Front Page Titles (by Subject) Autonomy and Authority - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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Autonomy and Authority - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Autonomy and Authority
“Locke's State of Nature in Political Society.” Western Political Quarterly (USA), 29 (1976): 126–135.
Did Locke think, in his Two Treatises of Government, that the state of nature really existed, or did he present it as an invented or imagined state? The state of nature is not only a persistent fact but a necessary and pervasive component of political life.
In the state of nature, all men are perfectly equal and perfectly free. Every man has the right to judge and punish violations of the law of nature. The essential defining characteristic of the state of nature is a defect—the lack of an authority, commonly accepted, to settle controversies that may arise.
Locke used the term and the thought to set out the limits of political power. To both ruler and the ruled, the admonition is to beware of bringing back the full state of nature in a worse form than the ordinary state of nature. The teaching to both is one of restraint and moderation.
The ruler who understands will be restrained in the exercise of his authority; he will be aware that the effort to make political society completely civil cannot succeed; so he will not seek to accomplish the impossible. The people, if they understand, will be alert to the danger of excessive use of power by the authorities; they will not take the law into their own hands as long as the government functions with right and authority.