Political Criticism In Two Treatises Of Government, By James Mill

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In the first section of “Government” political theorist James Mill attempts to answer the question regarding the existence of the institution of government, as he believes that despite the abundance of literature regarding this topic, only few principles are well-established. Mill states that the reason for this is incorrect analysis, and existence of only a generalised conception, leading to endless disputes especially when deliberated upon.
Mill begins by stating that government is primarily a means to an end, the latter being described variedly, such as Locke’s “the public good,” and the utilitarian principle “the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers,” which he believes are fair, yet defective; and therefore, Mill writes that in
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He continues to provide an answer, which he deems obvious, that despite having the right of complete freedom in nature, humans cannot enjoy the same, as it is very uncertain and exposed to constant invasion by other human beings. The reason for this, he believes, is that all individuals are equal “being Kings as much as he,” with no higher authority to observe and maintain equity and justice, thereby being extremely unsafe and insecure. As a result, being in a state of perpetual fear and danger makes individuals willing to quit this state of fearful freedom, and join society, which consists of other individuals who are already united. The reason for this is to mutually preserve their “Lives, Liberties and Estates,” which Locke generally refers to as…show more content…
In nature, the laws of nature being common to all, all human beings make one community, and if humans were not corrupt or vicious in nature, a need for an alternate form of society would not exist. Individuals give up this power to be regulated by established laws, as long as it benefits themselves and the society at large, confining the liberty they previously possessed in nature.
Second, the power to punish others, which individuals completely give up upon joining a political society. Instead they engage their natural force in order to aid the government’s execution of laws.
The reason for giving up these two powers is to enjoy the benefits received by joining the community, such as labour and assistance of others, and mutual protection, since other members of the society do the same, mutually consenting with each
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