A Man Needs A Fish Like A Woman Needs a Bicycle
Monday, January 23, 2006
WHY WE ARE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THE WAR ON TERRORISM--Or, How a Contradiction in Worldviews Threatens Us-The Lockean World (& Part Three):
Locke is a very different kettle of fish than Hobbes. Hobbes believes we have no rights (apart from a general right to struggle to survive) in the state of nature. Hence why, when we enter the state of civil society, we owe Leviathan almost everything. He gives us survival, and we give him obedience.

Locke's destination is different. And so is his starting place. Locke starts in his Second Treatise on Government [sections referred to] with the belief that "every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property." [s27, 28] And, it is the very act of a person's labour that makes the object his or hers. They have a right to that property because their actions led it to having value. Before them, that acorn was a tree seed. After they picked it up, its food [s28]. My food.

In fact, we have a right to these things based on the power of our maker, who in fact has a right to us by the same logic: "all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into the world by his order, and about his business; they are his property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during his, not one another's pleasure." [6] In other words, God made us, we are his property, and no one is allowed to violate his property (without his permission--check out the Book of Job). We have rights, because we are God's property. Our property, in turn has a right to be owned by us and treated well by others, to not be stolen or unfairly used by others, without our permission, for exactly the same reason.

Locke also believes in a state of nature before a state of civil society. "The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions." [6] Life seems pretty good, except that folks have a tendency to hurt each other and rip each other off for pretty much the same reasons that Hobbes offered [7-8]. So, folks have to police themselves and each other to ensure that the law of nature is followed [7-12].

Locke makes a distinction between the state of nature and the state of war [18,19] based on the fact that a state of war exists whenevr someone tries to rip me off of some of my property. This is a major pain, so folks band together and get the State (of civil society) to do the policing for them [21-22]. The aim of civil society is to maintain one's personal freedoms [22-24, 88-90], and personal property [123-125]. And when an arbitrary government [135] tries to promulgate laws that interfere with an individual's rights, that authority may be resisted [220-225] and replaced.

The reason for this is simple. I have inalienable rights in the state of nature--to property, to liberty, and to life. I joined the State voluntarily to help me preserve these. If the State tries to interfere with any of these rights, I am entitled, nay obligated, along with my fellow sufferers to take up arms, if needs be, to protect these rights.

Where is all this going?
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Thoughts on What One Experiences These Days

01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 /


Blogs I Read


Mike Spenis

Megan McArdle

Juan Cole

Joshua Micah Marshall



Emperor Misha I

Andrew Sullivan

Bob Somersby

John Quiggin

John Rogers


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