Locke: Letter Concerning Toleration, A

John Locke's “A Letter Concerning Toleration” is key for many reasons, not least of which is its startling relevance to contemporary society. Locke sees tolerance as fundamentally a "live and let live" situation, a state which must be achieved to avoid the endless relativity of a regime fueled by religion; as each man is orthodox to himself and heretical to others, he argues, religious tolerance *must* be a basic societal tenet for the state to function. Excellently argued and written, Locke's “A Letter Concerning Toleration” is one of the most under-appreciated texts in the liberal tradition of political philosophy. When read in conjunction with his Second Treatise, it clarifies the relationship Locke envisions between individuals and the Lockean state. The subject of the Letter is specifically religious toleration, but his general argument for toleration is also applicable to issues of more modern concern.