John Locke: From Self-Preservation to Private Property

John Locke is one of the most important modern philosophers.  He contributed, most famously – though often misunderstood by people who name-drop him – to political philosophy; but Locke also made important contributions to philosophy more broadly (including epistemology, theology, and labor theory in economics).  I have a comprehensive summary of Locke’s Second Treatise which you can … Continue reading John Locke: From Self-Preservation to Private Property

John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part V: The Myth of “Perpetual Revolution”

In the final installment of reading Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, we turn to the paradoxes of Locke’s theory of revolution.  Most people are woefully ignorant as to what Locke is actually saying since they’ve never read Locke – they’ve only ever been told lies about Locke’s view of revolution.  Locke’s revolution is not about breaking … Continue reading John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part V: The Myth of “Perpetual Revolution”

John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part IV: Statism & the Myth of Limited Government

In continuing our reading of Locke’s Two Treatises, beginning with ninth chapter now, we turn to Locke’s understanding of what the end of political governance, the commonwealth, and legislature, is ultimately for.  That is to say, what does political society aim at?  Essentially his answer was already given in the preceding chapters – peaceable and solitary … Continue reading John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part IV: Statism & the Myth of Limited Government

John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part III: The Origins of Political Society

The sixth Chapter of the Second Treatise is one of Locke’s more self-explanatory chapters.  The exoteric reading is very straightforward: the naturality of parental authority is a precursor to civil authority.  As Locke writes at the end of the chapter, “it be a sufficient proof of the natural right of fathers to political authority, because … Continue reading John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part III: The Origins of Political Society

The Poison of Rousseau’s Social Contract Vision

One of the key aspects of Rousseau’s social contract theory is that, unlike with Hobbes and Locke, he really doesn’t explain why men embrace the social contract.  This is, again, because Rousseau takes the idealistic picture of humanity in the state of nature.  Man is born naturally good.  He is pure.  He is a moral … Continue reading The Poison of Rousseau’s Social Contract Vision

The Myth and Lies of Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now!”

Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology. ~ Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. xviii.   Steven Pinker is the public face of contemporary neo-Whiggism. In the midst of turbulent transformations and discontents, rather than try to understand the predicament of modernity and its possibility crisis brought forth by the … Continue reading The Myth and Lies of Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now!”