I’d been reading John Locke, as I revisit the origins of my beloved country and remind myself where the freedoms I currently enjoy stem from. It’s a good thing to do periodically, as time erodes with it’s passage much that we took for granted. Locke, at length, proposes to trace the origination of the commonwealth (literally that the gathering of men into societies and establishment of governments is to protect the wealth, or propety, that a lone man could not do, hence common-wealth) from the state of nature that a free man is born into.
However, a man alone cannot stand up, Locke points out quite rationally, to a hundred men who want to take what the lone man has. Therefore, that man should join together with like-minded men. Indeed, he must, because alone he will quickly perish. Then he, and his kindred brethren with him, must establish laws that allow for the preservation of property, life, liberty, happiness… begin to sound familiar to you? However, Locke cautions in strong terms, the law must not be capricious, nor the rulers who were appointed to represent the men allowed to throw down laws that are arbitrary and depend solely on what they want. Because their power comes from the people who set them up to be in government, not from some high office itself.
So then, if we treat our beliefs as property, does leaving the state of a lone man allow us to also protect the contents of our head as well as our house? We are, inside this thick skull, a country all our own, as it were. Locke explains this, too. That we choose to be where we are, but that we have the freedom to be elsewhere. If we do not have that freedom, then we are enslaved.
No one can tell me what to think, or believe. That is mine, and mine alone. Inside my head, if all else I held is lost, I am free. If I am still able to draw breath: no matter the physical constraints that keep my lips from speaking. I am free.
As we do not know what the future will bring, don’t forget to protect your property, both physical and the beliefs you carry. Judge them, whether they be worth the efforts in protecting them. Do you really need that cracked mug with the orange cartoon candy on it? Does that cherished belief stand the test of facts or is it based on wishful thinking? Gather what is good and worthy close. Set your flag on it, and say ‘this is mine.’ and then? Well, a lone man will fall in the face of one hundred who wish to take what is his. In this era, when things are less desirable than control? The lone man’s words, his speech, are what the hundred foes want to suppress. So speak. And in speaking, from wisdom and rational thinking, be free from what others want to force you to believe, and stripping away your innermost thoughts, enslave you utterly.