Totem Salmon

Print
Written by Freeman House

"God, who hath given the world to man in common," wrote Locke, "hath also given them the reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life and convenience.  The earth and all that is therein is given to men for the support and comfort of their being.  And though all the fruits it naturally produces, and the beasts it feeds, belong to mankind in common...there must of necessity be some way or other (of establishing ownership) before they can become of any use, or at all beneficial, to any particular men." (in John Locke, "An Essay Concerning theTrue Original Extent and End of Government).  Jefferson imbued that natural right with the highest of virtue, as least as it might be assumed by independent landwoners dispersed across the landscape.  Locke declared that the highest function of government was the protection of the private property of the commoner, a revolutionary conept in a time when dominion over property had been considered the exclusive domain of the aristocracy.  Jefferson's revolutionary thinking was powerfully influenced by Locke's but he gave it his own spin.  The tidy squares superimposed o­n the map of areas few new Americans had ever seen was a pattern designed to expedite their hasty occupation by the yeoman farmer-democrats that the president saw as the chosen people of God.  If the new government was to have something to govern, it needed to transform all that land into property. 

Neither Locke or Jefferson could have imagined that o­ne day corporate entities would o­ne day be invested with privileges similar to those held by the aristocracy in the 17th and 18th centuries--the very privileges their theories were meant to subvert.

Freeman House, Totem Salmon, excerpted from pp. 180-182.

Designed by Free Joomla Templates