One thing to look at that might be more in line with this forum's purpose might be to talk about the fact of how Locke's understanding of human nature was faulty and in what way. I guess this is where I have been tending toward, although, maybe it is not of general interest.
In a way I guess I look at it with an engineer's eye. If I want to design a machine to do a particular job, it's success lies in being able to accurately know the forces and stresses to which it will be subjected, as well as having an accurate view of what needs to be done and how. If someone's view of human nature, and the stresses and forces that are acting on this nature are faulty, and their ideas about how this nature responds under different kinds pressure is faulty well...... how can they engineer a social structure that will do what they intend it to do..
For my part, I'd enjoy talking further about where Locke went wrong-- although I suppose it's clear enough that I think he got several important things right (no pun intended), chief among them the notion that the state's foundation is to be laid in a fixed understanding of human nature, as God's worksmanship, and thus that there are things that it simply cannot do and there are things that it must do, because such is God's will, who so shaped us and molded us.
Perhaps we might also ask how "right" one has to be about human nature in order to establish a polity that does "work." What are we intending to do? To my mind, we're trying to provide the most hospitable forum for working out our salvation in fear and trembling and proclaiming the Gospel-- which would seem to recomend a state that was bound to some ascertainable moral standard consistent with our view of the human person or at least not outright hostile to it, but not, to my mind, necessarily identical to it. Again, we do live in a fallen world, and civil society is going to encompass people who are fallible and passionate, may not have a right understanding of human nature, and may not act on it if they do. I'd daresay the "fullness" of human nature, as we understand it, is certainly not accessible to the world. Would an orthodox understanding of human nature, if made the foundation of a polity, make for a civil order that would best serve the end I've set forth (if that's even the right end), given that all political order is imperfect and temporary and we'll never get something perfect? What would such a polity look like? Should we even be contemplating such an enterprise?
Another avenue for productive discussion might be to discuss the Christian idea of the duties of kings in a Christian state (for instance in Tsarist Russia) and how the Church in Christian empires has viewed this problem of "Caesarism" and how they have attempted to mitigate it. Obviously Christianity existed within cultures under a monarchy for a long time, and had plenty of opportunities to respond to abuses of the authority by the rulers -whether those rulers be within the state or the church. Their answer was not the answer we find among the enlightenment thinkers..
Indeed, Orthodox Christians have patiently suffered under what such as Locke would have considered abject tyranny. And yet, leaders of the Orthodox Church in Greece played an active role in encouraging the people to cast off the Turkish yoke. "Liberty or death" was the rallying cry among those who fought, priests and laypeople together. This would seem to be another line of fruitful inquiry.
Edited by Evan, 09 September 2011 - 09:47 PM.