"[F]or nothing is to be accounted hostile force, but where it leaves not
the remedy of such an appeal; and it is such force alone, that puts
him that uses it into a state of war, and makes it lawful to resist him.
A man with a sword in his hand demands my purse in the high-way, when
perhaps I have not twelve pence in my pocket: this man I may lawfully kill.
To another I deliver 100 pounds to hold only whilst I alight, which he
refuses to restore me, when I am got up again, but draws his sword
to defend the possession of it by force, if I endeavour to retake it.
The mischief this man does me is a hundred, or possibly a thousand times
more than the other perhaps intended me (whom I killed before he really
did me any); and yet I might lawfully kill the one, and cannot so much
as hurt the other lawfully. The reason whereof is plain; because the one
using force, which threatened my life, I could not have time to appeal
to the law to secure it: and when it was gone, it was too late to appeal.
The law could not restore life to my dead carcass: the loss was irreparable;
which to prevent, the law of nature gave me a right to destroy him, who
had put himself into a state of war with me, and threatened my destruction.
But in the other case, my life not being in danger, I may have the benefit
of appealing to the law, and have reparation for my 100 pounds that way."
(1632-1704) English philosopher and political theorist. Considered the ideological progenitor of the American Revolution and who, by far, was the most often non-biblical writer quoted by the Founding Fathers of the USA.
"An Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government", Chapter 18 "Of Tyranny", #207, originally published in England, 1690
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