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Thread: Locke & Liberalism

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    Default Locke & Liberalism

    Just finished johnw's book on Locke which you can buy on Amazon Kindle. Look for author John M. Watkins. Great stuff. Actually, Locke was a major contributor, but a lot of time has passed, and liberalism has developed in many different directions, such that not everything in it can be readily traced to Locke. JohnW's book is excellent for tracing the developments; also, because principles of liberalism can be stated, and he states them. You might think that would be easy, but it isn't, and so there is a great danger that we will come to be ignorant of the character of the society we live in, which is unlikely to be a good thing.

    For myself, I have the following problems with Locke:

    There is this idea of "a property in yourself" as the basis of natural rights, therefore the rule of reason, therefore liberalism To me it only works as a metaphor, because of what else comes under the heading of "property".

    Not things, but recognition of rights and obligations incident to owning things. So far so good. What makes it unalienable?

    The nature of the state of nature? You have the right to try to live in the SON which you retain after society is constituted. So far so good. You give up some measure of some rights in order to preserve the rest. Why can't you alienate your property in yourself, if it's necessary to self-preservation?

    I think the American formulation avoids this problem. Governments simply have no legitimate power to infringe natural rights. It's a priori, but it works. Property itself is among the natural rights, which brings us to some more problems.

    The earth belongs to humanity in common, on Biblical authority. That's a basketful of problems. You could posit some other authority, or just say it a priori. In any case, property is a portion taken from the commons. The taking is justified, and property created, by the need for the portion, and the labor of the taking.

    Why aren't other people part of the commons, there for the taking, by means of labor, because you need to take them?

    If one has a property in oneself, what labor created it, to fill what need? Just to go on living, I guess. What is the legitimate scope?

    The right of property is limited by the rule of reason, which according to Locke means limited to satisfying your needs without waste. How does that relate to the property in oneself? The right to a basket of acorns that you gather (or buy?), in an amount that you can eat before they spoil, is the same as the right to be governed only by your consent, how?

    If, in the SON, a man kills more than he can eat, he has violated the reasonableness limitation, but only if somebody else could have eaten the surplus, right? Meanwhile, back in the real world, you can eat a whole squirrel but not a whole buffalo. Why should you chase around after ten squirrels when you can kill one buffalo and kick back? The part that rots isn't wasted. It feeds the rest of the ecosystem which is what makes the whole shebang possible.

    Locke was not just unecological but plainly a homo-centrist, in tune with the times . . . again, on Biblical authority. But here it runs into a brick wall. It's empirically wrong. There is no waste in nature; therefore the concept cannot be the basis of a moral principle.

    Not to mention: why is supernatural revelation necessary to understand nature? What authority prescribes which revelation I must accept, and which reject? If it is to govern me, then none of it has any more authority than I give by consent, right?

    So the ideas of property, and by extension, of a property in oneself, may have been originally integral to Locke's scheme, and may have had much influence, but now have serious problems. Are they severable, such that the rest is still valid, as at least the major part of liberalism's foundation, if not the whole thing? What happens when the ever-expanding circle expands beyond humans? Nature isn't as Locke supposed. What does that mean for the doctrine of natural rights?
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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Locke was not just unecological but plainly a homo-centrist, in tune with the times .
    His time, not our time. So we need to employ our critical faculties to what he wrote, and ensure that we only accept what has not been invalidated by stuff that we know now that Locke could not be expected to know. Do not take him as the ultimate authority, just because he was a clever bastard.


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    While Locke's work is basic to my thinking, I do not insist that everything he said must be considered gospel. He was an Enlightenment thinker, after all, and the basic idea of the Enlightenment is that you keep thinking and learning. Locke certainly did, since his view of what sort of slavery might be considered legitimate was clearly nothing like the sort he was complicit in when he wrote the constitution of South Carolina and invested in the Royal Africa Company. By the standards of what he wrote about slavery in the Second Treatise, neither the constitution he wrote nor the investment he made was morally defensible. He thought deeply about the issue, and changed his mind.

    Why can we not alienate ourselves? My view (not expressed this way by Locke) is that we cannot stop caring about how we are used. A chair lacks the capacity to care who sits on it. I cannot help but care who sits on me. Our rights are a product of our nature.

    Locke never defined property, and his view of where property comes from strikes me as incomplete. I think it is necessary to go beyond the labor theory of property. We can still build on his work, but we do need to define property, as I have done in the book. The short version is that property is the system of rules about how people use things. Like all systems of human rules, these are agreed on socially. Mostly they grow up over time, but laws and court cases can change the nature of the rules. What they cannot do is make you stop caring who sits on you.

    And remember, property was important to political rights during Locke's lifetime. You had to have property to vote. The assertion that we all own property in ourselves led logically to the idea that suffrage should be universal.

    The vegan movement seeks to extend our understanding of consciousness to animals, and take the same ethical view of the use of them as we do of people. It is an outgrowth of the basic ideas of liberalism, time will tell whether the larger society adopts its views.

    As for ecology, I am not a religious man, and do not agree that we need divine guidance to understand nature. A commons is owned in common, and has rules of use that prevent it from being destroyed by over use. The English commons were not enclosed because of ecological collapse, they were enclosed because powerful people thought they could make money by enclosing them. The Grand Banks cod fishery did not collapse because there was no management, it collapsed because it was badly managed. My bookstore is in Ballard, home to the north Pacific fishing fleet, which is the most powerful fishing fleet in the world. Faced with the same problems as the Grand Banks, the north Pacific fishery has been well manage, so it has not collapsed so far.

    I view the state of nature as more of a metaphor than property is. Hobbes offered a description of the state of nature that pretty much matched what happened in parts of Europe during the 30 years war. It is not really a description of the state of man before society, so much as a description of the state of man when society broke down. Hobbes looked at the chaos of Europe during his lifetime, and figured that was what happened when you didn't have society, therefore it demonstrated why we felt a need to form society.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    The vegan movement seeks to extend our understanding of consciousness to animals, and take the same ethical view of the use of them as we do of people. It is an outgrowth of the basic ideas of liberalism, time will tell whether the larger society adopts its views.
    My pragmatic problem with vegans, and veggies in general, is that if we had evolved to be veggies rather than omnivores, then we would have wiped out all grazing and fruit and seed eating animals centuries ago, just as wolves and bears were wiped out in Britain. Put that in your pipes Vegans and smoke it.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    My pragmatic problem with vegans, and veggies in general, is that if we had evolved to be veggies rather than omnivores, then we would have wiped out all grazing and fruit and seed eating animals centuries ago, just as wolves and bears were wiped out in Britain. Put that in your pipes Vegans and smoke it.
    I believe the vegan response would be that we are capable of moving beyond our base instincts.

    But most of us would like a little chicken now and then. Plus, as you point out, there's the problem that if animals were of no use to us, humans would have wiped out more species than we have already. Cows, for example, would simply be pests that eat our crops.

    If there is a God who loves cows, does he have greater love for those who eat cows, and cause more cows to be born, or those who refuse to eat cows, causing them to be useless to humans, and less to be born?

    But if you regard cow consciousness to be equal in moral import to human consciousness, how can you kill them? How can you even treat them as property?
    It's an example of how the liberal way of thinking is still changing our view of the world. The impact of liberal ideas on institutions such as government, slavery, and marriage has already been vast, and those ideas are continuing to change the world.

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    Sounds like an interesting and thoughtful book. Congratulations on your authorship!

    I'll have to see if I can read a Kindle format book on the iPad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    I believe the vegan response would be that we are capable of moving beyond our base instincts.

    But most of us would like a little chicken now and then. Plus, as you point out, there's the problem that if animals were of no use to us, humans would have wiped out more species than we have already. Cows, for example, would simply be pests that eat our crops.

    If there is a God who loves cows, does he have greater love for those who eat cows, and cause more cows to be born, or those who refuse to eat cows, causing them to be useless to humans, and less to be born?

    But if you regard cow consciousness to be equal in moral import to human consciousness, how can you kill them? How can you even treat them as property?
    It's an example of how the liberal way of thinking is still changing our view of the world. The impact of liberal ideas on institutions such as government, slavery, and marriage has already been vast, and those ideas are continuing to change the world.
    You are better considering British deer. No wolves means no predation taking out the weak or diseased. So as we wiped out wolves, it behoves us to step in and cull the heard for the good of the deer population. So we kill selected deer. That is the ethical away to go. Then having killed the deer ethics dictate that we do not waste any part of it. Eat the meat, tan the hide, use the antlers.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    Sounds like an interesting and thoughtful book. Congratulations on your authorship!

    I'll have to see if I can read a Kindle format book on the iPad.
    Yes, they have apps that allow you to read on most devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You are better considering British deer. No wolves means no predation taking out the weak or diseased. So as we wiped out wolves, it behoves us to step in and cull the heard for the good of the deer population. So we kill selected deer. That is the ethical away to go. Then having killed the deer ethics dictate that we do not waste any part of it. Eat the meat, tan the hide, use the antlers.
    I quite agree. In addition, almost everything that lives, dies and is eaten, the possible exception being organisms that reproduce by division, and we really don't mind killing bacteria.

    But I do see the argument over the ethical treatment of animals as related to the liberal mindset. It is a debate we need to have, however it turns out. Your views and mine seems sensible to us, but if we regarded the consciousness of the deer a being equivalent to the consciousness of humans, we would take a different view.

    Not that I want to get stuck on that part of the debate. My news feed from Academia.edu sent me a notice of a paper about epistemic liberalism by Ivan Cerovac, a post-doc at the philosophy department of the University of Rijeka. A bit of a disappointment, really. The first half of the paper argues that markets are better than central planning, which, is there anyone alive who didn't know that? The second half argues, basically, that markets are better than deliberative democracy, by which he seems to mean democratic republics such as the U.S. and Europe have. He ignore the problem of effective demand, which is that in the market place, the rich get what they want and the poor get whatever is left. If you substitute the market for democracy, that will be true of policy as well as material things.

    Modern republics try to overcome the problem of effective demand in politics by giving each voter one vote. Democracy is therefore often a counterbalance to market forces.

    Another problem is that markets are quite effective, but they are not simply nature taking its course. Markets are human institutions, and they are only possible where there is effective government. One of the jobs of government is to set the rules for markets so that they will work properly. For example, it's clear that the American market for health insurance failed, and Obamacare is an attempt to reform the market. It's my belief that we will eventually conclude that health care is a public good, and cannot be effectively handled by the market, but reforming the market was the last, best hope for making private health insurance work.

    One major problem is that F.M. Hayek and his followers, such as Cerovac, seem to think capitalist markets will bring with them liberal freedoms. Anyone who thought that should by now be disabused of the notion by the example of China.

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    ^ Yep, one of Thatchers stupidities, or at least a staement attributed to her was "The Market will provide". Well it might if there is a profit to be made.
    As an aside, whilst trying to confim that she said that I discovered that she admired Hayek.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    ^ Yep, one of Thatchers stupidities, or at least a staement attributed to her was "The Market will provide". Well it might if there is a profit to be made.
    As an aside, whilst trying to confim that she said that I discovered that she admired Hayek.
    Not at all surprising. Like a lot of people, when Hayek wrote outside the discipline he was trained in, he failed pretty badly. After The Road to Serfdom came out, Milton Friedman refused to have him on the economics faculty a the University of Chicago. The university hired him for the Committee on Social Thought.

    Don't know if you've read it, but The Road to Serfdom claimed that the key to keeping freedom was to have the means of production privately owned by many people in small to middle sized firms. It sounds a lot like the German mittlestand, which was happily working away to supply the German war machine while Hayek was writing the book (Hayek became a British subject in 1938.) Capitalism can work quite well under an autocracy, as long as the owners of enterprises are on good terms with the autocrat.

    And of course, none of the American founding fathers would have called themselves capitalists. The planters were mainly phyiocrats, the merchants were mostly mercantilists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You are better considering British deer. No wolves means no predation taking out the weak or diseased. So as we wiped out wolves, it behoves us to step in and cull the heard for the good of the deer population. So we kill selected deer. That is the ethical away to go. Then having killed the deer ethics dictate that we do not waste any part of it. Eat the meat, tan the hide, use the antlers.
    That even happens with American deer.

    Locke would say, if you don't use the antlers, you have not only failed to make them your property, you have stolen them from the commons.

    So what are you supposed to do, go door to door trying to give away antlers? What if the guy you give them to ends up throwing them away?

    Seems like the central criterion must become the wealth of the commons, AKA the commonwealth, as newly defined to include ecological aspects. If you take antlers out of an ecosystem, you impoverish the ecosystem. How to make up for that? Not by "recycling" them in a landfill or in your compost. To repeat: if you take antlers out of an ecosystem, you impoverish the ecosystem.

    Does the commonwealth include the beauty of nature? To destroy it is to take it. What justifies the taking?

    Reds only want a bellyful. Primitive as bacteria. If the natural checks on their population are suppressed, substitute checks must be employed . . . like with British deer. For the good of their population.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    The second half argues, basically, that markets are better than deliberative democracy, by which he seems to mean democratic republics such as the U.S. and Europe have. He ignore the problem of effective demand, which is that in the market place, the rich get what they want and the poor get whatever is left. If you substitute the market for democracy, that will be true of policy as well as material things.

    Modern republics try to overcome the problem of effective demand in politics by giving each voter one vote. Democracy is therefore often a counterbalance to market forces.

    Another problem is that markets are quite effective, but they are not simply nature taking its course.
    Tell it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    He ignore the problem of effective demand, which is that in the market place, the rich get what they want and the poor get whatever is left.
    I did not believe the text I bolded. But since you gave a theory that your claim was based on, I thought I would attempt to discover your thought process.

    After several hours of reading I find a lot of disagreement over if effective demand is even a valid concept or not. I think I will pass on adopting the conclusion I bolded. I can force the conclusion, but it does not fall out without a lot of assumptions.
    Life is complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Little Time View Post
    I did not believe the text I bolded. But since you gave a theory that your claim was based on, I thought I would attempt to discover your thought process.

    After several hours of reading I find a lot of disagreement over if effective demand is even a valid concept or not. I think I will pass on adopting the conclusion I bolded. I can force the conclusion, but it does not fall out without a lot of assumptions.
    Well, if you're confused by it, consider the reason famine zones almost always export food.

    The cause of the famine, say a drought, does not just kill off subsistence crops. It also kills off cash crops. As a result, farmers not only lose the crops they intended to eat, they also lose the crops they intended to sell, so they don't have anything to eat, but they also don't have anything to buy food with. The latent demand -- their need for food -- certainly exists, but because the famine has impoverished the farmers, there is no effective demand, that is, they cannot buy food at market rates. Outside the famine zine, people have their subsistence crops, but they also have their cash crops. People outside the famine zone can afford any food produced in the famine zone, but people inside the famine zone are starving and poor, and cannot afford the food.

    In that case, there is a clear market failure and reason for the government to intervene.

    There's a pretty clear explanation of it here: https://www.economicshelp.org/concep...ective-demand/

    It may have been controversial in the early 19th century, when Malthus and Ricardo were discussing it, but since the great Depression, it's been pretty widely accepted.

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    Some of Locke's ideas on rights were a huge step forward, but in other ways he was similar to a modern
    corporatist-austerity-meister. Partly, he was trying to justify the Brit dispossession on American first peoples from their lands.

    Just finished a good read, where Roger Williams (about the same time) at least tried to find a way for Europeans to co-exist justly
    with the Naragansetts. It did not end well, due to the perfidy of the Puritans . . a good read !!

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...and-providence

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandtown View Post
    Some of Locke's ideas on rights were a huge step forward, but in other ways he was similar to a modern
    corporatist-austerity-meister. Partly, he was trying to justify the Brit dispossession on American first peoples from their lands.

    Just finished a good read, where Roger Williams (about the same time) at least tried to find a way for Europeans to co-exist justly
    with the Naragansetts. It did not end well, due to the perfidy of the Puritans . . a good read !!

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...and-providence
    My grandfather's grandfather on my mom's side was apparently murdered while trying to negotiate peace between settlers and natives in Oregon. It's believed the settlers didn't want peace, they wanted to exterminate the natives or at least chase them away, which is why they killed Reuben Brunson. No one was ever punished for the murder.

    Part of the pioneers' myth is that they were rugged individualists settling the wilderness. Fact is, they were the beneficiaries of a government project to clear the land of its original inhabitants.

    A pretty good example is the way Isaac Stevens treated native peoples and the whites who had married into the tribes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leschi...erican_leader)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Stevens

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    By the way, the notion of the noble savage and the unsettled wilderness had a large effect on many of the European thinkers. Locke's notions about the state of nature were probably influenced by this, and Rousseau certainly was. There's some pretty good stuff on the topic in Charles Mann's 1491. Part of the issue was that something like 90% of the native population was wiped out, mainly by disease, and escaped domestic animals spread the disease ahead of the settlers, so in some cases European explorers came upon apparently unoccupied wilderness that had been intensively settle by the native peoples a generation before. Native American use fire to control forests, and there's some thinking that the devastation of native populations allowed a big resurgence by the forests, taking a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere and helping bring about the little ice age.

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    What about the antlers the deer shed every winter?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdh View Post
    What about the antlers the deer shed every winter?
    What about them? They are entirely unrelated to any question at hand, even if you're still fixated on the labor theory of property, which is an aspect of Locke's theories that hasn't worn well. The social contract, natural rights, and the letter on toleration have held up better.

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    It was Osborne who said: “Locke would say, if you don't use the antlers, you have not only failed to make them your property, you have stolen them from the commons.”.

    It doesn’t hold water. If you, a man, uses them, it’s fine. If not, discard them, and something will eat them. The attitude that man is not part of the ‘ecosystem’ is nonsense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post

    So what are you supposed to do, go door to door trying to give away antlers? What if the guy you give them to ends up throwing them away?
    Knife handles, walking stick and riding crop handles. toggles for coats and sweaters, the uses are numerous.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandtown View Post
    Some of Locke's ideas on rights were a huge step forward, but in other ways he was similar to a modern
    corporatist-austerity-meister. Partly, he was trying to justify the Brit dispossession on American first peoples from their lands.
    You are now those Brits. Parliament in the UK had no influence on ethnic clensing in the US of A. You sir have sholders like a greasy coke bottle.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Knife handles, walking stick and riding crop handles. toggles for coats and sweaters, the uses are numerous.
    Just be dang sure you protect your lungs while working with antler.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You are now those Brits. Parliament in the UK had no influence on ethnic clensing in the US of A. You sir have sholders like a greasy coke bottle.
    Oh, dear.

    The phantom of the Lily-White Englishman rears its head again.

    Never guilty, free of stain, and beyond reproach by mortal men.

    The natural superiority and moral authority of the Englishman is challenged only by the ignorant and the unwashed.
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post

    Oh, dear.

    The phantom of the Lily-White Englishman rears its head again.

    Never guilty, free of stain, and beyond reproach by mortal men.

    The natural superiority and moral authority of the Englishman is challenged only by the ignorant and the unwashed.
    So, show me where the English had anything to do with clearing the First People off of their lands and I will retract.
    Mean while we have a poster who whether deliberately or unconsciously is trying to shift the blame from his nations culture to one thousands of miles away.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    So, show me where the English had anything to do with clearing the First People off of their lands and I will retract.
    Mean while we have a poster who whether deliberately or unconsciously is trying to shift the blame from his nations culture to one thousands of miles away.
    Bollocks.

    Unless you are referring to yourself, of course.
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    While Locke's work is basic to my thinking, I do not insist that everything he said must be considered gospel. He was an Enlightenment thinker, after all, and the basic idea of the Enlightenment is that you keep thinking and learning.
    Very important! People will readily give lip service to this idea. Down the line maybe not so much. E.g., in the face of new evidence, they change their mind on anything in science except evolution or global warming, which have to do with God and so are exempt from critical thinking.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    Bollocks.

    Unless you are referring to yourself, of course.
    You could try reading the post that I debunked
    he was trying to justify the Brit dispossession on American first peoples from their lands.
    "Brit" "dispossession"? Really?
    Settlers perhaps, Colonists maybe, but the move west really kicked off after independence.
    The dispossession of the Indians

    The process of removing the Indians from their ancestral lands led to bitter disputes. The British tried to end one such problem by setting up the Proclamation of 1763 line along the Appalachian divide, allowing whites to take over what lay to the east but attempting to reserve what lay to the west as Indian territory. After their independence from Britain, the Americans continued to adopt this ideal of a two-nation state, but in practice the notion soon collapsed as they pushed the Indian line westward past the Appalachians to the Mississippi River and into the Missouri River valley and other western lands.
    Although not intended to alter western boundaries, the proclamation was nevertheless offensive to the colonies as undue interference in their affairs. Treaties following Pontiac’s War drew a line of settlement more acceptable to colonial settlers (see Fort Stanwix, Treaties of), but the continued westward movement of pioneers and the settlers’ disregard of the proclamation’s provisions evoked decades of continued Indian warfare throughout the area. The addition of the balance of territory north of the Ohio River to Quebec in 1774 further exacerbated colonial conflict with Britain.
    The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
    So it was a colonists issue that the British were trying to mediate.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You could try reading the post that I debunked

    "Brit" "dispossession"? Really?
    Settlers perhaps, Colonists maybe, but the move west really kicked off after independence.
    So it was a colonists issue that the British were trying to mediate.
    Well, the original 13 colonies weren't nothin'. And the Brits were more likely than the Spanish or the French to replace the original population rather than intermarry with it. On the other hand, I think Brits have accepted enough guilt over the actions of the British Empire over the years, and they did, after all, give it up. But I'm not at all sure how this relates to the topic at hand.


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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    Well, the original 13 colonies weren't nothin'. And the Brits were more likely than the Spanish or the French to replace the original population rather than intermarry with it. On the other hand, I think Brits have accepted enough guilt over the actions of the British Empire over the years, and they did, after all, give it up. But I'm not at all sure how this relates to the topic at hand.

    You must ask sandtown
    Originally Posted by sandtown
    Some of Locke's ideas on rights were a huge step forward, but in other ways he was similar to a modern corporatist-austerity-meister. Partly, he was trying to justify the Brit dispossession on American first peoples from their lands.
    I see that he has edited his post since I challenged him on it.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    You must ask sandtown

    I see that he has edited his post since I challenged him on it.
    The question was addressed to all involved in the digression. Perhaps we can bring it back to the question of liberalism then and now. Rousseau was certainly a romantic about the 'noble savage,' but as far as I know he never met any. George Washington helped crush the Indian-French alliance in what Europeans call the Seven Years War and Americans call the French and Indian War.

    Locke was long dead before that. He wrote the Carolina constitution in 1669, five years after the British captured New Amsterdam and renamed it New York, and it should be noted that his position at the time was secretary, so really, he was drafting a document that reflected the preferences of his employers. From Wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundam...ns_of_Carolina

    The level of religious tolerance portrayed in the Constitutions was acclaimed by Voltaire who advised, "Cast your eyes over the other hemisphere, behold Carolina, of which the wise Locke was the legislator."[7] The Constitutions introduced certain safeguards for groups seeking refuge for religious reasons. To that end, Article 97 of the document foresaw: "…the natives who…are utterly strangers to Christianity, whose idolatry, ignorance, or mistake gives us no right to expel or use them ill; and those who remove from other parts to plant there will unavoidably be of different opinions concerning matters of religion, the liberty whereof they will expect to have allowed them…and also that Jews, heathens, and other dissenters from the purity of Christian religion may not be scared and kept at a distance from it…therefore, any seven or more persons agreeing in any religion, shall constitute a church or profession, to which they shall give some name, to distinguish it from others." Accordingly, the Constitutions brought right to worship and right to constitute a church to the religious dissenters to Christianity and outsiders such as Jews. They also promised religious tolerance towards idolater Indians and heathens.
    In short, it granted more rights to native Americans than to black slaves. We cannot know how much of the toleration and how much of the racism in the document reflected Locke's views. I argue that his views on slavery changed as he got older, but the case could be made that the constitution he drafted did not reflect his views to start with.

    Charles Mann suggests that the views of the settlers on democracy may have been influenced by the Native societies they came in contact with, so one could argue that Locke's work really reflects the influence of Indians on European thought, but Locke's notion about property being created by the application of labor to nature may have given comfort to those who were trying to carve a new life out of the American Indian. These are not even mutually exclusive suppositions.

    Not quite sure why you're exercised about the Brit dispossession remark. They certainly had a different pattern of settlement than the Spanish. My theory is that the Spanish encountered people whose agriculture could support denser populations on the land than European agriculture could, whereas the British and later American settlers mostly encountered people whose agriculture supported far less dense populations. As a result, when there was conflict, the Spanish tended to be outnumbered, their northern neighbors not so much.

    It's also true that the settlers in New England were less inclined to move west than the (mostly English prior to the revolution) southern colonists. This is because the southern colonies tended to grow crops that were hard on the land, and moving west was a way to get land that was still productive.

    None of these settlement patterns was based on morality. Economics had more to do with it. Pretty much all Europeans prior to the 20th century saw the conquest of foreigners as both defensible and desirable. It had to do with tribalism. As Keith's thread shows, much of the moral progress of mankind consists of widening the definition of who you regard as fully human, and therefore possessing human rights.

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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by mdh View Post
    It was Osborne who said: “Locke would say, if you don't use the antlers, you have not only failed to make them your property, you have stolen them from the commons.”.

    It doesn’t hold water. If you, a man, uses them, it’s fine. If not, discard them, and something will eat them. The attitude that man is not part of the ‘ecosystem’ is nonsense.
    There's a third alternative, which is to take them but not use them. E.g. letting them rot in your garage. Something ate them, but it doesn't get you off the hook.
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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post

    Locke's notion about property being created by the application of labor to nature may have given comfort to those who were trying to carve a new life out of the American Indian.
    That reminds me of the basis of Value Added Tax. Nothing new under the sun
    Not quite sure why you're exercised about the Brit dispossession remark.
    As the clip from Encyclopedia Britannia indicates, although they may have been born in Britain (or not) they were most definitely American colonials by then who disagreed with the British governments restriction on their land grabbing aspirations I see that sandtown abandoned the comment as it has been edited out.

    The comment as written reminded me of the chip on purri's shoulder.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    That reminds me of the basis of Value Added Tax. Nothing new under the sunAs the clip from Encyclopedia Britannia indicates, although they may have been born in Britain (or not) they were most definitely American colonials by then who disagreed with the British governments restriction on their land grabbing aspirations I see that sandtown abandoned the comment as it has been edited out.

    The comment as written reminded me of the chip on purri's shoulder.
    So, the British subjects living in the British colonies should not be confused with the British. I assume the same applies to Canada and Australia.

    I'm wondering, what was the point of establishing the colonies, if not land grabbing? I'm not being facetious here. At the time, it was generally believed that the way to increase wealth was to control more resources. This was a lot easier to do when grabbing land from people who did not have equivalent weaponry, otherwise perhaps they would have tried reconquering the land Henry V fought for. I realize the Brits had other reasons for wanting colonies, such as having a place to dump their criminals (when they could no longer transport them to America, they started transporting them to Australia. Many Americans discovering their roots have been surprised to find some of their ancestors were sent here for crimes ranging from theft to sedition.) But it seems to me that in establishing colonies and conquering the colonies of other European powers, land grabbing was the main goal. Grabbing land meant grabbing resources, which meant grabbing wealth for the nation.

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    Default Re: Locke & Liberalism

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    So, the British subjects living in the British colonies should not be confused with the British. I assume the same applies to Canada and Australia.

    I'm wondering, what was the point of establishing the colonies, if not land grabbing? I'm not being facetious here. At the time, it was generally believed that the way to increase wealth was to control more resources. This was a lot easier to do when grabbing land from people who did not have equivalent weaponry, otherwise perhaps they would have tried reconquering the land Henry V fought for. I realize the Brits had other reasons for wanting colonies, such as having a place to dump their criminals (when they could no longer transport them to America, they started transporting them to Australia. Many Americans discovering their roots have been surprised to find some of their ancestors were sent here for crimes ranging from theft to sedition.) But it seems to me that in establishing colonies and conquering the colonies of other European powers, land grabbing was the main goal. Grabbing land meant grabbing resources, which meant grabbing wealth for the nation.
    The American colonists certainly wanted to distance themselves from and were aggrieved by their relationship with their UK merchants. They were rapidly becoming more American and less British. I suspect that few of them ever aspired to return to the UK when they retired form business as Indian Nabobs did do.
    If they had found a society with which they could trade as they did in India there would have been no need of farm land. The Hudson Bay company traded without grabbing land. I think that you are using too broad a brush.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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