Particularly irksome to Kendall is the more common view that Locke was the "prince of individualists," the champion of individual rights against the state, of limited government and the sanctity of property: in short, the interpretation which we are advancing.
The workaday libertarian is more interested in ideas that he can use in the struggle to establish a free society than he is in arcane historical theories and controversies.
Peter Laslett calls MacPherson's reading "thoroughly unrealistic and occasionally unhistoric. After government, there were laws and restrictions pertaining to property. Locke used the term Labour to characterize the act by which men create property.
The problems are by no means trivial ones. Find out something that hath the use and value of money amongst his neighbours, you shall see the same man will begin presently to enlarge his possessions. Hartogh, G. Evidence of the inferior status of the landless MacPherson finds in Locke's discussion of wage labor.
Here Strauss argues that Locke's theory of property is reflective of the individualism that leads to the "spirit of capitalism," 44 an individualism that was a more advanced expression of the political philosophy of Hobbes.
Locke believes that God has given us all things richly, and that man may use those things as long as he takes what he needs. In seventeenth century England, property, even landed property ownership was fairly widespread, 91 and when one considers the forms of property not tied to land e.
It seems perfectly reasonable to assume that a writer may innocently fail to state all of his assumptions, as MacPherson says, 66 either because he believes they will be taken for granted by his readers or because he, himself, doesn't fully realize they are his assumptions.