“Locke’s Political Anthropology and Lockean Individualism”

Ruth Grant, "Locke's Political Anthropology and Lockean Individualism," Review of Politics 50 (1988), 42-63.

Locke’s anthropological accounts do not depict isolated individuals whose behavior is governed by rational calculations of their interests. He is not an “atomistic” individualist; he acknowledges what communitarian critics of liberalism claim that liberals do not acknowledge the extent to which men are social beings. Nonetheless, his political theory is individualistic as a normative theory of individual natural rights. Locke seeks to combat authoritarianism by altering the relation between admittedly powerful social forces and political rights. The combination of his individualistic political theory and his recognition of the anthropological record of traditional authority gives rise to difficulties in his work concerning consent, the rule of law, and party politics.