"[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."
by:
John Locke
(1632-1704) English philosopher and political theorist
Source:
"An Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government", Chapter 18 "Of Tyranny", #207, originally published in England, 1690
http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/locke/john/l81s/chapter18.html
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Reader comments about this quote:
Excellent. A basis for common law, conscience, self-defense, and equal rights.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Nothing quite so eloquent and beautiful as reason and logic from a true genius. I wonder how those people will spin this quote who purport handgun restrictions; when the use of arms is necessary to a free and secure state, how will an unarmed man contest the unlawful entry of a violent criminal whose intent is to murder, rape, or pillage? Shall the tenant reason with the criminal to wait patiently until the policing authorities have arrived to arrest him? Has this ever happened before? I have often wondered why men who refuse to protect themselves with a hand-gun never advertise their stupidity to the open public in the form of a sign in front of their house; a type of sign that says "this is a gun-free house" (if a man merely doesn't own a hand-gun, but on no moral ground, this is fine -- I merely address my comments to those who purposefully stand on quicksand to purport the use of arms). I have recently seen several signs that say "The owner of this house is armed, nothing in this house is worth your life", to which I readily agree. The legal authorities are there for such a case wherein Locke masterfully illustrates the cases wherein a man may have the opportunity to be brought to court; the "law of nature" therefore gives me the "right to destroy him" who was an immediate threat wherein I had to ability of recourse to quickly reconcile myself to the court. Excellent!
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    A question now arises, when the law of nature, common law, law, justice and any and all remedies to make one's self whole against larceny, whether it be by a fiat money system where allodium or otherwise is not recognized, and/or has been done away entirely, what then?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    Response to Wafflers posts. "GEORGE MASON QUOTE" on Friday July 25th.----- Waffler you asked," Who decides what is corrupt and power seeking." Understand your constitution which limits the power of govt. When an elected official steps outside the limits he seeks power not granted and has corrupted the law. Bravo to SPONGE who said "If there are abuses in the government, WE are to blame." And by the same token WE, based on a thorough knowledge of the constitution AND the intent of the founders who wrote it are the ones to decide what is corrupt and power seeking. Unfortunately, ( or by design?) this has not been taught to past generations and people are ignorant of the importance of that duty under the constitution. To be vigilant and use the power of the law to cleanse it of corruption.---- Then you said, "I support civil disobedience and voting and discussion to effect public policy." Waffler, what if one day the govt. says no more civil disobedience, no more voting, no more discussion, ("public policy" is another unconstituional issue best left for another day), you are a dissident and disrupting social order. And don't say it can't or won't happen here because it did 232 years ago and is happening all over the world right now as we speak. Will you meekly say yes sir and do what you are told? Then you said, " Government and corporations have been sufficiently corrupt and power seeking long enough that those who believe force of arms is the appropriate solution they should have used them long ago." No Waffler. Freedom loving, constitutional law respecting, gun carrying patriots do not want to use them to kill another human being ever. They are a necessity for self defense against murderous criminals yes, but: " when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." A free spirited people who understand the rights God gave them can, and will, (because it's the peace that freedom nourishes we really desire), only be pushed so far and when that limit is reached then we will be FORCED (not choose) to use our guns. Lastly. I know not for the others, but don't ever assume to know what I believe. You don't know me. If you ever meet me and get to know me only then will I repect your right to have whatever opinion of me you like. Until then, your remarks are insulting and slanderous and I feel the need to defend myself. And for a man who says he believes in no right to attack the govt. , you have no problem "seeing the lot of y'll annihilated once and for all". I see now. You want us to "attack" so they can "defend". (See, there is a difference between the words.) So long as you can get somebody else to pull the trigger on us you'll feel , what is it Waffler? Sadistic satisfaction, perverted joy, power lust, or something else at seeing our dead and bloody bodies laying on the street. Those are only guesses based on your "windbag weasels" comments. You tell me. What secret pleasure WOULD you get out of it? You see, I don't know you. And if you twist the word defend to mean attack again I will be quick to point it out to you.
     -- Dan     
  •  
    Hmm...yes.As per this very wordy quote that borders on improper English sentence structure,I agree with the point that is (poorly in sentence structure) conveyed.So much could have been said with many fewer words.
     -- Me Again     
  •  
    He could have said that man has the right to self defense against bodily harm but not the right to kill over property or theft. Dan you failed to understand my post. You state that under the rights of God you can fire upon or attack Government, I agree. I simply said that under the Constitution you do not have a right to attack or even to defend yourself from government authority. If a cop says you are under arrest and says assume the position, your job is to submit. If you are able to hold him off he will call for reinforcement, right up until the time he must call for state troopers, national guard etcetera until you are subdued. I was not speaking to you directly Dan only generalizing about those on this site who choose Rhetoric over Reality. Some defend this right to arms even to the extent of a citizen having the same fire power as a soldier. One however then said that such a statement is just a mental exercise that the use of such fire power is a different thing. Well words matter and having or amassing private arsenals matter. Just as nations understand the dilemmna of arms races and loose nukes we should understand the nature of dangerous arms in our neighborhoods. You do not understand the philosophy of civil disobedience if you think that those who choose to exercise it also plan on having an arsenal or private army beside or behind them. I get tired of gun owners and the NRA saying that guns are for use or portection against law enforcemet or corrupt government. Give me a concrete example of when this would apply? Have you never heard of Tammany Hall or corrupt sweetheart deals in city halls, Congress etcetera. If the individual acting alone could and should decide that any procedure, act or event performed by government is corrupt and thus had the power to use force of arms "legally" government city, state, federal would be under armed attack constantly. ALL I AM SAYING DAN IS THE IDEA IS A LIE. IT IS RHETORIC VERSUS REALITY. I would get no pleasure from violence. Dan I would get pleasure from having this scourge of false empty thinking be elimnated from our society so that we might move forward into a more positive reality and away from negative empty meaningless rhtoric.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  •  
     -- jim k, austin      
    Dan Mr. Locke here is saying the same thing. He is saying we have a right to defend ourselves from physical attack from another individual. We do not have a right to physical or armed force against theft. That would also seem to say that we do not have a right of armed force against corruption. Now if someone is robbing you or your home you can order them to stop, keep them at bay, attempt to arrest them, but you are not authorized to shoot them or beat them unless it is in self defense ie. they use force first. You are not authorized to shoot government forces even if they shoot first. Can you give an example of someone who successfully defended themselves from government forces by force of arms. I believe I could give examples of defense from government actions via the court systems, which of course is a different thing from force of arms.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  •  
    Logan your argument about the "no gun sign" is a good one. Most people know the concept of trespass and private property and that they may and probably will be restrained by home owners, neighbors, or police if they are doing somenthing untoward. If I lived in a neighborhood where a majority of the homes had a sign bragging about being protected by fire arms I think I would move. Some like a bunker mentality, I prefer a more relaxed and trusting mentality right up until the time someone tries cross me (Logan speaking of "Rhetoric vs. Reality" the empty prhase of "republic not a democracy" comes immediately to mind.)
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  •  
    Waffler, a concrete example of an armed militia (an associated group of private sovereigns with hand guns, machine guns, and more) that lawfully, and rightfully, and Constitutionally stood off the police, national guard, and other destructive non-protective government bodies were the Koreans and other neighborhood blocks that, by deadly force, stopped government attempts to dis-arm them. The organized neighborhoods stood firm with sufficient regulation to protect their family's and neighbor's lives, homes, businesses, and their community against the policing efforts and the escalating violence of the LA Riots. If an economic collapse ever happens in this country (under the Fed's management - very likely), it will be far worse than the last great depression with the resulting chaos and gangs that will soon follow, police will be powerless to protect.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    Mike did the Koreans attack the police or what? Come on man give a straight answer for once. The Koreans protected their property. Did they kill people without cause or just for property rights or in self defense. I will research the case. I live in a town of "dear hearts and gentle people" so I can't totally relate to all of this stuff. Folks pass my house on the sidewalk all the time. They do not step on my lawn because they know that would be wrong. We love and respect each other and each others property. I travel all over America and find that is the case most places.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  •  
    lol, no, the Koreans did not attack the police. On the several occasions that the police ordered them to give up their arms, they just ignored the police. I remember one television blurb where a police car pulled up to a strip mall with armed men on the roof and other places. The policeman, with megaphone in hand, ordered everyone down and to give up their arms. He was ignored also. The home I had visited had a pair of officers come to the door and ordered everyone to give up their guns. I remember one of the many armed men there stating something to the effect 'from my cold dead hand'. The police were ask nicely to leave from most every house that I'm aware of on that street without taking one gun. The police told everyone that they could not protect them and that they were going to form a perimeter to keep the violence contained. No one was killed or even injured because of the local militias and neighborhood's awesome display of firepower - the rioters did not make a legitimate threat to them, they just went somewhere else. The police announced a few days later that they had decided not to prosecute anyone for gun violations. (-; good thing, they might have had a real riot they didn't want to handle;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    For those who mistakenly believe that weapons of the soldier are not included as a protected right for the individual citizen, I ask that you heed the words of our Founders. "Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American..." --Tench Coxe, 20 Feb 1788, regarding the Constitution. Jefferson said every citizen is a soldier like in the days of ancient Rome and Greece. There are dozens and dozens of instances when this point was made during the Constitutional debates. I find it difficult to twist meaning out of Locke's quote to infer that a freeman must use only 'approved' weapons for his own defense -- what part of 'the right shall not be infringed' are people unfamiliar with? And don't bother with the nukes argument -- an assault rifle, bazooka, grenade, rocket, plane, tank, etc. is not a hydrogen bomb -- and people can (and do) own all of those things. The sum total of all the military might of a free people (not including government officers) SHOULD exceed that of the government -- when it doesn't, there is nothing to stop government from using their military might to intimidate the people into submission.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  •  
    Waffler, re: your emphatic "THE IDEA IS A LIE. IT IS RHETORIC VERSUS REALITY" -- ideas are not lies, they are ideas -- they may be bad ideas or inspired ideas -- none-the-less ideas, flawed or otherwise. A lie is a lie, even if we believe it to be true. Your reality may in fact be rhetoric to another, so if it is Truth you are after, then stick to the facts. I would venture to guess that I would not be alone in sharing the opinion that the so-called reality of which you speak is indeed mere rhetoric. The truth shatters worlds -- I can only assume that what you argue against indeed does pose a threat to your 'reality' which is probably composed mostly of beliefs, hopes, dreams, legends, customs, and desires, no matter whether that reality is in accordance with the Laws of Nature or not. It's just a difference in the way we answer the age-old questions, "Who am I, and why am I here?"
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  •  
    Archer, well said, thank you.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    I own both hand guns, and rifles. I almost never even look at them no less use them. Although I am an ex US Marine, shot expert on the rifle range, and missed the range record by two points. I am not some gun brandishing nut.I pray to God that I never have to harm another human being in anyway at all, no less shoot and kill them. As for the government officals, I certainly do not want to harm them any more or less than anyone else. I am well aware that from their perspective I do not have the right to defend myself against them, but that is only because they are the ones that have lost perspective. Every new government is the result of the people removing the old and installing the new, disspite being told that they did not have the right to do that. In America, (we the people) are the boss. This is our country. Government is required to obey us and not the reverse. It is them who foolishly believe that they are the masters, and not the servents. It is true that in their eyes I do not have the right of self defence against them, but in Gods laws, and that of nature I have the right to, and will defend myself and family, or anyone for that matter, from anyone bent on doing them harm. If that should be cops, judges, solders, or who ever, over steps their bounds, then they have broken the law, and will be the cause of their own consequences. We are not wimpy, whiped puppies in this country. We are free, brave men. We dont want the nightmare, but if it forced on us, we will answer the call. Ask any nation, or people that supposed that they could cower us into submittion. It never worked in the past, and push us far enough, and it will be seen that it will not happen now. Let us all pray, and work for peace, but always be ready for war. It is the only way to have relative assurence of peace.
     -- Ken, Milford Pa     
  •  
    Ken, thank you, your comments make one of my earlier posts absolutely ring true, that is, the U.S. military (and X) are among this nation's most noble.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  •  
    When the stormtroopers marched into the Jewish ghetto to round people up for the concentration camp, should they have simply assumed the position and take what is coming to them? Was that their duty? The stormtroopers were the government after all. When governments lose their moral authority, they have no authority at all. According to some, I suppose, our own revolution was illegitimate because the British were not threatening lives so much as property and freedom. Would a slave be justified in rebelling against his slave master, even killing him, to gain his freedom? As a slave his life is not threatened, only his freedom. Your freedom is your life. They are inseparable.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  •  
    Pax superiore vi telarum.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  •  
    You guys are doing good today to some extent, but we have to see beyond the idea of whose perspective we are seeing things and see it from an overall perspective. An individual or family who makes a decision to shot or "defend" itself from law enforcement are in theory "defending" themselves or attacking the people in general or society. You started out great Ken from Milford. I still agree that we have rights under God that are different from our rights under law, society, the constitution. John Brown knew this and acted on it. I think he was right. As for as the polygamists well I dunno. Mike the cops apparently had no right to ask for the Koreans guns unless the Koreans were using them illegally. The Koreans however did not fire on the cops which is what we are talking about here. Archer you state your belief that citizens can have the same weapons as soldiers (and I guess police) but then you state that this is just a mental position and not a practical or real one. So it begs the question what the hell is your point? I thought we were discussing the constitutional rights to bear arms and specifically to bear arms against the government. Ken from Washington you are on to something. I think the Jews made a tactical decision to go along peacefully, hindsight of course being 20/20 you are right that they should have gone down fighting. They like most of the world had no idea what was waiting for them. Even the Germna gestapo may not have known what the SS was about to do with them.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  •  
    The Jews would have fought if they had not been disarmed first. Some did fight with a handful of guns that had not been turned over to the government. Unfortunately, too many Jewish citizens obeyed the government and allowed themselves to be disarmed and it led to disaster. Don't repeat the mistakes of history.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
  •  
    Should natural laws and rights ever be disobeyed or ignored?
     -- Thomson, London, Ontario     
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