Writes Two Treatises of Government

Secondly, Political power is that power, which every man having in the state of nature, has given up into the hands of the society, and therein to the governors, whom the society hath set over itself, with this express or tacit trust, that it shall be employed for their good, and the preservation of their property: now this power, which every man has in the state of nature, and which he parts with to the society in all such cases where the society can secure him, is to use such means, for the preserving of his own property, [350] as he thinks good, and nature allows him; and to punish the breach of the law of nature in others, so as (according to the best of his reason) may most conduce to the preservation of himself, and the rest of mankind. So that the end and measure of this power, when in every man’s hands in the state of nature, being the preservation of all of his society, that is, all mankind in general, it can have no other end or measure, when in the hands of the magistrate, but to preserve the members of that society in their lives, liberties, and possessions; and so cannot be an absolute, arbitrary power over their lives and fortunes, which are as much as possible to be preserved; but a power to make laws, and annex such penalties to them, as may tend to the preservation of the whole, by cutting off those parts, and those only, which are so corrupt, that they threaten the sound and healthy, without which no severity is lawful. And this power has its original only from compact and agreement, and the mutual consent of those who make up the community.

Molyneux’s Case of Ireland cites Two Treatises indefense of Ireland

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Thomas Hollis (London: A. Millar et al., 1764).

First major critique of Two Treatises, by Charles Leslie

It follows, p. 19. Accordingly when Jacob bought his brother’s birth-right, Isaac blessed him thus; Be lord over thy brethren, and let the sons of thy mother bow before thee. Another instance, I take it, brought by our author to evince dominion due to birth-right, and an admirable one it is: for it must be no ordinary way of reasoning in a man, that is pleading for the natural power of kings, and against all compact, to bring for proof of it, an example, where his own account of it founds all the right upon compact, and settles empire in the younger brother, unless buying and selling be no compact; for he tells us, when Jacob bought his brother’s birthright. But passing by that, let us consider [131] the history itself, with what use our author makes of it, and we shall find these following mistakes about it.

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

In propriety of speech, (and certainly propriety of speech is necessary in a discourse of this nature) eldest parents signifies either the eldest men and women that have had children, or those who have longest had issue; and then our author’s assertion will be, that those fathers and mothers, who have been longest in the world, or longest fruitful, have by divine institution a right to civil power. If there be any absurdity in this, our author must answer for it: and if his meaning be different from my explication, he is to be blamed, that he would not speak it plainly. This I am sure, parents cannot signify heirs male, nor eldest parents an infant child: who yet may sometimes be the true heir, if there can be but one. And we are hereby still as much at a loss, who civil power belongs to, notwithstanding this assignment by divine institution, as if there had been no such assignment at all, or our author had said nothing of it. This of eldest parents leaving us more in the dark, who by divine institution has a right to civil power, than those who never heard any thing at all of heir, or descent, of which our author is so full. And though the [126] chief matter of his writing be to teach obedience to those, who have a right to it, which he tells us is conveyed by descent, yet who those are, to whom this right by descent belongs, he leaves, like the philosophers stone in politics, out of the reach of any one to discover from his writings.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

John Locke, Two Treatises (1689) - Online Library of …

The perception of humaneness is crucial. It tells us our system is both strong and good; otherwise glimpses of inhumanity are a dangerous hint that things are not working. Two examples: some years ago, a million dollars was spent on the rescue of a single downed balloonist in a dramatic, highly publicized race of helicopters and boats. The drama proved our humanity. We make massive efforts for someone in distress. What was never publicized was the chronic underbudgeting of the Coast Guard which otherwise would make such rescues routine. In a second example, heroic amounts were spent to rescue prisoners from a fire in a penitentiary. But what was never revealed is that the prison's scarce medical resources meant hundreds of others routinely went without treatment or died at other times. This type of rare and heavily publicized humane event, fed to a sensation-hungry press, creates a "sufficiency paradox", an "illusion of sufficiency"that the goodness is there for us all. Generalized, this creates the illusion of abundance. The media deal in demonstrations of sudden and spectacular humanity. But for every person who gets the rare benefit, many others do not. A life-saving kidney goes to one of several people in need, and the life-taking decision about the others is not publicized. The "illusion of sufficiency" device massively confuses possibility with probability but on a societal level, it is a media-promoted and effective manipulation of hope.

Two Treatises of Government by John Locke | LibraryThing

And thus we have at last got thro’ all, that in our author looks like an argument for that absolute unlimited sovereignty described, sect. 8. which he supposes in Adam; so that mankind ever since have been all born slaves, without any title to freedom. But if creation, which gave nothing but a being, made not Adam prince of his posterity: if Adam, Gen. i. 28. was not constituted lord of mankind, nor had a private dominion given him exclusive of his children, but only a right and power over the earth, and inferiour creatures in common with the children of men; if also Gen. iii. 16. God gave not any political power to Adam over his wife and children, but only subjected Eve to Adam, as a punishment, or foretold the subjection of the weaker sex, in the ordering the common concernments of their families, but gave not thereby to Adam, as to the husband, power of life and death, which necessarily belongs to the magistrate: if fathers by begetting their children acquire no such power ove them; and if the command, Honour thy father and mother, give it not, but only enjoins a duty owing to parents equally, whether subjects or not, and to the mother as well as the father; if all this be so, as I [78] think, by what has been said, is very evident; then man has a natural freedom, notwithstanding all our author confidently says to the contrary; since all that share in the same common nature, faculties and powers, are in nature equal, and ought to partake in the same common rights and privileges, till the manifest appointment of God, who is Lord over all, blessed for ever, can be produced to shew any particular person’s supremacy; or a man’s own consent subjects him to a superiour. This is so plain, that our author confesses, that Sir John Hayward, Blackwood and Barclay, the great vindicators of the right of kings, could not deny it, but admit with one consent the natural liberty and equality of mankind, for a truth unquestionable. And our author hath been so far from producing any thing, that may make good his great position, that Adam was absolute monarch, and so men are not naturally free, that even his own proofs make against him; so that to use his own way of arguing, the first erroneous principle failing, the whole fabric of this vast engine of absolute power and tyranny drops down of itself, and there needs no more to be said in answer to all that he builds upon so false and frail a foundation.

two treatises on government Study Sets and Flashcards | Quizlet

I agree with our author that the title to this honour is vested in the parents by nature, and is a right which accrues to them by their having begotten their children, and God by many positive declarations has confirmed it to them: I also allow our author’s rule, that in grants and gifts, that have their original from God and nature, as the power of the father, (let me add and mother, for whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder) no inferior power of men can limit, nor make any law of prescription against them, Observations, 158. so that the mother having, by this law of God, a right to honour from her children, which is not subject to the will of her husband, we see this absolute monarchical power of the father can neither be founded on it, nor consist with it; and he has a power very far from monarchical, very far from that absoluteness our author contends for, when another has over his subjects the same power he hath, and by the [73] same title: and therefore he cannot forbear saying himself that he cannot see how any man’s children can be free from subjection to their parents, p. 12. which, in common speech, I think, signifies mother as well as father, or if parents here signifies only father, it is the first time I ever yet knew it to do so, and by such an use of words one may say any thing.