John Locke - the Classic Liberal Ideology

John Locke - the Classic Liberal Ideology

Tisсhenko Ivan

John Locke - the classic liberal ideology.

Locke's doctrine of state and law was a classic expression of the ideology of bourgeois revolutions. It has absorbed many of the achievements of political and legal knowledge and advanced scientific thought of the XVII century. In it, these achievements have been deepened and revised in the light of historical experience, which gave the revolution in England. Thus, they become fit to respond to high theoretical and practical demands of political and legal life of the next, XVIII century - the century of the Enlightenment and the two major bourgeois revolutions of modern times in the West: the French and American.

More accurate to say that liberalism is the first time with Locke finds theoretical systematic. In the course of its further development, many elements of Lockean systems were revised or even rejected. In itself - it's a common phenomenon in the history of any major philosophical and ideological currents. The question is: can liberalism to give up the base, which led by him, Locke, do not risk "to hang in the air and turn the system just in the amount of views on these or other issues of public life. The base is in Locke's liberalism - with our present point of view - seems paradoxical. Liberalism, the first and axial political doctrine of our time, they built on a theological foundation for those concepts of "law of nature", "natural law" and "natural state", which are a repetition of the medieval scholastic doctrines. And after all this - then the logical and conceptual condition which allows Locke to overcome the absolutism of the Hobbesian Leviathan and move on to become a textbook theory of the liberal state.

If you think about how important the Locke for us today - to understand our lives, not just to supplement the historical and philosophical knowledge, it seems that the main object of meditation can be a liberal attitude toward capitalism.

Those who are inclined to identify them or see them as two sides of one coin, probably read Locke as a textbook author of the bourgeois. Not to mention his individualism, they will pay attention to his unwavering defense of private property as a "natural right". And in fact, is not even in Locke's "extremist" language in this regard like the assertion that "the supreme power, no one can take away a single particle property without his consent? "And what about taxes?" - Just right to be surprised here. They have something for sure under normal circumstances, be charged not only without my consent, and often against my will. And without them would not survive the most liberal state. In this formulation it looks like Locke is not even a liberal, and anarchist-libertarian.

Anarchist Locke clearly was not, and already it makes a closer look to his understanding of private property, including to why the right to private property he is ready to be considered as a kind of generalization of the entire triad important rights, including life and liberty.

Consideration of property Locke begins with the concept of ownership itself. " What does this mean? - The ability to own and manage themselves - not only the body but also his desires. We are able to do it, because we are moral and intelligent beings. We are free to the extent that can be such beings, ie, do not obey what is not ours and not depend on us - sensual inclinations, turns us into slaves of what causes them. Consequently, our moral and reasonable proposition, controlled and limited (if necessary) our desire, Locke wrote, "there is no cutting, and the purpose and benefits of our freedom." We do give ourselves the moral law and follow him, and therefore are free - in the sense of ownership of them. That is what underlies the Lockean concept of property, causing it to be inalienable.

It should be noted that the freeholder (in the Lockean sense) - the exact opposite of modern bourgeois consumer, whose needs, tastes, behaviors, made a colossal industry "of popular culture and advertising (including political) and, in fact, exclude, to the extent in which they work, its autonomy. Lockean owner lives and operates, denoting their free will in the products of their labor. Thus on this basis he assigns them.

The two most important for Locke's tenets are: firstly, the work is a form of initiative and moral will. Slave labor is distinguished from the labor of the owner, the first - not amateur and not an expression of his moral will. As in the light of this, assess the activities of millions of current employees - in an assembly line or in a computerized office? What is different, if not slavery (in the Lockean sense)? Secondly, property can only be working in nature. It's not even so much labor theory of value - in Marx's sense of the word, as the labor theory of property. Already in the XVIII century, Hume and Smith had already been clear that it does not correspond to the realities of "commercial society", in which the assignment and alienation of the property occur on quite different grounds, primarily economic. And they were certainly right: the discrepancy between economic and moral laws, the isolation of the economy in a particular reality, no matter how inherently subject to moral regulation - a key condition for the formation of capitalist society, if you will - the principle of its structural organization.

One could say that Locke developed an ethical rather than economic concept of property. But only as such can it be "natural right". If the first date, it is absurd to speak of the "sacred" right of ownership. Because the economy is by nature knows only expediency. If so, you can always ask - whether to private property and, if so, to what extent and for what? And here is logically and politically can be deduced all. After the feasibility always implies the other - to whom or from whose point of view it is appropriate or not.

Category of ownership, in its economic plan, does the dispute about its appropriateness, soluble only reasoning power, but nothing - not a "natural reason", i.e. not on moral grounds. If we insist on the ethical sense of ownership, it means, firstly, the requirement that the work was amateur, and secondly, that the products of labor disposed of those who occupied them. In the modern context, "mature capitalism" (as opposed to Lockean), these requirements take on such an explicit socialist if not communist, the sound of that Locke, if desired could be considered almost a forerunner of the ideology of the proletarian revolution.

Of course, this is as absurd as to consider him an anarchist-libertarian on the basis of judgments about the prohibition of the State to dispose of property without the consent of the owner. What if we gave insight into Lockean theory of property? Firstly, a more realistic understanding of the conditions of its preservation in modern society - understanding, freed from empty moralizing. Secondly, what is now more important to us, the ability to deeply comprehend the peculiarities of the modern liberal state and its political system as a whole.

And indeed - based on what their legitimacy? On the consent of citizens. But to distinguish agreement from disagreement is possible only with the proviso that they - and the fruit of self-expression, i.e. independent judgments. It was unclear why they might have Lockean freeholder and as he could reasonably express. But if such owner, with its autonomy as a popular facial features are no more, if the political judgments of the new (economic) property owners and nonowners determined manipulation by PR and "mass culture" or - at best - the calculation of their private benefits, rather than moral understanding of the common good to which no one cares, then what is the significance of their agreement or disagreement? Anyway, as long as they are not able to "physically" destroy the state. What really builds a modern liberal state and how durable this support if the Lockean answers to these questions are not relevant? On the other hand - how can you actually confront social injustice, if the Lockean conditions popular resistance to power as irrelevant?