Our association began when I met Werner in S-- at a noisy, crowded party of young men. As the evening wore on, the conversation turned to matters phil...moreOur association began when I met Werner in S-- at a noisy, crowded party of young men. As the evening wore on, the conversation turned to matters philosophical and metaphysical. They were discussing beliefs, and everyone believed in something or other.
'For my part,' said Werner, 'I'm convinced only of one thing.'
'What's that?' I asked, anxious to hear his views, for so far he had said nothing.
'That one fine day, sooner or later, I shall die,' he answered.
'I'm better off than you,' I said. 'I'm convinced of another thing too - that one foul evening I had the misfortune to be born.'
They all thought we were talking nonsense, though in fact no one had said anything more sensible than this the whole evening. From then on we marked each other out in the crowd, came together a number of times and discoursed very solemnly on abstract subjects until we saw that each of us was pulling the other's leg. Then we looked each other meaningly in the eye, as Cicero says the Roman augurs did, and burst out laughing. We had a good laugh and separated, well pleased with our evening.
I was lying on the couch, gazing at the ceiling with my hands under my head, when Werner came into the room. He stood his cane in the corner, sat down, yawned and announced that it was getting hot outside. I said that I found the flies troublesome, and we both lapsed into silence.
'My dear Doctor,' I said. 'What a dull place the world would be if there were no fools. Here we are, two intelligent men, who know you can argue eternally about everything under the sun, so we don't argue. We each know practically all the other's innermost thoughts. With us a single word speaks volumes. We see through the triple outer husk to the kernel of our emotions. We find sad things funny and funny things sad, though in fact we're pretty indifferent to everything except ourselves. So there can be no exchange of feelings or ideas between us - we each know all we want to know about the other and have no wish to know more. All we can do is tell each other the news. Have you got any to tell me?'
I closed my eyes and yawned, exhausted by this long speech.
Werner pondered a moment, then said:
'All that rigmarole of yours has got some purpose.'
'It's got two,' I replied.
'You tell me one, and I'll tell you the other,' he said. [...](less)
The gist of Locke's political philosophy is amazing, especially in the context of when it was written, but I was disappointed with his fuzziness in a...moreThe gist of Locke's political philosophy is amazing, especially in the context of when it was written, but I was disappointed with his fuzziness in a few areas:
Property rights: What if property rights protection causes more harm than benefit to an impoverished local population? Locke's defence of property rights is based, after all, on his proposition that private ownership is preferable to letting resources go to waste. Unfortunately, it seems that what constitutes "going to waste" is subjective.
Rule of the Majority: It's what he advocates and defends on a common-sense level for a few pages, but then never ventures to comment on the danger of tyranny of the majority.
Of course, Locke was confused or untruthful in writing about the legitimacy of human slavery.
And, he also looks at everything, especially in the property chapter, with the notion that whatever is best for mankind is best period. What about the Earth as a whole?
Clear and coherent explanation of what government should be and why. Classic libertarian ideas. Unfortunately, it is not written in a way that makes m...moreClear and coherent explanation of what government should be and why. Classic libertarian ideas. Unfortunately, it is not written in a way that makes me eager to suggest it to non-libertarian friends. But great if you are interested in limited government philosophy and its logical and moral sense.(less)