The “Second Treatise of Government,” written by John Locke, was composed between 1685 and 1688. His ideas had a great influence on the thinking of our founding fathers. While meditating on the following quote, ask yourself, where am I currently being affected by a violation of Locke’s idea of, “a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society.” In doing so, don’t miss his other important starting and ending ideas of liberty and freedom.
The NATURAL liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule.
The liberty of man in society is to be under no other legislative power but that established by consent in the commonwealth; nor under the dominion of any will or restraint of any law, but what that legislative power shall enact according to the trust put in it.
Freedom then is not what Sir R. R. Tells us, O. A. 55, “ a liberty for every on to do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and not to be tied by any laws.” But freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power where that rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man; as freedom of nature is to be under no other restraint but the law of nature.
How will the current “stimulus” bill change the playing field? Will we all be treated under the same economic rules moving forward. Or is the redistribution of wealth that is going to occur under this bill a shifting rule which will impose an uncertain, unknown and arbitrary will of another man on your freedoms?
John Locke, “Treatise of Civil Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration,” Edited by Charles L. Sherman. (New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1937), p. 16.