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On Second Reading

In response to:

The "New" Locke from the November 20, 1969 issue

To the Editors:

Several colleagues have persuaded me that I misrepresented the last few pages of Mr. Dunn’s The Political Thought of John Locke [NYR, November 20]. Mr. Dunn’s point is that liberal democracies are organized socially, politically, and economically in a way that makes a mockery of any utilitarian or egalitarian ethic; it is the Marxist insistence on this point that Mr. Dunn accepts, and not the quasi-theological aspirations of Marxism. Moreover, Mr. Dunn says clearly enough that the practice of Marxists in power deserves quite as little respect as liberals usually accord it. I am sorry to have read into his words more than he intended, and I hope I now have an accurate impression of his argument; in any case I should like to express my own agreement with what I now believe him to have said.

Alan Ryan

New College

Oxford

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