What the heck was Locke thinking?

“The agricultural laborer, according to Locke’s example, is better off than an Indian king in America” — Pierre Manent, An intellectual history of liberalism

Rulers of the great American empires would have been fabulously wealthy, wealthier than a thousand European agricultural laborers of the 17th century. But even the chief of a small tribe would have had a lifestyle that an agricultural laborer would have envied. In fact, there are many recorded instances of Europeans in North America “going native,“ due to the attractiveness of the Indian way of life.

Comments

  1. Yes. See the critiques by [nearly?] contemporary indigenous Americans who were sure they were richer than most Europeans. I'm really enjoying the book "The Dawn of Everything" by Graeber and Wengrow.

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  2. Kandiaronk is one specifically mentioned in the book.

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