Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Two Treatises of Government - John Locke

  1. #1
    Regular Member fullauto223cal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    , Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    118

    Post imported post


    I was not made aware of John Locke until I was a freshman in college. My American History professor required us to read & understand Locke and the Social Contract Theory before even opening our history books. For those of you who have never read nor heard of Locke and want to think how Jefferson and Adams thought then please download this PDF file.
    What I have posted are excerpts that are relative to our struggle to maintain our right to keep and bear arms for the common defense.
    [line]Chapter III - Of the State of War
    (The right of self defense)
    The state of war is a state of enmity and destruction; and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but sedate, settled design upon another man’s life puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other’s power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction; for by the fundamental law of Nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred, and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion, because they are not under the ties of the common law of reason, have no other rule but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as a beast of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power.

    And hence it is that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life. For I have reason to conclude that he who would get me into his power without my consent would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom—i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation, and reason bids me look on him as an enemy to my preservation who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me thereby puts himself into a state of war with me. He that in the state of Nature would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away everything else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest; as he that in the state of society would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth must be supposed to design to take away from them everything else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.


    This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than by the use of force, so to get him in his power as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose that he who would take away my liberty would not, when he had me in his power, take away everything else. And, therefore, it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me—i.e., kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.

    [line]
    Please remember that Locke is writing this approximately 100 years before the founding of the United States. This and other writings like it are what shaped our founding fathers. We have a duty to know and understand what they knew and understood. Don't feel dumb if it seems a little hard to comprehend, this was written in the 1600's after all.

    I look forward to the reading your remarks.....

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    , Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,715

    Post imported post

    You'll be amazed how many people here think social contract theory is a load of crap. Thankfully I'm not one of them. Not much to discuss though. The section you posted is clear and to the point. I agree.

  3. #3
    Regular Member fullauto223cal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    , Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    118

    Post imported post

    You'll be amazed how many people here think social contract theory is a load of crap.
    I wonder why that is? If they do, I would hope they could articulate it as it would seem our Constitution is the "social contract" between the civil society and it's government.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Mercer Island, Washington, USA
    Posts
    922

    Post imported post

    AWDstylez wrote:
    You'll be amazed how many people here think social contract theory is a load of crap. Thankfully I'm not one of them. Not much to discuss though. The section you posted is clear and to the point. I agree.

    The social contract theory is a complete load of crap. We don't need some ephemeral social contract theory that is a “living and breathing” contract which can change on a whim depending on the wind.... we have a Constitution which is our supreme law and our de facto social contract. Read it!

    People like you and your misguided belief in some fantasy social contract are the reason we are going to have a civil war in this country again before things get settled. You cannot accept that the Constitution is NOT a living and breathing document, and that it is not supposed to be interpreted, but instead, read strictly word for word as written. Yes, that means only men can be Congressmen, Senators and President, that is, until we amend the Constitution to allow women to run for these Offices. Yeah, you heard me, I said "AMEND" the Constitution. It's the process that the Framers gave us to change the Constitution to be more relevant with the times. But they made it hard, so, progressives tried to make an end run around the amendment process by creating the "living and breathing Constitution" and the "Social Contract theory" to undermine the Constitution and get what they want without having to get 75% of the people to agree with them.

    You're not a progressive are you? Because they are not friends of the second amendment. They only give it lip service to placate their constituents until they can think of a way to get rid of it without having to amend the Constitution or ask people's opinion on the matter. Until that time, they will continue to work with their pals in the media to demonize guns in the mind of the public until they can get a majority to agree with them... then, Constitution be damned, they'll take away our rights to own anything save for a pink BB Gun.


    Now if you believe that the Constitution IS our social contract... then don't use the term "Social Contract" and say Constitution. When you talk about a social contract in broader terms, you obfuscate what is the true contract of these United States. I have no problem with reading John Locke or Thomas Paine or any other writers who influenced the decision to write the Constitution we have, but we need to talk very strongly of our Constitution as it is our supreme law and only after people get that point do we go further into the less clear idea of the social contract.

    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    , Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,715

    Post imported post

    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    The social contract theory is a complete load of crap. We don't need some ephemeral social contract theory that is a “living and breathing” contract which can change on a whim depending on the wind.... we have a Constitution which is our supreme law and our de facto social contract. Read it!

    This just in... the constitution IS a social contract. :quirky

  6. #6
    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Mercer Island, Washington, USA
    Posts
    922

    Post imported post

    AWDstylez wrote:
    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    The social contract theory is a complete load of crap. We don't need some ephemeral social contract theory that is a “living and breathing” contract which can change on a whim depending on the wind.... we have a Constitution which is our supreme law and our de facto social contract. Read it!

    This just in... the constitution IS a social contract. :quirky
    This just in???? Are you 12 years old?

    Social contracts are implicit agreements among people that results in the organization of society. Do you understand the meaning of implicit? Most common understandings of what a social contract is, is that it is an unwritten contract between people in a community or society.... the Constitution is a written contract that codifies an agreed upon social contract that becomes unchanging. All social contracts change over time since they are not written down.

    Because the term "social contract" pertains to the implicit agreement between people in a society and not directly to the Constitution, it gives ample room for those wanting to bypass the Constitution to maneuver. So, the theory of the Constitution as a living and breathing "social contract" (which is really all this argument is about) is a load of crap.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

  7. #7
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    281

    Post imported post

    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    Social contracts are implicit agreements among people that results in the organization of society.
    Your entire argument revolves around the assertion that social contracts must be "implicit" agreements. Do you have any citations or references to this effect?

    Thank you.

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    , Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,715

    Post imported post

    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    This just in???? Are you 12 years old?

    Social contracts are implicit agreements among people that results in the organization of society. Do you understand the meaning of implicit? Most common understandings of what a social contract is

    Yes, but I don't think you do. Law is social contract. Elected government is social contract. Legal documents are social contract. Verbal agreements are social contract. Understood societal norms are social contract. etc etc etc

    Any agreement/pact/treaty/rule/understanding/law/promise/etc amongst people constitutes a social contract.

  9. #9
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Lake Charles Area, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    1,723

    Post imported post

    Here's a few Definitions of Social Contracts;

    Function: noun

    Date: 1837

    : an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society or between a community and its ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each



    : An agreement among the members of an organized society or between the governed and the government defining and limiting the rights and duties of each.


    : an agreement among individuals to cooperate for greater security, which results in the loss of some personal liberties




    The Social Contract and Government
    The fundamental basis for government and law in this system is the concept of the social contract, according to which human beings begin as individuals in a state of nature, and create a society by establishing a contract whereby they agree to live together in harmony for their mutual benefit, after which they are said to live in a state of society. This contract involves the retaining of certain natural rights, an acceptance of restrictions of certain liberties, the assumption of certain duties, and the pooling of certain powers to be exercised collectively.

    Source - http://www.constitution.org/soclcont.htm

  10. #10
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    , Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,715

    Post imported post

    Dustin wrote:
    Here's a few Definitions of Social Contracts;

    Function: noun

    Date: 1837

    : an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society or between a community and its ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each



    : An agreement among the members of an organized society or between the governed and the government defining and limiting the rights and duties of each.


    : an agreement among individuals to cooperate for greater security, which results in the loss of some personal liberties




    The Social Contract and Government
    The fundamental basis for government and law in this system is the concept of the social contract, according to which human beings begin as individuals in a state of nature, and create a society by establishing a contract whereby they agree to live together in harmony for their mutual benefit, after which they are said to live in a state of society. This contract involves the retaining of certain natural rights, an acceptance of restrictions of certain liberties, the assumption of certain duties, and the pooling of certain powers to be exercised collectively.

    Source - http://www.constitution.org/soclcont.htm


    Thank you.

  11. #11
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    281

    Post imported post

    Thanks, Dustin.

    I'm still interested to understand Washintonian_for_Liberty's objection to the Social Contract Theory. If he can articulate his argument and give references for his assertions, this could become a very educational thread. I look forward to it.

  12. #12
    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Mercer Island, Washington, USA
    Posts
    922

    Post imported post

    American Rattlesnake wrote:
    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    Social contracts are implicit agreements among people that results in the organization of society.
    Your entire argument revolves around the assertion that social contracts must be "implicit" agreements. Do you have any citations or references to this effect?

    Thank you.
    Not once did I say that "social contracts" must be implicit. However, most social contracts are implicit. I am terrified at the prospect of manipulative bastards like the one in the White House and his AG using the "implicit" social contract and the changing of society over time as one of their work arounds.

    While the Constitution is a social contract codified, it is also something more. Continuing to vacillate on the term "social contract" gives credence to the argument that the Constitution, like all social contracts, is malleable and bendable, a so called "living and breathing" document.

    All societies have social contracts and not all of them are based around Liberty or Freedom. In Pakistan, honor killing is a part of the social contract, but it isn't codified into any law. In China, the social contract allows for Chinese to cheat any non-Chinese as anyone non-Chinese is less of a person and not equally protected under this social contract. It is not codified or written anywhere, but it is well known and almost always followed.

    Again, I admitted the Constitution IS a social contract, but that vacillating on that fact is stupid since we then stray into the "living and breathing" argument and we end up going down the path the progressives have been already taking us down for the last 100 or so years.

    Rather than say the Constitution is a "social contract", why not just say it is our body of supreme laws to which no other laws in the US can supersede? We are a nation of laws, not contracts and even if a law IS a contract of sorts, the obfuscation that goes on in making that case gives more ammo to those who wish to do away with the strict boundaries of the Constitution and give it a more soft fuzzy boundary that is "interpreted" differently by different people. This is how the progressives have slowly but surely reduced our Freedom and Liberty over the years and it just sickens me that most here are willing to let them get away with it because of the "Social Contract" theory.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

  13. #13
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    , Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,715

    Post imported post

    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    Not once did I say that "social contracts" must be implicit.

    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    This just in???? Are you 12 years old?

    Social contracts are implicit agreements among people that results in the organization of society. Do you understand the meaning of implicit? Most common understandings of what a social contract is, is that it is an unwritten contract between people in a community or society.... the Constitution is a written contract that codifies an agreed upon social contract that becomes unchanging. All social contracts change over time since they are not written down.

    Because the term "social contract" pertains to the implicit agreement between people in a society and not directly to the Constitution, it gives ample room for those wanting to bypass the Constitution to maneuver. So, the theory of the Constitution as a living and breathing "social contract" (which is really all this argument is about) is a load of crap.

  14. #14
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    , Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,715

    Post imported post

    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    Rather than say the Constitution is a "social contract", why not just say it is our body of supreme laws to which no other laws in the US can supersede?


    Because you just stated that you believe social contract theory is garbage, so I was demonstrating how wrong you were.




    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    The social contract theory is a complete load of crap. .... we have a Constitution which is our supreme law and our de facto social contract.
    Thus implying the constitution is not a social contract.

    Then turning around and saying...



    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    I admitted the Constitution IS a social contract

    I'll let you start over if you want.

  15. #15
    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Mercer Island, Washington, USA
    Posts
    922

    Post imported post

    AWDstylez wrote:
    I'll let you start over if you want.
    Don't need to. Nowhere did I say that a social contract MUST be implicit. I made sure to explain that the most common definition was one of an implied nature, but I never said that they MUST be implicit. Your English skills are very poor, is it your second language? If English is your second language, I can overlook the obvious obtuse nature of your comments, if not, well, I think you need to go back to school.

    Most social contracts, are implicit in nature and not locked in stone. They aren’t even directly agreed upon; but rather, ephemerally exist as long as no one complains and society remains on a track that allows for its existence. But the very nature of a social contract is that it is ephemeral. I don’t want our Constitution to be temporary, do you?
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

  16. #16
    Regular Member fullauto223cal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    , Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    118

    Post imported post

    Hold up fellas! Let's take a minute and cool down....

    I'm going to ignore and hold harmless your accusation of my "
    misguided belief in some fantasy social contract" and that I "cannot accept that the Constitution is NOT a living and breathing document, and that it is not supposed to be interpreted, but instead, read strictly word for word as written." It would appear and I will assume it was written with great haste and very little forethought. If you have read Locke you would not make such statements and so I will begin this post assuming you have not.

    Washintonian_For_Liberty - The social contract theory is a complete load of crap.

    I would beg to ask, if your claim is true, why the founders of our country were such advocates of it. Surely they must of understood it as something other than what you have ascertained it to be.
    Before anyone discussion of civil society & Government begins it must be clear what state all men are in beforehand, this is what Locke defined as a State of Nature. Allow me to quote another excerpt from Locke.

    Chapter II - Of the State of Nature To understand political power aright, 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 than another, there being nothing more evident than 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.

    Now this brings us to why men enter into social contracts and form Governments. Locke explains this in great detail in the follow excerpt.

    Chapter IX - Of the Ends of Political Society and Government If man in the state of Nature be so free as has been said, if he be absolute lord of his own person and possessions, equal to the greatest and subject to nobody, why will he part with his freedom, this empire, and subject himself to the dominion and control of any other power? To which it is obvious to answer, that though in the state of Nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain and constantly exposed to the invasion of others; for all being kings as much as he, every man his equal, and the greater part no strict observers of equity and justice, the enjoyment of the property he has in this state is very unsafe, very insecure. This makes him willing to quit this condition which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers; and it is not without reason that he seeks out and is willing to join in society with others who are already united, or have a mind to unite for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates, which I call by the general name—property. The great and chief end, therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property; to which in the state of Nature there are many things wanting.

    The social contracts only purpose is to preserve Life, Liberty, & Property(estates aka wealth)...PERIOD. This, as you have stated, was outlined in a written Constitution by our founding fathers and has today been bastardized almost beyond recognition. What happens when government becomes to powerful and begins to act contrary to it's intended purpose of preservation? Locke clearly outlines this in the following.

    Chapter XVIII - Of Tyranny As usurpation is the exercise of power which another hath a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to; and this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage. When the governor, however entitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule, and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion. ... It is a mistake to think this fault is proper only to monarchies. Other forms of government are liable to it as well as that; for wherever the power that is put in any hands for the government of the people and the preservation of their properties is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the arbitrary and irregular commands of those that have it, there it presently becomes tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many.

    Washintonian_For_Liberty, my friend, Social Contract Theory when read as a whole is not something that can be bent to will of the majority. What Locke so eloquently stated was that societies exist to protect property (life, liberty, estate). Societies erect Governments as a way of pooling the "executive authority" which every man has in the State of Nature.

    To answer your question, no the Constitution is not a living breathing document to be mended to match the majority. It is intended to restrain the ever growing power of Government. Whenever "any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

    The bottom line...social contract theory is simply a way of explaining WHY and HOW men escape from a State of Nature.


    My Political Science professor explained it this way. The Law of Nature is like a cinder block wall. It's ugly and coarse but hard as rock. A social contract is simply the paint that man uses to make it more bearable. If the paint (social contract) does not adhere to the cinder block (Law of Nature) then it will eventually flake off.

    I understand where you are coming from when you say the Statist will attempt to misconstrue the Social Contract theory to justify there power grabs as legal because it was allowed by the majority. It is up to the common man to educate himself so that he may contend and win this battle of ideas.

  17. #17
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Lake Charles Area, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    1,723

    Post imported post

    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    While the Constitution is a social contract codified, it is also something more. Continuing to vacillate on the term "social contract" gives credence to the argument that the Constitution, like all social contracts, is malleable and bendable, a so called "living and breathing" document.
    I'd love to believe that the US Constitution is unchangeable.
    However there is such thing as a Constitutional Amendment.
    What's your take on that?
    Amendment may refer to:

    A change made to a pending motion or bill by a motion to amend
    A change made to a previously adopted law or motion
    A change made to a contract
    Constitutional amendment, a change made to a written constitution

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •