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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 heirs2 Therefore by the natural laws of succession ie primogeniture that means everything in the world should now be owned by one supreme King3 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 everyone6 But not like the stupid way the English do it with “Common land” where no one can do anything without getting everyone’s permission first7 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 madness8 Rather anyone should be allowed to just take anything they want The very act of taking it makes it theirs9 This is clearly how God intended things as he commanded man to work and thus my labour in picking up an apple makes it mine10 Don’t be greedy though You’re only allowed to take anything you can actually use before it spoils11 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 it12 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 90013 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 yours14 And now better yet get someone to give you sparkly metal for those nuts That will never spoil15 Now that you have property that is rightfully yours you’re allowed to use lethal force to defend it16 If someone has already managed to steal everything you own then your recourse is to the law17 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 one19 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 fact20 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 man21 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 can22 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 instead2399 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 work100 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 any anyway 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 conseuently 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 goodSo 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 eual 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 acuire private property though the state of nature is not a very good place to be any and this is where human starts 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 inadeuate summary of some of the knowledge in this book The reason I don't go into detail 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. 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 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 eual 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


  4. 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 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


  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 readJohn 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 much often 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 reuire legitimization beyond brute force or traditionThe 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 contractsOf 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 ageStill 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 sanctionedI 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 uite 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 uite the contrary Our government grows ever intrusive ever oppressive ever inescapable and ever disrespected 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 doneScience 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 and realistically 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 intentionUnless 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 authorityIn any case John Locke way back in the transitional years of the 17 18th centuries got me started worrying about this stuff uite 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 eual 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 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 influencenote I was extremely confused by his stance on slavery At one point it seems like a slave is hisher 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. Armin Armin says:

    Easier than I thought I mean I always thought classical philosophy texts are hard to grasp but this one actually wasn’t Many parts of it have lost validity over centuries; there is a part where he mentions “there aren’t many examples of people abolishing their political bonds to create a new body politic” and I am pretty sure when Jefferson was reading those lines he was like “bitch sit back and watch” However there are key notions to it which are still valid political consent state of nature liberty body politics giving up on rights in favor of preservation of property Locke defines these concepts masterfully and for me it would have been futile to read Jefferson and Madison without having read Locke There are lots of biblical examples and also a lot of facts from Native Americans and remote lands which is obviously pure nonesense because Locke in his days had no sort of grasp of those societies and his references to those kind of communities are definitely groundless When speaking about appropriation of land and the reference that he makes to America as being how the rest of the world originally developed and how basically the portion of a land where a man works on becomes their belonging shows how clueless he is about the situation in America ignoring the fact that the land there was actually inhabited; reminiscent of Frederick Jackson Turner three centuries later but well with a totally different twist Overall I am glad I’ve read it


  10. 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 but on that laterLike Hobbes and Rousseau albeit with different and godly 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 III19 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 ValuationLabour creates a distinction between “his” and “common” Labour begins the distinction of propertyWhatever a man cannot use for himself returns to the realm of “common” V29 Locke argues contra later libertarians that things have an intrinsic value though not absolutely so V37 Their value depends on their usefulness to the life of man Labour puts the difference of value on everything V40 Labour puts the value on land Labour gives the right of property V45Money however has subjective value V47 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


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Second Treatise of Government [Epub] ➢ Second Treatise of Government ➣ John Locke – Buyprobolan50.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 15 page introduction to this edition the late emi 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 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.

  • Paperback
  • 148 pages
  • Second Treatise of Government
  • John Locke
  • English
  • 14 August 2016
  • 9780915144860