According to David Barton in his Founders’ Bible (which is fabulous and available on Amazon!), John Locke was the third most cited political authority in the Founding Era.
Locke states in his Two Treatises of Government that “The law of nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men’s actions must…be conformable to the law of nature, i.e to the will of God.”
Based on Locke’s statement above, it might be time for some – or even better, all – of our current government officials to revisit Locke’s writings…
Locke also waxes eloquent on labor in his treatises on government. He explains that the labor of our body and the work of our hands is ours, our private property. He explains that “every man has property in his own person.” He goes onto say that “whatsoever then he … hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in…that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer.”
I wonder if this is why the farmers hold onto things so dearly and feel such a deep sense of ownership over their land and everything they do. Not only have they mixed their labor into the land as Locke explains, but they’ve also mixed their blood, sweat, tears, decades of intense labor and fervent prayers into it. They’ve knelt in the soil to beg the Lord for rain, for one more night without a freeze, for the impending hail to pass by their fields, for help to find the bolt they’ve dropped in the loose dirt, the list is endless. They’ve hit their fingers impossibly hard with impatiently aimed hammers while hastily fixing their equipment so they can finish the field before the deadline they and nature have set. And against all odds, they steel themselves to continue putting one foot in front of the other, never giving up, never giving in. They press onward with some of the strongest will and most unshakeable faith imaginable regardless of the weather, the markets, the forecasts, or any other imaginable obstacle. They face it with confidence, knowing they will deal with whatever comes.
We’re in the middle of a horrible drought here. As one of our neighbors said regarding his approach to the drought, “we’re going to do the best we can and go from there.”
A farmer’s best is never just what he feels like doing that day. It’s truly his best, his everything. It is facing impossible odds, digging deeper than most are willing to for true strength, and pressing forward with calm, quiet courage, faith and insane amounts of rigorously hard work. Then, they come home and love their families with their strong, calloused hands and their incredibly true hearts.
The list of tasks is never complete. The life they make is beyond beautiful. My husband, my dad and farmers everywhere – what a blessing they are to us!
One thought on “Locke’s Labor Theory”
Love, LOVE! You describe us Farmers perfectly!