12 March 2011
16. Second Treatise of Government
Many moons ago I took part in an online discussion about the intent of the founding fathers of The United States of America. What was the reasoning behind some of the institutions they created? Why did they not mention certain things and clearly define others.
What I learned from that discussion was that nobody, not one person who had anything to say, knew anything. It was all opinion and conjecture. All the arguments were formed in order to bolster each persons desire for the "truth" to support the way they wanted it to be.
The biggest arguements, as usual, centered around religion. What exactly was the intent of "seperation of church and state"? Once again, as usual, it was Christian opinion against everyone else. All the non-Christians swear that there was never any intent for God to have any place within our society other than "quietly over there". I didn't agree with that opinion and I still don't.
What I did learn from those conversations is that I needed to go find out what the frame of reference the founding fathers had really was. Where to start? Why not begin with the works that they themselves said were their influences. This book is the first in a long line of them that I will be reading. It will also include works by Plato, Russeau, Kant and the Federalist Papers among numerous others.
I will form my own opinions by reading what they read and then try to empathize with what life was like in thier time.
I will dismiss the politics and social selling points of the modern day manipulators. Where were THIER heads...not where are OUR heads. That is what I want to know.
What did I learn from this book? A TON! This thing is outstanding. It is not easy to read. I had to read many sections more than twice to understand what the intent of the words was.
It is pretty obvious after a while that it is one long line of reason. It starts with an individual and what that actually means. From there the book creates a bigger and bigger snowball of rights and liberties of those individuals and how that relates to small groups, society and governments. It was quite fascinating to read and watch it build upon the foundation layed earlier in the book.
Next book in this little project of mine: The Basic Political Writings - Jean-Jaques Russeau