Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter vii: The Natural Equality of Men to be acknowledged - The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature
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chapter vii: The Natural Equality of Men to be acknowledged - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature 
The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature, trans. Andrew Tooke, ed. Ian Hunter and David Saunders, with Two Discourses and a Commentary by Jean Barbeyrac, trans. David Saunders (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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The Natural Equality of Men to be acknowledged
I.Equality of Mankind.Man is a Creature not only most sollicitous for the Preservation of Himself; but has of Himself also so nice an Estimation and Value, that to diminish any thing thereof does frequently move in him as great Indignation, as if a Mischief were done to his Body or Estate. Nay, there seems to him to be somewhat of Dignity in the Appellation of Man: so that the last and most efficacious Argument to curb the Arrogance of insulting Men, is usually, I am not a Dog, but a Man as well as your self. Since then Human Nature is the same in us all, and since no Man will or can cheerfully join in Society with any, by whom he is not at least to be esteemed equally as a Man and as a Partaker of the same Common Nature: It follows that, among those Duties which Men owe to each other, this obtains the second Place,L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §1. That every Man esteem and treat another, as naturally equal to himself, or as one who is a Man as well as he.
II.Wherein this Equality consists. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §2.Now this Equality of Mankind does not alone consist in this, that Men of ripe Age have almost the same Strength, or if one be weaker, he may be able to kill the stronger, either by Treachery, or Dexterity, or by being better furnished with Weapons; but in this, that though Nature may have accomplished one Man beyond another with various Endowments of Body and Mind; yet nevertheless he is obliged to an Observation of the Precepts of the Law Natural towards the meaner Person, after the same manner as himself expects the same from others; and has not therefore any greater Liberty given him to insult upon his Fellows.35 As on the other side the Niggardliness of Nature or Fortune cannot of themselves set any Man so low, as that he shall be in worse Condition, as to the Enjoyment of Common Right,36 than others. But what one Man may rightfully demand or expect from another, the same is due to others also (Circumstances being alike) from him; and whatsoever one shall deem reasonable to be done by others, the like it is most just he practise himself: For the Obligation of maintaining Sociality among Mankind equally binds every Man; neither may one Man more than another violate the Law of Nature in any part. Not but that there are other popular Reasons which illustrate this Equality; to wit, that we are all descended of the same Stock; that we are all born, nourished, and die after the same Manner; and that God has not given any of us a certain Assurance that our happy Condition in the World shall not at one time or other be changed. Besides, the Precepts of the Christian Religion tell us that God favours not Man for his Nobility, Power, or Wealth, but for sincere Piety, which may as well be found in a mean and humble Man, as in those of high degree.
III.This Equality should make us benevolent, courteous and complaisant to each other. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §4.Now from this Equality it follows, That he who would use the Assistance of others in promoting his own Advantage, ought to be as free and ready to use his Power and Abilities for their Service, when they want his Help and Assistance on the like occasions. For he who requires that other Men should do him Kindnesses, and expects himself to be free from doing the like, must be of opinion that those other Men are below himself and not his Equals. Hence as those Persons are the best Members of a Community, who without any difficulty allow the same things to their Neighbour that themselves require of him; so those are altogether uncapable of Society, who setting a high Rate on themselves in regard to others, will take upon them to act any thing towards their Neighbour, and expect greater Deference and more Respect than the Rest of Mankind; in this insolent manner demanding a greater portion unto themselves in those things, to which all Men having a common Right, they can in reason claim no larger a Share than other Men: Whence this also is an universal Duty of the Law Natural, That no Man, who has not a peculiar Right, ought to arrogate more to himself, than he is ready to allow to his Fellows, but that he permit other Men to enjoy Equal Privileges with himself.
IV.It ought to make us observe exact Justice in distributing to each his own. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §5.The same Equality also shews what every Man’s behaviour ought to be, when his business is to distribute Justice 37 among others; to wit, that he treat them as Equals, and indulge not that, unless the Merits of the Cause require it, to one, which he denies to another. For if he do otherwise, he who is discountenanced is at the same time affronted and wronged, and loses somewhat of the Dignity which Nature bestowed upon him. Whence it follows, that Things which are in common, are of right to be divided by equal Parts among those who are equal: Where the Thing will not admit of Division, they who are equally concerned, are to use it indifferently; and, if the Quantity of the Thing will bear it, as much as each Party shall think fit: But if this cannot be allowed, then it is to be used after a stated manner, and proportionate to the Number of the Claimants; because ’tis not possible to find out any other Way of observing Equality. But if it be a Thing of that nature as not to be capable of being divided, nor of being possest in common, then it must be used by turns; and if this yet will not answer the point, and it is not possible the rest should be satisfied by an Equivalent, the best Way must be to determin Possession by Lot; for in such Cases no fitter Method can be thought on, to remove all Opinion of Partiality and Contempt of any Party, without debasing the Person whom Fortune does not favour.
V.This Equality a sufficient Remedy against Pride. L. N. N. l. 3. c. 2. §6.The Consideration of this Natural Equality among Men, ought to take from us all Pride; a Vice that consists herein, When a Man, without any Reason, or, without sufficient Reason, prefers himself to others, behaving himself contemptuously and haughtily towards them, as being in his Esteem base Underlings, unworthy of his Consideration or Regard. We say, without any Reason. For where a Man is regularly possest of some Right, which gives him a Preference to other Men; he may lawfully make use of, and assert the same, so it be without vain Ostentation and the Contempt of others; as on the contrary every one is with good reason to yield that Respect and Honour which is due to another. But for the Rest, true Generosity has always for its Companion a decorous Humility, which arises from a Reflection on the Infirmity of our Nature, and the Faults, of which our selves either have been, or may hereafter be guilty, which are not less heinous than those which may be committed by other Men. The Inference we ought to make from hence is, that we do not over-value our selves with regard to others, considering that they equally with us are endowed with a free Use of their Understanding, which they are also capable of managing to as good Purpose; the regular Use whereof is that alone which a Man can call his own, and upon which the true Value of Himself depends. But for a Man, without any Reason, to set a high esteem upon himself, is a most ridiculous Vice; first, because ’tis in it self silly, for a Man to carry it high for nothing at all; and then, because I must suppose all other Men to be Coxcombs, if I expect from them a great Regard, when I deserve none.
The Violation of this Duty is yet carried farther, if a Man shew his Contempt of another by outward Signs, Actions, Words, Looks, or any other abusive way. And this Fault is therefore the more grievous, because it easily excites the Spirits of Men to Anger and Revenge: So that there are many who will rather venture their Lives upon the spot, much more will they break the Publick Peace, than put up an Affront of that nature; accounting that hereby their Honour is wounded, and a Slur is put upon their Reputation, in the untainted Preservation of which consists all their Self-satisfaction and Pleasure of Mind.
[35.]For Pufendorf equality arises neither from a common ability to inflict harm (Hobbes) nor from the universal possession of a soul or rational faculties (the scholastics), but from the fact that all men are subject to the same duties of sociability.
[36.]Pufendorf’s Latin is communis juris, which Weber renders as Gemeinen Rechte, Barbeyrac as Droits commun à tous les Hommes, while Silverthorne opts for “common law.”
[37.]Originally jus, which might here be better translated as “right.”