Paul Gottfried’s short article rebuttingrnLocke’s concept of the “social contract”rnis unfortunately not as complete as herncould have made it, despite his introductionrnof David Hume into the argument.rnTo be specific, he failed to mentionrn”spontaneous order.”rnJust when the idea of “spontaneous order”rnarose is uncertain, but we do knowrnthat it was a central feature of the thoughtrnof the Scottish Enlightenment, to whichrnHume as well as Adam Smith were contributors.rnEven Robert Burns, in his poemrn”To a Mouse,” suggested somethingrnrelated in his famous line “the best laidrnschemes o’ mice ‘n men gang aft aglay.”rnSuch reasoning by Scottish intellectualsrnwas entirely intuitive, drawn from lessonsrnof history that they subjected to criticalrnexamination. While Friedrich vonrnHayek picked up and extended the conceptrnin its applicahon to political economyrnits principal development in thisrncenturv occurred in the physical sciences,rnespecially by Ilia Prigogine (NobelrnLaureate in Chemistr)’, 1977) and his associates.rn”Chaos theor)'” is closely related.rnBoth it and spontaneous order occurrnnaturall}’ in any “non-linear” system andrnare opposite sides of the same coin.rnThe rise of a market, an association,rnand a civilization are examples of nonlinearit}’rnat work. All attempts to build socialrnstructures from a “plan” (such as nation-rnbuilding) will certainly “gang aftrnagla’,” and thus tiie idea of the “socialrncontract” is pure fantasy.rn^—Robert WhittenrnCupertino, CArnDr. Gottfried Replies:rnIn his comments on my “misbegotten issue,”rnPeter Erickson expresses shock thatrnI would consider David Hume an “intellectualrnfounder of America.” Given thernflattering references to Hume among thernFramers and the influence exerted onrnHamilton, Jefferson, and Madison byrnHume’s political and historical writings,rnm’ description should not cause offense.rnErickson should read Forrest McDonald’srnNovus Ordo Sedorum for a comprehensiverndiscussion of Hume’s intellectualrnimpact on the formation of the U.S.rnConstitution. He would also do well tornread Hume’s Essays Moral, Political, andrnLiterary, which provides a wealth of usefulrnconservative teachings: e.g., “the bulkrnof nwnkind is governed by authority, notrnreason”; therefore, a “wise magistrate isrnone who will bear reverence for what carriesrnthe marks of age.”rnPace Erickson, I never suggested thatrnthe authors of the Federalist were unfamiliarrnwith Locke’s work. What I didrnwrite is that Locke was not the major influencernon their thinking and that whatrnthey took from him was not as importantrnas what they borrowed from others, particularlyrnHume and Montesquieu.rnAlthough Erickson is free to seek religiousrnenlightenment wherever he wants,rnI find it odd that he would depict Lockernas an orthodox Christian theologian.rnPerhaps I have labored under an illusion,rnbut it seems that Locke’s transformationrnof the Gospels into something “reasonable”rndoes not leave much room for thernsupernatural. It is, moreover, not clearrnfrom Concerning Human Understandingrnthat Locke’s “eternal thinking being” isrnnon-material; in the same tract (ChaptersrnSix and Seven), we are told that there isrnno evidence that the human soul functionsrnindependently of the body. Ericksonrnmay mistake Locke’s outward appearancernof reverence toward Christian truthsrnin a pervasively Christian society with arnsincere devotion to received Christianrndogma. On this point, however, I suspectrnthe Straussians are right. Locke was, inrnall probability, a religious skeptic whorntried not to tip his hand. Hume did notrn”pervert” his empiricism, combining itrnwith theological doubt. He was simplyrnmore open about his own metaphysicalrndoubt than Hobbes and Locke had beenrnin the preceding century: Both had feltrnobliged to represent themselves as ProtestantrnChristians. The First Letter on Toleration,rnwhich Erickson brings up, is interrnalia the holding up of a politically inoffensivernform of Christianity, a “free andrnvoluntary” association that would not excludernLocke himself as a heretic. “Tolerant”rnChristians were supposed to offerrn”houses of worship” to Muslims and pagans,rnas long as they did not act in thernmanner of Catholics, who swore fealty torna foreign potentate.rnPace Erickson, there is nothing in thernSecond Treatise on Civil Government thatrnrefutes Hume’s skeptical view concerningrnthe contractual origin of civil society.rnAlthough, in Chapter Eight, Locke considersrncertain objections to his constructivism,rnhe does not treat them in a satisfactoryrnway. He ends up conceding thernpoint, famously made by Aristotle in thernPolitics, that societies start off as paternalrndespotism, without showing that most ofrnthem turn into the kind of fraternal associationrnthat Locke is delineating. No onernis denying that Locke based his socialrntheory on a selective view of the organizationrnof the ancient Hebrews, as presentedrnin Deuteronomy and Judges. Afterrnall, he cites this illustration. What is atrnquestion is whether the Hebraic theocraticrnmodel has much to do with Locke’srnconception of the social contract, andrnwhether that conception represents arngeneral norm for the exercise of power inrnmost societies. Hume is correct to challengernboth assumptions as contrary to humanrnobservation.rnAlthough I have no objection tornRobert Whitten’s attempt to HayekizernHume, I think the experiment should notrnbe pushed to excess. Although Hayekrnand Hume were both theological skepticsrndrawn to the Scottish Enlightenment,rnHume was far more conservative.rnHe never would have uttered the paeansrnto democracy as the precondition for politicalrnand economic freedom thatrnabound in The Constitution of Liberty.rnAs Donald Livingston argues, Hume wasrnnot, with due respect to Dr. Johnson, arn”Tory by accident.” He came by his Toryismrnhonestly, as a defender of monarchicalrngovernment and aristocracy,rnwhich he regarded as a counterweight tornpopular interest. It astounds me that anyonernwho believed that community andrncustom were necessary for human thinkingrnwould be condemned as a forerunnerrnof Marxist materialism. But Humernshould also not be seen as an apostle ofrnthe democratic capitalist ideology nowrncelebrated by our ruling class. He despisedrndemocratic imperialists, both ancientrnand modern.rnOn Federal PowerrnWilliam J. Watkins’ comment on statesrnbeing forced to adopt the .08 blood-alcoholrnstandard for drunken driving (CulturalrnRevolutions, January) is a narrow objectionrnto federal power. The feds are notrnthreatening to jail the entire populationrnof any state which does not adopt thernstandard; they are only threatening not tornreturn some of the money we have alreadyrnpaid to the federal government.rnMany states receive far less than they payrnin. Taxes collected in the Midwest payrnfor projects so that the residents of Californiarnand Arizona can pay less for water.rnAnd farmers pay less for irrigation so theyrnAPRIL 2001/5rnrnrn