The Governments and States of Locke, Aquinas, and St. Augustine Essay examples

The Governments and States of Locke, Aquinas, and St. Augustine Essay examples

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In John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, he identifies a government that is of the peoples consent with his essential raison d΄être being the preservation and protection of personal property. This type of government is extremely comparable with the type of government that St. Augustine describes in his work City of God, while at the same time contrasts the views of Aquinas in the ways a state should operate. The end goal of how each of these philosophers’ states purposes presents the greatest split between each of their philosophies. To understand how each of these philosophers’ states are similar and different from each other, a deeper analysis is necessary.
The first and possibly most striking similarity between the states that both Locke and St. Augustine propose lies in the fact that both see the state as a necessary evil. Locke describes the perfect life as one in the “state of nature”, where there are limitless boundaries to freedom. Within these limitless boundaries to do whatever you want lays the ability for others to do harm to you and your property, because they have complete freedom as well. In order to overcome this lack of security, Locke describes the state as a necessary evil which one must give up certain freedoms in order to be protected under the rule of law. This is similar to St. Augustine in the respect that within the world there are evil men who will do harm to others. Augustine argues that laws are necessary to make sure that people can live with the peace of mind that they are protected from the sins of others.
One of the contrasting points the states of Aquinas and Locke possess is rooted in how each state should set up and decide their laws. Aquinas argues that we should set up our laws based on high morals, which all men could agree on, and on the high ideals of natural law. Locke disagrees with this in the respect that all men are Tabula Rasa, which begin life as blank slates and develop their views and ideas based on the experiences they are exposed to. According to Locke the men in the state of Aquinas would all have different experiences and place importance on different morals and ideals. Therefore, Locke argues that in order to have a legitimate set of laws, they must be based on very solid foundations which cannot be subject to argument. Such foundations would be the protection of property, as well as the ...


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...ant to be told that there is only one version of right and wrong, which is exactly what the opposing state proposes. Examples of the type of state that Aquinas and St. Augustine present can be seen in some of the failed regimes of the past century. Prime examples of states that attempted to strive for the better good of its people, and failed, can be seen in both Nazi Germany and communist Russia. These states attempted to take each individual and force them into an ideal “mold” of what they wanted their citizens to become. Even though these societies succeeded for some amount of time, both have since collapsed and states in the Lockean from have arose out of their ashes.
As aforementioned, both of the types of states presented have strong and weak points to ponder on. Both have rose to power at one point in time or another, although the Lockean state has remained where others have fallen. Overall, an argument can be made that in our modern world with globalization and a never ending mixing of cultures; the only way for a state to succeed is to put ideological ideals behind and look to protect the greater good by looking out for the “peace, safety, and public good of its people.”

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