Monday, December 13, 2010

Aimless Reading: The L's, Part 19 (John Locke)

Locke, John
The Second Treatise on Government

Purchased, I am sure, at the Fordham University Book Store. It even bears the Fordham school color -- maroon.

How did 'maroon' come to mean both 'a brownish crimson color' and also 'to strand someone in an isolated place'?

Was there a 'first' treatise on government? Has anyone ever read it?

Was the 'e' at the end of "Locke' once pronounced? Lock-uh?

Sorry, I am feeling inquisitive this morning. I think I probably used this book in several courses as an undergraduate. I was torn right up until the very end between majoring in English and majoring in political philosophy. I was too disorganized and scattered to put together a schedule of classes that allowed me to double major. Nonetheless, I took many classes in the political science department there, yet never managed to cross paths with poet Bruce Andrews until many years after college.

I don't remember reading all that well, but opening it again, I remember the opening in which he feels the need to begin his argument against the right of succession by suggesting there are no bloodlines that can clearly establish a link back to Adam & Ever, therefore divine right stands on shaky ground. A great opener for a very different age.

from The Second Treatise on Government

Sect. 1. It having been shewn in the foregoing discourse,

1. That Adam had not, either by natural right of fatherhood, or by positive donation from God, any such authority over his children, or dominion over the world, as is pretended:

2. That if he had, his heirs, yet, had no right to it:

3. That if his heirs had, there being no law of nature nor positive law of God that determines which is the right heir in all cases that may arise, the right of succession, and consequently of bearing rule, could not have been certainly determined:

4. That if even that had been determined, yet the knowledge of which is the eldest line of Adam's posterity, being so long since utterly lost, that in the races of mankind and families of the world, there remains not to one above another, the least pretence to be the eldest house, and to have the right of inheritance:

5. All these premises having, as I think, been clearly made out, it is impossible that the rulers now on earth should make any benefit, or derive any the least shadow of authority from that, which is held to be the fountain of all power, Adam's private dominion and paternal jurisdiction: so that he that will not give just occasion to think that all government in the world is the product only of force and violence, and that men live together by no other rules but that of beasts, where the strongest carries it, and so lay a foundation for perpetual disorder and mischief, tumult, sedition and rebellion, (things that the followers of that hypothesis so loudly cry out against) must of necessity find out another rise of government, another original of political power, and another way of designing and knowing the persons that have it, than what Sir Robert Filmer hath taught us.

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