Both Hobbes and Locke furnish a basis for the existence of political power. The origin of the state becomes pertinent in bringing laws and government to men and abandons their state of nature. While the Hobbesian state believes in absolutism where man completely surrenders his rights to the state, Locke’s government maintains individual rights independent of the state- they have the basic equal rights to make choices and be moral actors. The grace and power of man can be blinded by the civil state or lay unscathed to a certain extent; this is the proposition behind the origin of the state given by esteemed political thinkers of the time.
Rousseau, however, believed that human nature was naturally just and moral, and it was society’s laws that made them immoral. Social norms and laws create limitation and superfluous need, and it is within those boundaries that humans become enslaved to “moral inequality.” Without laws and social norms, humans will revert back to their natural goodness. It is the polar opposite of Golding’s belief. Golding’s philosophy, however, is more in line to my own, as in my opinion, Rousseau’s belief is a rather naïve outlook on life. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a man of philosophy, music, and literature.
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
The proper use and limits of governmental power have different implications for each theorist that we have studied. Some see its power as all-encompassing, while others see it as more narrow, controlled and regulated. For this essay, I chose to examine the philosophies of the theorists with whom I disagree with the least: Rousseau, Locke, and Rawls. One can always recall Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s famous line: “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” This sentence expressed his opposition to the idea that individual should be forced to give up their natural rights to a king. His idea of political power is that which comes from a social contract, and is entered into by participants who desire protection of life, liberty, and property, while still maintaining a good amount of freedom.
The New Testament, however, shifts away from retributive justice and towards a more loving and appealing approach of ‘turn the other cheek.’ J. Rousseau pointed out how man is born free but is everywhere in chains and that law is crucial in society in order to solve the inequality and exploitation that arises from our individual dependency on others. He offers the Hobbesian Social Contract in an attempt to tackle this issue. Despite taking a generally negative view of human nature, the Hobbesian Social Contract theory states that humans lack intrinsic moral value and so must regulate their behaviour in a social contract in order to secure an at least tolerable existence. The primary impulse of the human mind is to compete and so a just law must impose the authority to regulate society and protect us from... ... middle of paper ... ...we could not judge other people because the absence of objectivity would mean that we have no standard to judge it by. This would be dangerous, particularly to matters dealing with punishment, because it would not lead to absolute protection and could potentially advocate any sort of unsafe and not sensible behaviour.
For this, I argue that Rousseau’s idea of forcing citizens to be free is a dangerous notion. In stating that citizens must be compelled to submit to the general will, Rousseau offers a form of government that stifles individual liberty and allows for the tyranny of the majority to prevail. The notion of forcing citizens to be free is a product of Rousseau’s version of the social contract. While Rousseau is more optimistic about the state of nature than Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan, he still recognizes that it may become necessary for men to exit the state of nature and unite under a sovereign. When this time comes, Rousseau contends, men must enter a social contract with one another.
Locke sees the need and purpose of society to protect property as something sacred to mankind, while Rousseau sees property as the cause of the corruption and eventual downfall of society. Although Rousseau raises interesting and applicable observations, Locke’s argument triumphs because he successfully shows the positive and essential effect of property on man. In order to examine either philosopher’s views on property and its origins, it is necessary to go back to the beginning of human development, as it were, and discuss their different conceptions of the state of nature. As opposed to Hobbes whose vision of the state of nature was a state of war, Locke’s state of nature is a time of peace and stability. “We must consider what State all Men are naturally in, and that is, a State of perfect Freedom…A State also of Equality, wherein all the Power and Jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another.” (Locke, Second Tre... ... middle of paper ... ... we have can never be a negative.
Like Rousseau, Locke discusses the result of a tyrannical government and how this violates not only the social contract, but man’s natural rights, as well. He explains that when the government immorally focuses on one issue, man reverts back to the state of war. This aspect of Locke’s social contract differs from Rousseau’s because of this reversal of state. Legitimacy can also be breached in context of individual powers of the magistrate. According to Rousseau, in order to maintain legitimacy of the executive power, the magistrate must equally apply the laws established by the sovereignty and evenly distribute force among all that belong in the magistrate.
Machiavelli argued that man had the ability to be good, but he was only good when it was in his own self-interest to do so. Hobbes believes that every human being has the right to put into practice his talents for the sake of self-preservation and development. Hobbes’ idea of human nature was in line with Machiavelli’s, but he was writing during a period of civil war, so he placed more emphasis on man being inherently brutal. Both thinkers are similar in their views of duties; as for Hobbes, the sovereign should control religious worship, and make it known that the citizen’s duty to the sovereign always come before their duties to God. Machiavelli basically says that everything the citizens do, even murder, is permissible as long as they advance the prince's goal of attaining and securing power.
The State of Nature and its Implications for Civilization in Hobbes and Rousseau In his Leviathan Thomas Hobbes expresses a philosophy of civilization which is both practical and just and stems from a clear moral imperative. He begins with the assertion that in the state of nature man is condemned to live a life “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.” It is in the interest of every man to rise above this “state of nature” and to give up certain rights so that the violent nature of the human animal can be subdued. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s vision of the state of nature parallels that of Hobbes but for its more optimistic tone: “I assume that men reach a point where the obstacles to their preservation in a state of nature prove greater than the strength that each man has to preserve himself in that state.” In general, Rousseau’s words prove reasonably less severe than Hobbes’s. According to Hobbes the bestial rights that a man is forced to give up must also be given up by every other man if civilization is to quell the state of nature. This surrendering of rights then forms covenant of peace which mankind has agreed upon collectively to rise above the state of nature.