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Miles Kimball on John Locke’s Second Treatise

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I have finished blogging my way through John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government: Of Civil Government, just as I blogged my way through John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. (See “John Stuart Mill’s Defense of Freedom” for links to those posts.) These two books lay out the main two philosophical approaches to defending freedom: John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarian approach and John Locke’s Natural Rights approach. To me, both of these approaches are appealing, though I lean more to the Utilitarian approach. One way in which I combine these two approaches is by maintaining that no government action that clearly both reduces freedom and lowers overall

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Miles Kimball on John Locke's Second Treatise

I have finished blogging my way through John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government: Of Civil Government, just as I blogged my way through John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. (See “John Stuart Mill’s Defense of Freedom” for links to those posts.) These two books lay out the main two philosophical approaches to defending freedom: John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarian approach and John Locke’s Natural Rights approach. To me, both of these approaches are appealing, though I lean more to the Utilitarian approach. One way in which I combine these two approaches is by maintaining that no government action that clearly both reduces freedom and lowers overall social welfare is legitimate, regardless of what procedural rules have been followed in its enactment.

In my blog posts about John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government: Of Civil Government and John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty I am not afraid to disagree with John Locke or John Stuart Mill. But I find myself agreeing with each of them much more than I disagree. My own love of and devotion to freedom is much stronger as a result of blogging through these two books. I am grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America, which was, in important measure, founded on the ideas laid out by John Locke. If the United States of America is true to its founding conception, it will be a land of even greater freedom in the future than it is now.

I have organized my blog posts on John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government: Of Civil Government according to five sections of the book. Each of the following is a bibliographic post with links to the posts on that section.

Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

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