Why? Because a Lockean inspired government regarded Americans,
as free men and women rather than as members of a class, church, guild, tribe, town, or race.
Cripes! Isn't this a fundamental statement of liberalism rather than conservatism? Isn't it liberals who believe that you make people free by stripping them of their communal attachments?
A Lockean politics takes things away from the individual: sources of identity; ways of life; a sense of belonging; objects of love and loyalty; a close connection to generations past; an attachment to particular forms of culture; a larger, non-hedonistic reason and purpose to act in the world; and culturally embedded ideals to strive toward.
If it's just us as stripped down, abstracted Lockean individuals what are we left with? What is our freedom? A freedom to shop and consume? To participate in our individual careers? To choose our own entertainments? Are these really the highest forms of freedom we can live by?
And where does the logic of a Lockean politics end? If I become free by setting myself against my class, guild, church, tribe, race and town, then why wouldn't I deepen the process by setting myself against my nation and my sex? Why does Samuel Goldman permit himself to speak as an American or as a man but not as anything else? Wouldn't it be more consistent with a fully developed, modern day Lockeanism if he spoke only as the individual Sam?
So I won't raise my glass to Locke as I don't believe that individual freedom is won at the expense of traditional forms of community. The stand alone Lockean individual has an impoverished sphere of life to exercise his freedom in. We are better off aiming at a larger, more significant freedom, one that is enjoyed within the communities and traditions we belong to.