John Locke : Morality Of Laws And Rights Essay

John Locke : Morality Of Laws And Rights Essay

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While every person in this world lives under some state which is composed of a mixture of positive and negative laws enforced by a government, people rarely reflect on the morality of the laws they are forced to follow. Take for example the positive law, a law that tell citizens what they must do, of paying taxes. While law abiding citizens pay a certain amount of taxes every year, many have tried to claim that they have the right to refuse to pay taxes because the government spending of public funds doesn’t align with their personal morals. These people never win this argument. John Locke was a philosopher born in the 17th century and spent much of his career writing and thought about the morality of laws and rights. He believed that every person was born equal and had the right to "life, liberty, and property." (Wolff,2016,17.) Building off this core idea, Locke argued that people are naturally inclined to use morality when creating laws because it is in the best interest of the species; he called this Natural Law. While Locke used religious thinking to make this claim, the same argument can be claimed without religious backing. (Barry,2000,32.) So as ideology secularised the religious justification of rights naturally shifted to the idea of positive law, that there needs to be some law that promotes ‘good’ behaviour of the society. One of the ideologies that Locke rejected was utilitarianism, the idea that state needed just to promote overall happiness because thinking just for the greater good violated the rights of induvial. However, this paper will use the same logic to argue that the state cannot be obligated to satisfy every individual idea of morality and, in turn, liberty. This is based on the same idea that there is no ...


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...ives of every citizen at risk, which goes against the rudimentary understanding of morals. Hypothetically someone could claim they will not pay their taxes because some of the money is being used for an unjust war, this is a valid point because it is their opinion of what is ‘good. ' However, if one individual demands their sense of liberty be applied in government what is to say that each person doesn’t have this right. As stated above everyone has their beliefs on what liberty is, so it would be impossible for the government to represent all the citizen 's rights actually. The most rational and moral mode of government is one that demands its citizens to obey the laws that were out in place to facilitate the greater good. While there is a moral source of rights, there is no need to transcend law because laws are the only thing that will ever ensure people’s rights.

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