Sunday, January 22, 2012

Locke as Subversive?

The Founding Fathers revered John Locke, the Whig philosopher and supporter of the Glorious Revolution. Classical liberal thought is founded on his political philosophy. The preamble of the Declaration of Independence is a summary of Locke's philosophy of natural rights. Both libertarians and conservatives held Locke in highest esteem, the latter seeking to conserve the founding principles of our republic. It would seem odd to find in the esteemed publication of the ISI the following limerick (page 17):
There once was a man named John Locke.
A fan of tradition he was not.
By rejecting his teaching,
ISI is preaching
How to stand athwart history and yell “stop!”
The last sentence refers to William Buckley famous article in the first issue of National Review in 1955 when communism spread over half the world and modern liberalism was unchallenged. Was Locke a dangerous wooly-eye radical causing the downward spiral of his day? What's happened to the ISI (formerly known as Intercollegiate Society of Individualists)?