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    #1

    John Locke's passage

    The following John Locke's writing is so confusing. Would you please paraphrase the part in red more easily?

    Whether the creditor be forced to receive less, or the debtor be forced to pay more than his contract, the damage and injury is the same, whenever a man is defrauded of his due; and whether this will not be a public failure of justice thus arbitrarily to give one man's right and possession to another, without any fault on the suffering man's side, and without any the least advantage to the public, I shall leave to be considered.

    Thank you.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: John Locke's passage

    `Whether the creditor be forced to receive less, or the debtor be forced to pay more than his contract, the damage and injury is the same, whenever a man is defrauded of his due; and whether this will not be a public failure of justice thus arbitrarily to give one man's right and possession to another, without any fault on the suffering man's side, and without any the least advantage to the public, I shall leave to be considered.`

    The problem really begins with the first sentence rather than the second. In the first sentence Locke assumes that there are cases in which the law arbitrarily deprives one of two parties of his or her just desserts. That was probably true in Locke`s day, but if such cases still occur today they are anomalous. Today`s law, at least in the developed world, attempts to provide what we today would consider fairness.

    Having postulated such cases, Locke goes on to say in effect, I`ll leave you to consider whether the law, having made such arbitrary decisions with no apparent benefit to the public, is good law.

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