Locke’s position on property was intimately bound to his Spinozist understanding of man.
Spinoza’s kabbalistic god as immutable Substance and ‘natural law’, which set the limit to man’s activities, led to determinism and fatalism. Locke developed this into his well known concept of a human mind that is nothing more than a tabula rasa - a passive register of animal sensations.
Locke wrote that the souls of the newly born are blank tablets. He asserted that thinking is only sense perception, and that the mind lacks the power ‘to invent or frame one new simple idea’. He wrote:
The knowledge of the Existence of any other thing we can have only by Sensation: for there being no necessary connexion of real Existence with any Idea a Man hath in his Memory; nor of any other existence but that of GOD, with the Existence of any particular Man; no particular Man can know the Existence of any other Being, but only when, by actual operating upon him, it makes itself perceived by him...
…GOD has given me assurance enough of the Existence of Things without me: since, by their different application, I can produce in myself both Pleasure and Pain, which is one great Concernment of my present state.
In short, all ideas come from sensation. Locke’s rejection of innatism followed Spinoza’s position, which understood man to be no more than a warped and stunted mode of the absolute immutable Substance of Lurianic kabbalah.
Having followed Spinoza in eliminating the freedom of creativity and imagination from men’s minds, Locke based man's ‘freedom’ upon the ‘sanctity’ of property relations.
His notion of the ‘social contract’, which guaranteed the players' club members the right to enter the casino, was in fact advanced in order to justify William of Orange's usurpation of the British throne. James II, in effect, was charged with having denied those rights to his more speculative subjects, thus breaking the contract.
What’s more, once the members were in, it was made more difficult for others to open the door.
Where a mind is considered to be a tabula rasa, it can be ‘educated’ into the acceptance of a moral code to which the ‘Marranos’ in the casino do not adhere, despite appearing to do so. Passive acceptance is further guaranteed when the underlying philosophy perpetrated by that ‘education’ is a sociological one of determinism.
Making the connections back to Venice and Sarpi, through to Spinoza and Locke, permits an alternative understanding of the Counter-Renaissance restoration of the economic advantages that benefitted an olgarchical alliance of landholding nobility, Jewish traders and usurers and Venetian financiers
The ‘shattering of the vessels’ in the Peace of Westphalia might well have represented the nadir of unimpeded free trade. However, by making the connections back to Venice and Sarpi, through to Spinoza and the Lockeian right to own property, we can understand how national political sovereignty was transformed into an instrument of service to property owners.
The germ of tikkun was in Spinoza’s reworked Lurianic philosophy. The restoration of oligarchical rule was Ein Sof. After 1688, the predominant political philosophy of Britain and those regions of the globe under its influence would be transmogrified Spinozism.
© John Dunn.