Analysis Of John Locke's The Leviathan

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Human beings act first and foremost in their own interest. As John Locke outlines in his work Second Treatise on Civil Government, the interests of people often intersect in such a manner that they find it to be advantageous to work together and form a society. In The Leviathan, however, Thomas Hobbes presents a view of the world that relies heavily on belief in the irrationality and illogicality of human nature when making decisions. Locke’s theories create a fully functional and peaceful society because they provide for the individual rights and responsibilities of people, whereas Hobbes’ imaginings of civilization fail to acknowledge the full capabilities of humans as rational decision makers who desire to live in a society with at least…show more content…
Therefore, people must be governed by their own consent, and they must have the ability to dissolve a government that abuses its power. By believing in the rights of the people rather than a collective will, Locke chooses to embrace a system that can last generations. In comparison to Hobbes’ system, Locke’s ideal society accounts for the fact that lack of flexibility in any sort of governing body is often tantamount to disaster. An example of this can be seen in the Edward James Olmos film, American Me, in which the main character Montoya Santana becomes the leader of a gang while in prison. When Santana later wishes to leave the gang’s leadership, he is murdered. The gang’s leadership lacks the flexibility that Locke believes is demanded in government, and as such, violence and death prevail in the face of Santana’s supposed weakness. Another concern faced by both philosophers is how the rights of the people are determined. Then, once these rights have been determined, how do they affect society and government? Locke believes that in order to retain one’s rights, one must give up the right to retribution and accept impartial justice in return. This system discourages violence and speaks to the usefulness of society for mankind. By allowing justice to be found in law established by the majority and enforced by an impartial judge society achieves a peacefulness and sense of fairness that could not otherwise be
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