The People's Right to Bear Arms

S Pawlett epawlett at
Wed Apr 21 15:12:31 PDT 1999

> >Reading it, it's hard to imagine that it is anything other than
> >revolutionary, and popular in character. It's major literary influence,
> >I think, was John Locke, that theorist of the English revolution. A fine
> >document it is too.
> Locke is more a transitional figure than a simple bourgeois revolutionary.
> Note that Locke's Fundamental Constitution for the Carolinas tried to
> create a feudalism in which a dominant seigeurial class could extract rent
> by tying direct producers to the land as a subject class or leet men, who
> though permanently tied to the land on a herditary basis, would be happy,
> like slaves, in the freedom of worship that Locke would allow. While Locke
> explicitly defended feudalism as the solution to the labor shortage, he did
> not exclude slavery. Article 110 of hte Constitution reads: "Every freeman
> of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his Negro slaves,
> of what opinion or reigion soever." While Locke did not infer the
> illegitimacy of chattel slavery from his defense of property rights as
> derived from the mixing of one's labor with the common, he did justify the
> dispossession of Indians because they had not mixed their labor with the
> land 'sufficiently."

Locke overtly defended slavery in chapter 4 of the Second Treatise. He also defended the right for the people overthrow their own government in chaps 18&19. Locke is more than a marginal figure, he is perhaps the second most influential political theorist (behind Marx) in history. Most defenders of capitalism and capitalist ideology are Lockeans of one sort or another.

Sam Pawlett

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