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Single Idea 19912

[catalogued under 25. Society / C. Social Justice / 5. Right to Punish / a. Right to punish]

Full Idea

It is natural for us to defend life and limb, but that an inferior should punish a superior is against nature.

Gist of Idea

Self-defence is natural, but not the punishment of superiors by inferiors


John Locke (Second Treatise of Government [1690], 236)

A Reaction

He is obliquely referring to the execution of Charles I, even though he may have been legitimately overthrown. I wonder what exactly he means by 'superior' and 'inferior'. An idea from another age!

Book Reference

Locke,John: 'Two Treatises of Government' [Everyman 1988], p.236