Thursday, March 24, 2011

John Locke's "Second Treatise on Government": A Summary

I'm not sure why some bros think the state of nature was so fucking terrible. Look, we all know right from wrong, and back in the day where we all roamed free in the land of plenty, if someone broke that natural law, you beat his ass, he knew better, and everyone went about their business. Was it a perfect system? Obviously not, or we wouldn't live in the society we do, but it sure as hell wasn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. In fact, if everyone had chilled the fuck out and acted reasonably back then, we'd probably still be in the state of nature and no worse off for it.

The most important thing we have is liberty, and that's precisely what made the state of nature so great: everyone was free to do as they pleased, as long as they let everyone else do as they pleased. After all, no one owns me except me, and no one can tell me how to work, or what to work for. That's the foundation of property - bros worked their goddamn asses off to make shit, so they had the right to that shit. An apple on a tree that no one owns is fucking useless - some bro had to pick it to eat it. Who are you to tell him he can't eat an apple that he worked for? Owning land isn't as jamming two sticks in the ground and calling it 'property' - the first bros to own land built houses with their bare fucking hands. Yeah, I have no problem with them telling you to keep the fuck out. Sorry I'm not sorry.
It turns out some bros are fucking great at picking apples and some bros are goddamn champions at gluing rocks together, so if one bro wants to trade a bunch of apples for a wall, that's awesome. As long as no one is letting apples rot and generally wasting resources, who gives a fuck? Once bros figured out that everyone loves gold, they stored their work that way. That's all gold is. A shiny, useless metal that stores work, because everyone agrees to accept it. Barter is the tits, because it lets everyone maximize their shit. Without it, the hardest working bros get punished for their efforts.

All in all, it was sweet. But of course, there are always assholes. Not everyone is an asshole, but there were enough of them to cause trouble - a couple of dicks starting stealing shit and got their goddamn skulls bashed in when they got caught, because every man was judge, jury, and executioner back then. That's not a bad thing - when someone tried to take your liberty or your work back then, you had no choice but to kill him to protect yourself.  Yeah, occasionally the natural law got misapplied. There's no real way around that. But it worked. Then the real fuckheads tried to enslave other bros and seize power, and shit went to hell. People could have just killed them and gone back to the state of nature without any problems, but when every single bro is a king like you, you realize that it doesn't take long for shit to get out of hand. So the smartest, most reasonable bros got together and said, "Hey - let's make a fucking deal."

And that, my friends, is how the commonwealth started. A bunch of smart fucking bros got together and one of them said, "Yeah, nature is fucking great, but there are some problems. Turns out, we're not always sure exactly what the natural law is, and we don't always agree. It was pretty tragic when Mark bashed Steve's head in because Mark didn't think Steve should be allowed to pet his dog. So, uh, yeah - let's write down some goddamn laws we all agree on, and then we'll pick a couple bros to keep the laws up to date as shit improves. Remember when Jeff invented fire? We had no idea what to do for, like, a week." 

Then another bro was like, "But how can we be sure those laws are followed? I'm too goddamn busy to come running every time that bitch Margaret thinks someone took her rocks. I've got important shit to do. Besides, what if we don't have a law for something? I think Jim was eating daisies the other day. Who the fuck saw that coming? There's no law for that. Let's pick a bro whose job it is to enforce the laws, a bro we can trust to take care of us when the law doesn't provide for something, we'll give him some gold, and then we don't have to all worry about jumping all over each other's shit at every false alarm." 

Then some other bro went, "Woah, how will we know that that bro won't abuse that power? Let's pick some other bros, whose job it is to make sure crimes are actually being committed before PowerBro doles out skull crushings and shit." And then one last genius went, "I mean, if any of them fuck up their jobs, we'll just replace them. After all, what is this agreement about if not to make life better for all of us?" And everyone agreed, because that's reasonable as fuck. And that's how the state was born.

What's that? We need a way to decide on the laws, enforce them, and decide when they're broken? Sound familiar? Yeah, get a huge constitutional taste, bitch - governments need a legislature, an executive, and a judicial system. I don't particularly care one way or another which system people decide on to get those, as long as they have them - I figure they'll mostly want democracy, but if people want a monarch to pick the laws, then let them have one - after all, when any government fails the people, the people can revoke the fuck out of their contracts and start over.

So don't try to tell me that monarchs can do whatever the fuck they want or that no state is legit. Anyone can agree to partake in a government that functions for the common good and protects his life, his liberty, and his right to pursue shit; when governments stop doing that, the people can just start over. Government is, after all, just a bunch of bros picked by other bros to watch out for bros everywhere.


The Second Treatise of Government is available online at Wikisource.

If you love the idea of paper and ink and stuff, you can get Second Treatise of Government on Amazon.


  1. Whoa, and I thought John Locke was just that dude from lost. I can't believe he wrote all this philosophy shit and got lost on an island.

  2. Howzit Dude!

    At the ripe old age of 55 some of you Youngbloods might rightfully think of me as being an OldBro, but I am hear to tell you I have been looking for the whole of my life for a person, a thinking person mind you, that I would be willing to follow even to the Gates of Hell. In you, Philobro, I think I have found such a leader. Your literary charisma is such that I find myself moved to follow your lead like a dutiful lemming, even going so far as to willingly dart madly across the most inhospitable stretches of frozen tundra finally propelling my mortal body from precipitous heights unto certain death in pursuit of the wisdom you so freely dispense.

    With that in mind, perhaps you should call your followers, "My Loveable Little Lemmings".

    On the other hand, some of your followers might not share my zeal for your Leadership. Perhaps "Brothunkers" might be a better term to describe their allegiance to your cause.

    So there you have it! My humble contributions to your Tweeted question as to what to call your followers. Hope you find them helpful...

    1. You know, lemmings actually rarely follow each other. That is a misconception resulting from a disney movie in which it appeared that a number of lemmings followed another lemming off of a cliff. In reality, the producers just had an intern shove a bunch of lemmings off of a cliff. There is no evolutionary advantage to lemmings following each other to death.

      And really? One guy posts something online and you feel you can follow him to the "Gates of Hell"? Ya, no no no, ya, you're right. Perfectly reasonable

  3. Lemmings dont actually jump off cliffs old bro. That's some disney make believe.

    And this support of government has so much evidence to the contrary. Look what's happening in the middle east, the people are fucking pissed at their government and powerless to do anything about it other than enlist outside aide. Why? Because they believed in the government at first and then feared it.

    And what of military dictatorships? You let the military rule some poor country in africa and they sit on the poor and cause them to be powerless as they gain international infamy.

  4. dude, PhilBro, you continue to blow my mind. this is most excellent. When's the book coming out?

  5. The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.

    What does this mean.

  6. Mathieu.p.y says-- "Lemmings dont actually jump off cliffs old bro. That's some disney make believe."

    Truth is stranger than Disney, bro.

    1. A. You're an idiot.

      B. Lemmings became the subject of a popular misconception that they commit mass suicide when they migrate. Actually, it is not a mass suicide but the result of their migratory behavior. Driven by strong biological urges, some species of lemmings may migrate in large groups when population density becomes too great. Lemmings can swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. In such cases, many may drown if the body of water is so wide as to stretch their physical capability to the limit. This fact combined with the unexplained fluctuations in the population of Norwegian lemmings gave rise to the misconception.

      The misconception of lemming "mass suicide" is long-standing and has been popularized by a number of factors. In 1955, Disney Studio illustrator Carl Barks drew an Uncle Scrooge adventure comic with the title "The Lemming with the Locket". This comic, which was inspired by a 1954 American Mercury article, showed massive numbers of lemmings jumping over Norwegian cliffs. Even more influential was the 1958 Disney film White Wilderness, which won an Academy Award for Documentary Feature, in which staged footage was shown with lemmings jumping into certain death after faked scenes of mass migration. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, Cruel Camera, found that the lemmings used for White Wilderness were flown from Hudson Bay to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where they did not jump off the cliff, but were in fact launched off the cliff using a turntable.

  7. they jump off cliffs as a natural instinct to control their population, if they didn't, there would be too many lemmings and not enough food and they would all die of starvation. Lemmings are fucking sacrificial uberbros.

  8. bro pleeease can you do the first treatise as well? really struggling with it and am requiring your bro-spin

  9. whoa ! locke makes so much more sense -
    do you have anything about mill's on liberty ? that is some confusing shit

  10. "Remember when Jeff invented fire? We had no idea what to do for, like, a week." ..hilarious.

  11. Thank you so much for this. Reading this stuff is NOT my forte.