Locke and Equality

Satisfactory Essays
Locke and Equality

First of all,the basis for understanding Locke is that he sees all people as having natural God given rights. As God's creations, this denotes a certain equality.

So, what's equality according to Locke? Locke's definition of equality is: "A state of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection.. . . "(encyclopedia of philosophy)

According to Locke, human beings are driven by both their emotions and reason; they are both self-interested and naturally social or other interested. Locke similarly begins with equality from which he draws a totally different conclusion that we respect and love others in the same way we love ourselves(chp2:P.262)So, to respect and love others as ourselves there should be equality…

So, according to Locke's definition of equality, giving up one's natural rights means equality is no longer truly existent. Though we are all still 'born to the same advantages of nature', and we still 'share the same faculties', we consent to subordinate our personal freedoms and liberties to a common law. By consenting to this authority, we give away the power over our own. In addition, true equality means that no man is superior to another.

According to Locke the earth is the common property of all human being and someone in somewhere will have conflicting interests with another human being because of something and this will cause to enter in a state of war. The only protection from the state of war in John Locke's opinion is to enter into civil society and if there is equality between people there won't be any problem. So, we need equality again…

In Locke's view, in the state of nature it is impossible to maintain an absolute peace. According to him the existence of conflicts between people is possible. So in terms of equality between people, everyone has right to punish another (chp:2 P.264). In the state of nature there are no independent judges, everyone is a judge because of equality. But in terms of self-preservation, it is necessary that people should preserve the Property, which includes their lives, liberties and estates. By this way, a government is needed for the preservation of the property and peace.