"Yes, liberal notions of the person influence modern notions of liberation and autonomy. But to jump from Locke and the Founders to abortion, same-sex marriage and gender ideology is unserious. It’s unfair to the Founders, their religious commitments, and their respect for tradition. It doesn’t take seriously the writings of Washington and Adams and countless other Founders who argued that is “… it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles of liberty upon which Freedom can securely stand.”
Deneen’s critique is also overly theoretical—a problem with many political scientists. It doesn’t take into account the actual practice and development of democratic life in the American colonies for over a century before the Declaration of Independence. The social contract of the Mayflower Compact was written seventy years before Locke wrote his Second Treatise on Civil Government. Social contracts and commercial society emerged in the Middle Ages, not modernity. Political life and the practice of republican and representative government cannot be reduced to a political theory course on Locke and liberalism."