Magazine December 17, 2020, Issue

Bander, Gaia, Locke

John Locke (Pictore/Getty Images)
How today’s anti-liberals get the Second Treatise of Government wrong

The consent of free and equal individuals is the only secure foundation of just and humane government, and John Locke’s Second Treatise explains why. But “consent” and “individuals” can be interpreted in different ways. Giving them implausible meanings unfaithful to the text of Locke’s masterpiece, recent critics, most prominently Yoram Hazony in The Virtue of Na­tional­ism, have advanced a worrisome alternative.

To understand how the interpretation is unfaithful and why the alternative is worrisome, one must understand what people are, and what they are not. And to that end, it will help to keep in mind two fantastical human specimens from

To Read the Full Story

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content on the site including the digital magazine and archives, no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more premium content like this, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

 

Become a Member

In This Issue

Sections

Features

Recommended

The Latest