posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 08:07 PM
Actually, this is exactly what John Locke was proposing when he presented his political philosophy. He said that the thing that distinguishes humans
from other animals is the capacity to use reason (now, before the peanut gallery starts their caterwauling, he also said that the big problem is that
most of us don't use reason). Reason is something that can be taught and if one had a society in which each person has been properly instructed,
then government would no longer be necessary, except in the extreme cases of national defense and occasional internal abberations.
Because of this view, he advocated a society in which each person is given tools with which in a perfect world, each one would reach enlightenment.
He was also instrumental in removing the death penalty for things like stealing a loaf of bread to feed ones family (which, in those times was a
necessity for some), though the biggest influences on a reasonable criminal justice system were Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. He was also the
first "significant" philosopher to propose that a bad government should be removed.
Needless to say, he was the greatest influence in the formation of the American nation and many of his ideas were enshrined, if not in the
Constitution, in the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson was his most significant admirer.
It is largely because of his insistence on the ability of people to learn that the US has the best public education system in the world (if you
disagree with this, then why are so many people begging to come here for colllege?) and largely why we still have the trappings of a democracy
(tattered as they are) and the insistence on the ability of every person in this country to succeed.