By Erasmus Desiderius
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Additional info for A Very Pleasaunt and Fruitful Diolog Called the Epicure
In their own time, Anthony, King, and the student protesters were often condemned by government officials as threats to the nation, to its ideals of freedom and justice, just as the Oklahoma City bombers have been condemned. Anthony, King, and the protesters, however, but not the bombers, were later vindicated and even celebrated in the name of these same ideals, the ideals of individual defiance, the ideals Locke and Jefferson supported. The idea of legitimate resistance, then, even violent resistance, is always confused and uncertain, and the ‘proper’ use of government power can never truly be clear.
According to social contract theory, individuals in the State of Nature (America – the untamed wilderness) had an equal opportunity to claim and own land, and those individuals – equal landowners – then left the State of Nature to form a social contract. This was the original civil vision, and Locke took it quite seriously, as did Jefferson and the early Americans. Locke recommended that only landowners should vote, and early America only gave landowners the vote. Locke’s argument was that only freeholders (free owners of land) would be rational enough to vote.
He may have a reputation – as a gunfighter, for example – that makes him special and feared, but his reputation is based on individual merit, not on inherited privilege. He may also respect certain individuals more than others, but only on the basis of merit. He fights for individual equality regardless of importance or wealth, and his commitment to equality derives from the wilderness as the source of ‘natural’ equality. His wilderness identity also represents rationality. He is a ‘natural’ individual who can know and tame the wilderness.