To many current day Americans, John Locke is a character on a popular television series. When I mention Locke in the context of a political discussion, I am often met with a puzzled look, my debate partner wondering why I’ve changed the subject. Have the new episodes started yet?
To many previous era Americans, John Locke was a critical ingredient in the Enlightenment laboratory beaker that produced the American Experiment. Locke’s premise begins with the fundamental property right of person: each person owns their own body. It follows that each person owns the labor performed with their body, and the produce of that labor. Individuals relinquish some autonomy to protect their rights by entering into social contracts called governments. The philosophical raison d’être for the formation of the United States was drawn from Locke’s self-evident, unalienable individual right to property.
That was then, this is now. Progressive liberalism, a con man in a dime store Santa Claus outfit, promises to give more tax cuts, tax credits, rebates, bailouts, and other favors from its bottomless bag of gifts to every deserving American, paid in full by someone less deserving. The con is seductive: a free lunch, wrapped in the trappings of social justice. The marks line up by the millions.