Monday, November 1, 2010

The Founding Fathers and John Locke

Guest Post by Don Ayotte

Are our values, lives, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness and values along with our Republic, on the world’s auction block?  Do we believe that our constitution is being eroded, one civil liberty at a time.  I believe they are.

I had questioned many times, just what had motivated our founding fathers to write our constitution that has withstood a two hundred year onslaught of attack to erode our citizens civil rights.

When I was studying at the University of Delaware, I studied the works of Political Philosopher, John Locke and found the answer that I had been seeking.

John Locke was born was born in 1632 and published the, “Second Treatise of Government,” in 1690.  It was his philosophy that the Kings and Queens of England did not possess the “divine right to rule.”

Locke also wrote that the power to govern must be obtained from the permission of the people and that the purpose of the government was to protect the natural rights of its citizens.  He further wrote that these natural rights were life, liberty and property and that all people had these rights, simply by being born.

He writes in, “Second Treatise of Government in Chapter 13:

And thus the community perpetually retains a supreme power of saving themselves from the attempts and designs of any body, even of their legislators, whenever they be so foolish, or so wicked, as to lay and carry on designs against the liberties and properties of the subject:  For no man or society of men, having a power to deliver up their preservation, or consequently the means of it, to the absolute will and arbitrary dominion of another.  When ever anyone shall go about to bring them into such a slavish condition, they will always have a right to preserve what they have not a power to part with and to rid themselves of those who invade this fundamental, sacred and unalterable law of self-preservation, for which they entered into society.”

One can easily see why America’s founding fathers sought out John Locke’s political philosophies as a cornerstone of their newly crafted Constitution and Bill Of Rights.  They clearly relied on these philosophies and at times, outright plagiarized Locke’s works, not that John Locke would mind.  If one reads his work, they will clearly parts of the constitution almost word for word.
Lately I have viewed many people writing or speaking of a second civil war or a revolution.  Each one of us must step back and decide if the principles of the constitution and the Bill of Rights has been forcibly or by slight of hand violated and if we can repair the damage already done, with legislation
A more recent political philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, writes in his work, “Civil Disobedience.”  “This American government, what is it, but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity; for a single man can bend it to his will.”

Has a single man bent our government to his will, clearly against the will of the people and if he did, is it our obligation to restore the republic to its original state?
The Federal Government seeks to erode our rights a little at a time, hoping that we won’t notice.  But they have made a grave mistake, the American people have noticed and they have had enough.  We must now decide if we can gain back our lost civil rights through our election system or we must follow the advice of John Locke and use whatever means possible to restore our Republic.

I would suggest that if the Supreme Court Justices legislate national law from the bench that they reread John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government.  I know they must have read it many times in law school   This man was the inspiration for the US Constitution and The Bill of Rights

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