On the other hand, Locke sees man as a creature of reason rather than one of desire wherein he believes that the purpose of the government is to uphold and protect the natural rights of men that are independent of the state. The dichotomy in their beliefs construes their different translations of liberty. In his seminal text, Leviathan, Hobbes maintains that human judgment is distorted to pursue self-interest ends without regard for anything other than the avoidance of pain and the incentive of pleasure. Man can be easily swayed with rhetoric that is neither directed towards public good nor towards the individuals good. Thus, in the state of nature man lived in a chaotic condition of constant fear of death where life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short;” the state of perpetual and unavoidable war was unable to allow men to cooperate.
Lockes and Hobbes ideas of government differed greatly, Hobbes believed in an absolute government while Locke believed in a very limited one.Locke believed that people were naturally good and trustful and that they had the capacity to govern themselves. So the need of the government only came in the form of stopping any potential disputes that would occur. While Hobbes believed that humans were not all that good and their need for government stemmed from the fact that people cannot govern themselves. Furthermore Locke believed that the governments role was to listen to the people it was governing, a rule by consent. While Hobbes believed that the Government was to rule on it’s own and owed no answers or consent by the people.
He claims that human nature would be savage without a ruling body and that the reason for entering a state is selfishness fear for your life. Individuals agree to be moral and not harm others, with the understanding that the
The major cause for the Enlightenment was the Scientific Revolution and due to its numerous feats in science, gave hope to the belief that similar breakthroughs might be achieved in the social and political arena if only the same methods were applied. For example, a philosophe such as David Hume aims to defend the “autonomy” of morality in relation to religion. On this view of things, God and a future state are unnecessary for moral life and human society. The pertinent base for moral life and behavior lies with the fundamentals of human nature which are pride, sympathy, moral sense, and conventions. Let us first start by defining The Enlightenment or the Age of Reason is an intellectual movement in the eighteenth century which was fueled by the scientific uprising.
“Life is nasty, brutish, and short... a condition of war of everyone against everyone” said Hobbes. He professes the goal of government is to prevent a return to the state of nature and protect the citizenry from their own nature. Locke takes a more moderate path, he claims man had unlimited freedom in the state of nature, however the advantages and limitations of society far outweighed that initial freedom. He shows great distrust in the government and believes its purpose lies in persevering man's natural rights.
Objectivism is defined as “an ethical theory that moral good is objectively (based on facts rather than feelings or opinions) real or that moral precepts are objectively valid.” (Webster). Demonstrated by Ayn Rand in the book, The Fountainhead, objectivism seems to most, to be morally wrong, and socially impractical, despite seeming to be a stress-free way of life. In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark does not see relationships as necessary, but as a means to an end. For America to be purely objectivist would tear the country apart, in the sense that “normal social relationships” would no longer exist, but hatred and racism would become obsolete. A democratic government would be unable to succeed because no one would look at issues from the perspective of the “common good”, but from the perspective of what benefits the individual.
Two well-known and most influential thinkers of this time were the English political philosopher John Locke and the French political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. These two men had laid down some of the intellectual grounds of the modern day government and both had different opinions on what the government’s role in a society. John Locke published his Two Treatises of Government in 1690. In his writing Locke argued that individuals had the natural rights of life, liberty and property that the state could never be taken away because these rights were “inalienable.” The natural rights of individuals limited the power of the king. The king did not hold absolute power, but acted only to enforce and protect the natural rights of the people.
The differences between Rousseau’s theories and those of the liberals of his time, begin with different interpretations of the state of nature. Thomas Hobbes described the state of nature as an unsafe place, where the threat of harm to one’s property was always present. He felt that man could have no liberty in such a setting, as fear of persecution and enslavement would control his every action. From this dismal setting, Hobbes proposed that man would necessarily rise and enter into a social contract. By submitting himself to the power of a sovereign, man would be protected by that same power, thereby gaining his liberty.
In the state of nature, both Hobbes and Locke agree that there is no legitimate form of government. Hobbes believed that it was every man for himself, while Locke thought that the law of nature bound men and prevented an uncontrollable state like Hobbes’; “But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of license” (170). Locke believes that the state of nature has a law of nature. This law of reason governs the people to understand that just because men are all equal and independent, does not mean that
Hobbes and Locke argued that people mainly formed a state for different reasons according to their ideology. Hobbes mentioned that humans only formed a state for their mere self interest to protect themselves from the wrath of others. In contrast Locke had a more positive perspective that individuals believed it was moral to form a state to protect their natural rights and would not be deprived from their rights. In Leviathan, Hobbes asserts, "Conferre all of their power and strength upon one Man, or upon one assembly of men, that may reduce all of their Wills, by plurality of voices," (Locke, 95). Comparing the statement of Hobbes with Locke is the following, “It is not, nor can possibly be absolutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of the people," (Locke, 70).