Saturday, May 13, 2006

"Where there is no law there is no freedom."

"The law that was to govern Adam was the same that was to govern all his posterity, the law of reason.  But his offspring having another way of entrance into the world, different from him, by a natural birth, that produced them ignorant, and without the use of reason, there were not presently under that law.  For nobody can be under a law that is not promulgated to him; and this law being promulgated or made known by reason only, he that is not come to the use of his reason cannot be said to be under this law; and Adam's children being not presently as soon as born under this law of reason, were not presently free. For law, in its true notion,  is not so much the limitation as the direction of a free and intelligent agent to his proper interest, and prescribes no father than is fore the general good of those under that law.  Could they be happier without it, the law, as a useless thing, would of itself vanish; and that ill deserves the name of confinement which hedges us in only from bogs and precipices.  So that however it may be mistaken, the end of law is not abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.  For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom.  For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, " a liberty for every man to do what he lists."  For who could be free, when every other man's humour might domineer over him?  But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not be subject tot he arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own."
John Locke (1632-1704)
Concerning Civil Government, 57

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