Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Surgery
The debate between individual rights and the limits of government has its roots in an operation in 17th century England. John Locke, the English philosopher whose concepts on the legitimacy of government are bedrocks of Western politics, was also a practicing physician who in 1668 was among a group of physicians that drained an infected hydatid cyst and thus saved the life of his political patron Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.Locke, who had been a classics scholar at Oxford with royalist sympathies, had by chance just joined the Cooper home as house physician and tutor the previous year. Forever grateful to his young doctor Lord Ashley nurtured Locke?s early involvement in politics. From his association with a powerful peer of the Realm Locke found himself at the very heart of English politics where he began to formulate the foundational principles of Anglo-American government.