29 Locke argues, contra later libertarians, that things have an intrinsic value, though not absolutely so V.37 Their value depends on their usefulness to the life of man Labour puts the difference of value on everything V.40 Labour puts the value on land Labour gives the right of property V.45.Money, however, has subjective value V.47 It Has value from the consent of men I think Locke has struck a good balance here His emphasis on labour and the land maintains a healthy work ethic a point Adam Smith capitalized on, much to the anger and ire of the Misesian School He ends his treatise with a discussion of representative government and the right and limits of resistance


  10. Knox Merkle Knox Merkle says:

    This is one that I ll definitely have to come back to When you come away from a classic with an entirely different opinion about it than much of Western civilization and many people whose opinions you greatly respect, the problem s probably with you and not everyone else That said, I think his entire philosophy is built on unbiblical and unchristian foundations The Bible is clear that man s state of nature is political Taking the Garden of Eden by itself, it s not all that clear but Christ, This is one that I ll definitely have to come back to When you come away from a classic with an entirely different opinion about it than much of Western civilization and many people whose opinions you greatly respect, the problem s probably with you and not everyone else That said, I think his entire philosophy is built on unbiblical and unchristian foundations The Bible is clear that man s state of nature is political Taking the Garden of Eden by itself, it s not all that clear but Christ, as the second Adam and the Son of Man, is ruling as king, and there is clearly hierarchy in heaven Matt 20 21 23, Rev 4 4 to name a few references which means a biblical state of nature is political Therefore, Locke s whole project of getting us from a state of nature to political society is rejecting Scriptural truth He also tries to build political authority from the bottom up, saying that the authority of a ruler comes from the individual This contradicts Christ s claim that all authority has been given to him meaning that the individual has no authority to give to a ruler , and Paul s claim that political authority comes from God I think that a Christian who accepts Locke s social contract theory is trying to answer the question of how we know who has political authority, but ends up with a wrong answer to a very different question about the nature and origin of authority His philosophy is deist at best, and I don t believe it can be reconciled with biblical truth


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10 thoughts on “Second Treatise of Government

  1. Tony Tony says:

    100 things I ve learned from Ayn Rand sJohn Locke s Second Treatise of Government 1 God gave the world to Adam, and his successive heirs.2 Therefore, by the natural laws of succession i.e primogeniture , that means everything in the world should now be owned by one supreme King.3 Hmmm That doesn t sound so good 4 Hey What s that over there 5 As I was saying, everything in the world is owned in common by everyone.6 But not like the stupid way the English do it with Common land , w 100 things I ve learned from Ayn Rand sJohn Locke s Second Treatise of Government 1 God gave the world to Adam, and his successive heirs.2 Therefore, by the natural laws of succession i.e primogeniture , that means everything in the world should now be owned by one supreme King.3 Hmmm That doesn t sound so good 4 Hey What s that over there 5 As I was saying, everything in the world is owned in common by everyone.6 But not like the stupid way the English do it with Common land , where no one can do anything without getting everyone s permission first.7 If that were the natural state of things, then father couldn t just put lots of meat on the dinner table for the whole family to eat, he d have to tell everyone what their portion was first, and that would be madness.8 Rather, anyone should be allowed to just take anything they want The very act of taking it makes it theirs.9 This is clearly how God intended things, as he commanded man to work, and thus my labour in picking up an apple makes it mine.10 Don t be greedy though You re only allowed to take anything you can actually use before it spoils.11 This applies to land too You can simply take as much land as you like without asking anyone s permission, but only if you re actually able to properly tend to it.12 Some people claim that this is reducing the Commons, but they ve obviously never learned how to count Land that is well looked after produces ten times as much value as land that s just lying idle So if I take 10 acres and use it to feed myself, society hasn t lost those 10 acres, it has gained 90 acres Or maybe even 900 13 If you have taken too much from the commons say, too many plums then one way to avoid having them spoil is to trade them with someone else If someone gives you lots of, say, nuts that will last a year for your excess plums, then crisis avoided If those plums spoil now, it s his fault, not yours.14 And now, better yet, get someone to give you sparkly metal for those nuts That will never spoil 15 Now that you have property that is rightfully yours, you re allowed to use lethal force to defend it.16 If someone has already managed to steal everything you own, then your recourse is to the law.17 But if someone is actively trying to steal something say, your coat from you right now, then you don t have time to go find a magistrate somewhere to stop him, so instead you re entitled to just kill him 18 Nature itself tells us this is obviously so Just as you can t reason with a wild animal, any person who resorts to force against you is no different to a beast of prey, and should be killed like one.19 Oh, and when I talk about laws of nature, you know what I mean I don t want to go into detail of how that works, but anyway I don t need to, as it s all as obvious and plain as commonwealth law Clearer, in fact.20 Just like how when a husband and wife disagree, it s obvious that someone needs to make the final decision, and naturally that will be the man.21 So, yes, anyway, it s the thief s fault that I don t have time to go find a judge, so I m allowed to kill him if I can.22 And when I say kill , I also mean that I can force him to be my slave instead After all, he ll be happy to be a slave instead of being dead And any time he decides that he doesn t like it any , he can just refuse to do what I say, thus bringing about the death he obviously wants instead.23..99 And now that I ve derived from first principles that society is just a collective formulation of all these natural rights, it s fairly obvious how government should work 100 Unfortunately I lost most of the first draft of this treatise, which was an excellent fisking of that ass Filmer But, oh well, that s probably OK, as surely no one believes him anyanyway, and now you get to read this instead And if this is as good as I think it is and, trust me, it really is that good , then the lost pages are no great loss at all With the proviso that I ve only read it, not studied it PS I strongly recommend Jonathan Bennett s translation into modern English It makes it so much easier to see the crazinessunderstand the text

  2. B. P. Rinehart B. P. Rinehart says:

    3 Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of private property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common wealth from foreign injury and all this only for the public good. So I finally have read political philosophy that makes sense This is the philosopher that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison swore by and who 3 Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of private property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common wealth from foreign injury and all this only for the public good. So I finally have read political philosophy that makes sense This is the philosopher that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison swore by and who is essential to understanding modern democratic governance With this treatise, which was a polemic against absolute monarchy, you see the project started by Aristotle in his Politics finally reach its conclusion for the most part This book is not a relatively long read when you consider its subject matter so I will not have to go into a extended summary on it Basically, humanity starts out in a very free, very equal state of nature were everything is shard with every one and the law of nature which is reason rules all If you cause conflict you go into a state of war and all just measures can be used to subdue you It is constant in nature, and after it, that preservation of yourself first and others is key which means slavery is not allowed of yourself or anybody else When you start to acquire private property though, the state of nature is not a very good place to be anyand this is where hu man start s to make a civil society and all the laws that come with it Civil society, while nice, is not perfect and it is when your government starts messing with your ability to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of property then you have a right to revolution This treatise, of course, is really known for its establishment of what we now call liberal government It is the main reason I feel this to be the best work of political philosophy I have read Locke says that in the end it does not matter what form of government you have The reason is that two principles have to be in place a the government relies on the consent of the people or citizenry and b that the government acts in a limited role, doing only what is necessary for the well being of civil society This last point is easily the most confusing because what any society considers necessary is not set in stone This is just a very short, abridged and inadequate summary of some of the knowledge in this book The reason I don t go intodetail is because it is much better that you read this book yourself than hear it second hand This goes especially if you live under a government that is theoretically limited in its role and based on the consent of the governed because you are basically living in John Locke s commonwealth If you had to read one book on political philosophy, this is the book

  3. Jeremy Jeremy says:

    It feels sort of like Hobbes for optimists, except he places a much higher emphasis on personal vs collective property rights, which comes across as the precursor to most of the capitalist oriented d bag philopshy that s sprouted up in the past century The notion that not being able to personally own something makes it useless and trifiling to us gets its foundation here I could see Karl Marx frothing at the mouth and writing some bitter diatribe after reading something like this I was also It feels sort of like Hobbes for optimists, except he places a much higher emphasis on personal vs collective property rights, which comes across as the precursor to most of the capitalist oriented d bag philopshy that s sprouted up in the past century The notion that not being able to personally own something makes it useless and trifiling to us gets its foundation here I could see Karl Marx frothing at the mouth and writing some bitter diatribe after reading something like this I was also surprised at just how much of this is grounded on cherry picked scriptural references, probably explains why it s almost obnixously upbeat If nothing else his writing style is waaaaay easier to get through than Hobbes s Leviathan

  4. Beth Beth says:

    This is Locke s most famous political work, in which he explains the role of legitimate government and the basis for legitimate revolution Locke argues that the people have the right to dissolve the government if it is usurped by a tyrannical executive power, or if the government ignored its own duties Then the people have the right to reform the structure of government so that it protects against future abuses of power or breaches of trust Locke wants to show that his argument for a right to This is Locke s most famous political work, in which he explains the role of legitimate government and the basis for legitimate revolution Locke argues that the people have the right to dissolve the government if it is usurped by a tyrannical executive power, or if the government ignored its own duties Then the people have the right to reform the structure of government so that it protects against future abuses of power or breaches of trust Locke wants to show that his argument for a right to revolution will not lead to excessive unrest, so he emphasizes that as long as people have a reliable way to change their laws, they are unlikely to resort to force to overthrow the government There s also a chapter on the rights of parents over their children Chapter 6 Of Parental Power , in which Locke argued criticized the prevalent idea that the power of parents over their children is wholly in the father, as if the mother had no share in it whereas, if we consult reason or revelation, we shall find, she hath an equal title Locke s discussion of slavery allows for one way that he says slavery can be legitimate The state of slavery can result from a continued state of war between the winning side in a just war and the defeated aggressors, in which the winner has the right to enslave the captives in return for sparing their lives There s a clear contradiction between this theory and slavery as it actually existed, since Atlantic slavery was hereditary I reread this book in the Well Educated Mind Histories Group I haven t looked at any secondary sources except the Stanford Encyclopedia article on Locke the section on the Two Treatises of Government can be found here

  5. Erik Graff Erik Graff says:

    This book was assigned reading for the Social and Political Philosophy class at Loyola University Chicago It s a rewarding, yet easy, read.John Locke s Second Treatise has long been mentioned as a major factor in forming the mindsets of the authors of the Constitution of the USA There is certainly, as Wittgenstein would put it, a family resemblance , but a study of the library contents of the period indicates that actually it may not have been much read at the time It certainly wasn t his This book was assigned reading for the Social and Political Philosophy class at Loyola University Chicago It s a rewarding, yet easy, read.John Locke s Second Treatise has long been mentioned as a major factor in forming the mindsets of the authors of the Constitution of the USA There is certainly, as Wittgenstein would put it, a family resemblance , but a study of the library contents of the period indicates that actually it may not have been much read at the time It certainly wasn t his most popular book In any case, when the framers spoke and wrote, their references were muchoften to the idealized days of the Roman Republic than to the theories of Locke or any other roughly contemporary political philosopher Still, the kind of thinking enunciated by Locke was apparently in the air and his arguments regarding governmental legitimacy are powerful at least to those of us indoctrinated since childhood with such ideals as that governments require legitimization beyond brute force or tradition.The basic idea is this governments derive legitimacy from the consent of the governed in other words, they are contractual arrangements Any notion that this is historically descriptive is certainly dubious, but the idea is certainly relevant to the founding of this republic years after his death It was also, during that period, apparently both realistic and practical, the existence of the American frontier allowing adults the possibility of opting out such contracts.Of course, Locke has his blindspots He does deal with the issue of children, endorsing the idea that young men upon attainment of their majority ought be able to become outlaws Tho young boys remain coerced, they have the prospect of freedom He does not, however, at least to my recollection, give thought to girls and women Nor does he think of those adult members of the community who are, owing to physical or mental disability, unable to fend for themselves Most egregiously, however, he neglects the native inhabitants of the American and of all other habitable frontiers of his and of our later revolutionary age.Still, it is a powerful idea and an attractive one So powerful and constituative is it of the secular American religion that the loss of the frontier, of any realistic way to opt out of the American system, out of any governmental system, constitutes a radical challenge to the very foundations of the claim that the United States of America is in any way specially sanctioned.I should very much like to live in a society in which this, the matter of governmental legitimacy, was an issue of actual concern, rather than of pious mythologization Any government worthy of our respect must needs include among its functions the maintenance of real means to escape its authority Indeed, making allowance for race and gender blindness, our government, and that of our Britannic parent, used to act with some mind to just that when the mythic frontiers of America and of Australia seemed quite real Oh, it was half assed and self serving, but frontiers were seen as social safety valves and these, and other, governments did make some efforts to make it possible for citizens to get away from noxious authority by such means as the Northwest Territories and Homestead Acts Nowadays, however, while rugged individualism and frontier virtues are still invoked by the political priesthoods, the actual fact is quite the contrary Our government grows everintrusive, everoppressive, everinescapable and everdisrespected while it should, at least, be striving to engage with the other powers and principalities in order to create the conditions for all of them to obtain and maintain legitimacy This can be done.Science fiction writers has dealt with this issue for decades, solving the problem of legitimacy in various ways On one extreme there is the vast body of literature about pioneers in space, usually just hi tech versions of sixteenth through eighteenth century colonists, pioneers, adventurers, pirates and the like These pictures are, of course, unrealistic, given the technologies involved and the capitalization that they would entail On the other extreme, andrealistically, there have been some who have envisioned futures when vast areas of our planet have been depopulated in order to allow for outlawry As I recall, Huxley makes a wilderness Australia the alternative to his dystopian brave new world and a private retreat the haven for psychedelic pilgrims in his Island Neither work out, but they could Here, in the Midwest, we have created a national park in the Indiana Dunes by exemplary intention.Unless nature forces the issue by radical depopulation, such an effort will not yield immediate results If the nations unitedly decided to create a frontier of, say, Australia assuming it would be big enough and clement enough to be a real alternative to those not liking the existing social contracts available elsewhere and willing to bear the hardships of independent outlawry , it would have to occur over time given the interests of its current inhabitants Otherwise, one might consider global efforts to reduce the human population and perhaps concentrate the remainder so as to allow ever increasing frontier areas everywhere, frontiers offering freedoms ranging from weekend excursions to lifelong escape Or, and this I just have a glimmer of, perhaps future developments in computer technology, the world wide web and self induced altered states of consciousness will allow our descendents other dimensions of freedom barely imaginable to us now, but real enough to them as to serve as alternatives to unwanted authority.In any case, John Locke, way back in the transitional years of the 17 18th centuries, got me started worrying about this stuff Quite an accomplishment

  6. Amy Amy says:

    Always a favorite.

  7. Michael O& Michael O& says:

    I think that the best description for this book is that it formed much of the Founding Fathers source code behind their political thought, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution Now, we largely take it for granted that all men are created equal and are endowed with natural rights In 1690, in a time when the Divine Right of Kings was still very much in acceptance, Locke s contention that all men are have the same natural rights was a revolutionary notion which he developed in ju I think that the best description for this book is that it formed much of the Founding Fathers source code behind their political thought, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution Now, we largely take it for granted that all men are created equal and are endowed with natural rights In 1690, in a time when the Divine Right of Kings was still very much in acceptance, Locke s contention that all men are have the same natural rights was a revolutionary notion which he developed in justification of England s Glorious Revolution which overthrew King James II Because of Locke s major influence on Thomas Jefferson, I read this book Surprisingly, Locke forms many of his beginning basis of his arguments on natural rights from the Bible something that I was not told about in either high school or college in their mentions of his political philosophy Probably not a good book for a weak reader, but definitely worth the effort for anyone seeking to learn the background from which America s greatest patriots drew their principles during and after the American Revolution

  8. Andrew Andrew says:

    Even if all of the concepts in this book are bullshit it is still an important read because powerful people thought it was important I enjoy the idea that property is a product of labour, but it really doesn t hold up in most circumstances, and especially not in our world of scarce resources I can t just pick a plum and claim it mine I like the idea of a state of war in which all the rights and duties fly out the window But, when do I know if I m in a state of war And, further, if by Even if all of the concepts in this book are bullshit it is still an important read because powerful people thought it was important I enjoy the idea that property is a product of labour, but it really doesn t hold up in most circumstances, and especially not in our world of scarce resources I can t just pick a plum and claim it mine I like the idea of a state of war in which all the rights and duties fly out the window But, when do I know if I m in a state of war And, further, if by breaking my rights the opposition enters into a state of war with me, what substance do those rights have And then so much of what is right and wrong is defined by those in power, so unless there s a serious and obvious breach, I have no right to declare that those Powers have entered into a state of war Locke created an ultra rational basis of government and authority that doesn t work in our unkempt world But it is still a basis of some sort, and it was apparently influential on the constitution of that one country who s international influences distorts everyone s reality This sort of work is powerful because it gives people the rational justification to do what they want to do It s something that everyone should read And, really, I did enjoy the read, and I won t judge a book by its influence for good or bad as any important book could be construed in which ever way you want to interpret its influence.note I was extremely confused by his stance on slavery At one point it seems like a slave is his her master s property, but in another point Locke seems to say that an individuals liberty liberty being a type of property can never be sacrificed I don t understand how I can justifiably become a slave, and if I can t then no slave is justifiably property which would be congruent with modern notions of human rights

  9. Jacob Aitken Jacob Aitken says:

    A book much talked about sometimes maligned but rarely read There are several good reasons, namely Locke articulates a rather clear and logically coherent theory of resistance buton that later.Like Hobbes and Rousseau, albeit with different andgodly conclusions, Locke analyzes man in his state of nature What is this state of nature It is men living together in reason without a common superior III.19 If that is so, then why would anyone surrender a portion of his liberty and A book much talked about sometimes maligned but rarely read There are several good reasons, namely Locke articulates a rather clear and logically coherent theory of resistance buton that later.Like Hobbes and Rousseau, albeit with different andgodly conclusions, Locke analyzes man in his state of nature What is this state of nature It is men living together in reason without a common superior III.19 If that is so, then why would anyone surrender a portion of his liberty and authority to incorporate into a state Locke gives a clear, if not entirely consistent answer men incorporate together because of the precariousness of solitary existence Agreed, but if the state of nature is what it is, then why do men have to worry Labour as Distinction and Valuation Labour creates a distinction between his and common Labour begins the distinction of property.Whatever a man cannot use for himself returns to the realm of common V.29 Locke argues, contra later libertarians, that things have an intrinsic value, though not absolutely so V.37 Their value depends on their usefulness to the life of man Labour puts the difference of value on everything V.40 Labour puts the value on land Labour gives the right of property V.45.Money, however, has subjective value V.47 It Has value from the consent of men I think Locke has struck a good balance here His emphasis on labour and the land maintains a healthy work ethic a point Adam Smith capitalized on, much to the anger and ire of the Misesian School He ends his treatise with a discussion of representative government and the right and limits of resistance

  10. Knox Merkle Knox Merkle says:

    This is one that I ll definitely have to come back to When you come away from a classic with an entirely different opinion about it than much of Western civilization and many people whose opinions you greatly respect, the problem s probably with you and not everyone else That said, I think his entire philosophy is built on unbiblical and unchristian foundations The Bible is clear that man s state of nature is political Taking the Garden of Eden by itself, it s not all that clear but Christ, This is one that I ll definitely have to come back to When you come away from a classic with an entirely different opinion about it than much of Western civilization and many people whose opinions you greatly respect, the problem s probably with you and not everyone else That said, I think his entire philosophy is built on unbiblical and unchristian foundations The Bible is clear that man s state of nature is political Taking the Garden of Eden by itself, it s not all that clear but Christ, as the second Adam and the Son of Man, is ruling as king, and there is clearly hierarchy in heaven Matt 20 21 23, Rev 4 4 to name a few references which means a biblical state of nature is political Therefore, Locke s whole project of getting us from a state of nature to political society is rejecting Scriptural truth He also tries to build political authority from the bottom up, saying that the authority of a ruler comes from the individual This contradicts Christ s claim that all authority has been given to him meaning that the individual has no authority to give to a ruler , and Paul s claim that political authority comes from God I think that a Christian who accepts Locke s social contract theory is trying to answer the question of how we know who has political authority, but ends up with a wrong answer to a very different question about the nature and origin of authority His philosophy is deist at best, and I don t believe it can be reconciled with biblical truth

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