PSCI 110 Lecture 14: Note 14

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17.03. Introduction to Political Thought
Lecture Outline: Locke, Second Treatise of Government, chs. 5, 7-9
I. Property (chapter 5)
A. Thesis of self-ownership (§ 27)
B. Justifying private property
1. Survival argument: cannot make use of a natural resource unless one owns it
2. Labor argument: since one owns his labor power, he owns what he mixes his labor
3. Proviso argument: no one can object to appropriation so long as there is “enough and
as good” left for others
4. Value argument: Any useful thing on which labor has been bestowed owes nearly all
of its value to that labor, and therefore belongs to whomever bestowed his labor upon it
C. Limits on hoarding and inequality: leave “enough and as good” for others; spoilage
D. Introduction of money permits great enlargement of property and inequality
II. The family
A. “Conjugal society” or marriage (chapter 7, § 77-83)
1. Purpose not just procreation but also continuation of the species
2. Based on voluntary compact
3. Not a perpetual contract but may be dissolved by consent or under certain conditions
B. Slaves taken in a just war subject to absolute dominion and arbitrary power of masters
C. Master of the family or head of household: limits on his power
III. Political society
A. Origins of political society
1. Men driven into society by “necessary, convenience, and inclination” (§ 77)
2. Community created by “any number of men”; majority then has right to act
3. Historical examples of “people free and in the state of nature” creating government
B. Two contracts? Contract of society (among people) and contract of government
(fiduciary relationship between socially contracted people and government)
C. Purpose of government: “preservation of their lives, liberties and estates” (§ 123)
1. Three functions of government match three deficiencies in state of nature (§ 124)
a. “an established, settled, known law” to be standard of right and wrong
b. “a known and indifferent judge”
c. “power to back and support the sentence”
2. Legislative power is supreme
D. Justifying political obligation
1. Express and tacit consent
2. Problems with Locke’s distinction between express and tacit consent
a. Confuses manner of consent with basis of consent
b. Since consequences of tacit consent suffice for social order (must obey state but
not bound to remain in it), why should express consenters have to consent to more
than that (viz. not to emigrate)?
c. Why should one not be able to renounce all claim to protection on public highway
and therewith any obligation to obey the government?
d. Can only make an action a sign of consent if either the action is not of interest to
anyone for its own sake, or I have a right to prohibit people from making the sign
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