I’ve been wanting to translate old philosophical texts into modern English for quite some time. I like how this explains concepts line by line. The output is labeled and flagged as hate speech under the sensitive content guidelines but upon reading both passages, I do see similarities in contextual meaning. I wonder how we can balance limiting hate speech which has the evil design of spreading hatred, versus allowing philosophical discussion and debate of morality.
My second grader asked me what this passage means:
Sect. 16. THE state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man’s life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other’s power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the commonlaw of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power.
Sect. 17. And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me. He that, in the state of nature, would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state, must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away every thing else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest; as he that, in the state of society, would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth, must be supposed to design to take away from them every thing else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.
I rephrased it for him, in plain language a second grader can understand:
A state of war is a state of anger and hatred. If you try to get another man in your power, or make designed plans to take away his life, you are at war with him, because you have exposed his life to be taken away by anyone who joins together with him in defending himself. It is reasonable and just that I have a right to kill anything that threatens me with death. By the fundamental law of nature - the law that preserves man as much as possible - he must be preserved. If you make war upon him and try to take away his life, he might need to defend himself by killing you. And because you’re not under the laws of reason and peace, but of force and violence, you can be treated as a dangerous and noxious creature - like a wolf or a lion — that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into your power.