"To inspire them to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life."
-John Coltrane on Uplifting Others

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Democracy and Stuff

How truly free are we under our republic? I know several strung out acquaintances would yell "Legalize Pot!" at this moment to express their disapproval for America's form of government. Others would cite existing gun laws or abortion as proof for or against democracy. But I wonder how well they or I understand these principles.
John Locke wrote in "Of The State of Nature," "A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is mutual, no one having more than another ... But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of license; though man in that state has an unrestricted liberty to dispose of his person or possessions ... no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions" (69). What does this mean?
My high school government teacher summed it up this way. He said, "We have laws because my rights and liberties might infringe upon your rights and liberties." I don't readily understand all democratic principles that Locke, Rousseau, Burke, and Jefferson espoused centuries ago. I do know that Mr. Berry was on to something. Anyone have a suggestion for a book on democracy for imbeciles like me?

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