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"Locke and the State of Nature" Topic


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doc mcb22 Jan 2023 7:17 a.m. PST

Here's some text; comments follow.

4. To understand Political Power a right, and derive it from its Original, we must consider what Estate all Men are naturally in, and that is, a State of perfect Freedom to order their Actions, and dispose of their Possessions, and Persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the Law of Nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the Will of any other Man.

A State also of Equality, wherein all the Power and Jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more then another, there being nothing more evident, then that Creatures of the same species and rank promiscuously born to all the same advantages of Nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without Subordination or Subjection, unless the Lord and Master of them all, should by any manifest Declaration of his Will set one above another, and confer on him by an evident and clear appointment an undoubted Right to Dominion and Sovereignty.

5. This equality of Men by Nature, the Judicious Hooker looks upon as so evident in it self, and beyond all question, that he makes it the Foundation of that Obligation to mutual Love amongst Men, on which he Builds the Duties they owe one another, and from whence he derives the great Maxims of Iustice and Charity. His words are; The like natural inducement, hath brought Men to know that it is no less their Duty, to Love others then themselves, for seeing those things which are equal, must needs all have one measure; If I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every Mans hands, as any Man can wish unto his own Soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless my self be careful to satisfie the like desire, which is undoubtedly in other Men weak, being of one and the same nature; to have any thing offered them repugnant to this desire, must needs in all respects grieve them as much as me, so that if I do harm, I must look to suffer, there being no reason that others should shew greater measure of love to me, then they have, by me, shewed unto them; my desire therefore to be loved of my equals in nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural Duty of bearing to themward, fully the like affection; From which relation of equality between our selves and them, that are as our selves, what several Rules and Canons, natural reason hath drawn for direction of life, no Man is Ignorant. Eccl. Pol. Li.

6. But though this be a State of Liberty, yet it is not a State of Licence, though Man in that State have an uncontroleable Liberty, to dispose of his Person or Possessions, yet he has not Liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any Creature in his Possession, but where some nobler use, then its bare Preservation calls for it. 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; for Men being all the Workmanship of one Omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker: 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 anothers Pleasure. And being Furnished with like Faculties, sharing all in one Community of Nature, there cannot be supposed any such Subordination among us, that may Authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one anothers uses, as the inferior ranks of Creatures are for ours, every one as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his Station willfully, so by the like reason when his own Preservation comes not in competition, ought he as much as he can to preserve the rest of Mankind, and not unless it be to do Justice on an offender, take a way, or impair the the life, or what tends to the Preservation of the Life, the Liberty, Health, Limb or Goods of another.

7. And that all Men may be restrained from invading others Rights, and from doing hurt to one another, and the Law of Nature be observed, which willeth the Peace and Preservation of all Mankind, the Execution of the Law of Nature is in that State, put into every Mans hands, whereby every one has a Right to punish the transgressors of that Law to such a Degree, as may hinder its Violation. For the Law of Nature would, as all other Laws that concern Men in this World, be in vain, if there were no body that in the State of Nature, had a Power to Execute that Law, and thereby preserve the innocent and restrain offenders, and if any one in the State of Nature may punish another, for any evil he has done, every one may do so. For in that State of perfect Equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another, what any may do in Prosecution of that Law, every one must needs have a Right to do.

8. And thus in the State of Nature, one Man comes by a Power over another; but yet no Absolute or Arbitrary Power, to use a Criminal when he has got him in his hands, according to the passionate heats, or boundless extravagancy of his own Will, but only to retribute to him, so far as calm reason and conscience dictates, what is proportionate to his Transgression, which is so much as may serve for Reparation and Restraint. For these two are the only reasons, why one Man may lawfully do harm to another, which is that we call punishment. In trangressing the Law of Nature, the Offender declares himself to live by another Rule, then that of reason and common equity, which is that measure God has set to the actions of Men, for their mutual security, and so he becomes dangerous to Mankind, the tye, which is to secure them from injury and violence, being slighted and broken by him, which being a trespass against the whole Species, and the Peace and Safety of it, provided for by the Law of Nature, every Man upon this score, by the Right he hath to preserve Mankind in general, may restrain, or where it is necessary, destroy things noxious to them, and so may bring such evil on any one, who hath transgressed that Law, as may make him repent the doing of it, and thereby deter him, and by his Example others, from doing the like mischief. And in this case, and upon this ground, every Man hath a Right to punish the Offender, and be Executioner of the Law of Nature.

doc mcb22 Jan 2023 7:22 a.m. PST

In 4 we have "the Lord and Master of them all"

Then 5 quotes extensively from "the judicious Hooker." Who he? Well, he wrote the LAWS OF ECCESIASTICAL POLITY. A Christian law book.

Then in 6 we get this:

for Men being all the Workmanship of one Omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker: 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 anothers Pleasure. And being Furnished with like Faculties, sharing all in one Community of Nature, there cannot be supposed any such Subordination among us, that may Authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one anothers uses, as the inferior ranks of Creatures are for ours, every one as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his Station willfully, so by the like reason when his own Preservation comes not in competition, ought he as much as he can to preserve the rest of Mankind, and not unless it be to do Justice on an offender, take a way, or impair the the life, or what tends to the Preservation of the Life, the Liberty, Health, Limb or Goods of another.

That is the Judeo-Christian understanding of Man's place in Creation. And it is the basis of our rights.

doc mcb22 Jan 2023 7:24 a.m. PST

and in 8 we have In trangressing the Law of Nature, the Offender declares himself to live by another Rule, then that of reason and common equity, which is that measure God has set to the actions of Men, for their mutual security,

doc mcb22 Jan 2023 7:26 a.m. PST

Btw, you DO want to read OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT. I have taught it. Some parts are heavy going but many are "self-evident truths." When I first read it I found myself almost continuously saying, "YES!, that is what I have always thought, but now I understand WHY!"

doc mcb22 Jan 2023 7:29 a.m. PST

Here's Hooker: link

advocate22 Jan 2023 10:35 a.m. PST

TLDR. Not relevant.

doc mcb22 Jan 2023 10:45 a.m. PST

TLDR? It is being argued on another thread that there were no Christian influences on the American Revolution -- but that Locke was a huge influence -- which he was. But Locke wrote from within the Christian view of Man and his nature and his place within Creation. Seems pretty relevant to me.

doc mcb22 Jan 2023 10:47 a.m. PST

Okay, Too long, didn't read? Well, it does take space to make an argument and to support it. It is the nature of intellectual inquiry.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART22 Jan 2023 12:19 p.m. PST

You must be a real hoot at Thanksgiving.

Blount Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2023 3:00 p.m. PST

Given Jesus' teaching about paying taxes and the broader New Testament teaching about obeying governing authorities, it's difficult to see how the revolution can be defended from a properly Christian point of view.

doc mcb22 Jan 2023 3:16 p.m. PST

Certain criteria must be met: a "long train of abuses" all tending in the same direction must "evince a design" on the part of government to deprive the people of their natural liberties. That severs the social contract. And is why most of the Declaration is a list.

"No king but Jesus!"

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