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Thursday, February 28, 2008

A state of war with the people

Another John Locke quote from his book Second Treatise of Government. It certainly could apply loosely to a number of situations. For instance I could apply this to Daley's control over the Chicago City Council on a small scale. On the other hand I could point to, loosely, Blagojevich's attempt to circumvent the legislature in order to use his perogative to hammer thru his health care plans. Or better yet his amendatory veto to add free rides to seniors on the recent transit bailout bill.

Perhaps an even better example still, at least for those of who you are against President Bush and the war in Iraq, that there was no debate on going to Iraq. They passed an authorization, an authorization is very different than a declaration of war (I should come back to that). They decided not to really address the merits and acquiesced to the prevailing sentiment. That sentiment being fear and a desire to beat back terrorism. Something certainly Americans had between 9-11 and the start of the Iraq war.

Of course in the future it's worth remembering this quote because the crises I've outlined and of course there are other throughout history that I or anyone can point to where this would be true. In other words it pays not to let those we choose as our leaders to bring us down the wrong path. That is the path we many not exactly want to go down.
I may be demanded here, What if the executive power, being possessed of the force of the common-wealth, shall make use of that force to hinder the meeting and acting of the legislative, when the original constitution, or the public exigencies require it? I say using force upon the people without authority, and contrary to the trust put in him that does so, is a state of war with the people, who have a right to reinstate their legislative in the exercise of their power: for having erected a legislative, with an intent they should exercise the power of making laws, either at certain set times, or when there is need of it, when they are hindered by any force from what is so necessary to the society, and wherein the safety and preservation of the people consists, the people have a right to remove it by force. In all states and conditions, the true remedy of force without authority, is to oppose force to it. The use of force without authority, always puts him that uses it into a state of war, as the aggressor, and renders him liable to be treated accordingly.
Of course if you have the need for more context you might want to pick up Locke's book and give it a read. I just thought this was a very powerful paragraph. I felt the need to share. The chapter is XIII: Of Subordination of the Powers.

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