Coming into One's Own: John Locke's Theory of Property, God, and Politics

Brubaker, Stanley C.
March 2012
Review of Politics;Mar2012, Vol. 74 Issue 2, p207
Academic Journal
Literary Criticism
In the three centuries since the publication of the Two Treatises, a trail set down by Locke, although scarcely concealed, has gone unremarked—as has its final destination. If we miss this trail, we miss the work's coherence. If we follow this trail, we find a compelling, even shocking, case against Revelation as an independent source of authority. And we find a theory of property so powerful—certainly in Locke's own estimation—it compels the reconstitution of the relation between children and parents, wives and husbands, servants and masters, persons and polities, and ultimately between man and God. Indeed, Locke's story of the right of property is also the story of man's coming into his own, his coming into his own mind, freed from the irrational claims of Revelation. Thus, Locke's theory of property is nothing less than a story of man's Enlightenment.


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