Living in a society that based on the social contracts we signed, government and man-written law are without doubt forceful defenders of the covenant itself. They provided benefits to its citizens as well as the protection to the state’s safeness. Nonetheless they should not be the only ground that justice lays itself on and shall never be the prerequisite for justice.
To decide whether justice can be separated apart from government or law, we shall first focus on the conception of the state of nature: a hypothetical condition in which the government and law can be nowhere to find. Two great philosophers from the Enlightenment period, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke had expressed their thoughts towards this topic.
According to Locke’s “The Second Treaties of Government” in the states of nature, people are free to “order actions and dispose of their possessions and persons”; (Locke 2-3) another way to put it, people are under the perfect freedom and equality. Locke here further elaborates Socrates’ notion of justice, which is “do not harm” (Crito) by stating that in the states of nature, “mankind being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” (Locke 3) This proves that even without government and the man-made law, the justice can be existed alone. However, Locke then states that those rights that come with the state of nature are actually governed by the natural law. (Locke 6)
Nevertheless, the law of natural that Locke discussed here cannot be understood as the law that we usually conceived which were composed by the states; As Locke states, the law of nature comes from the God---the creator of the universe, and it comes when the whole society stays in the “states of n...
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...vernment, and each government shall have its unique styles of law. However, as Locke states, the justice shall put itself outside the setting of government and law, and shall not change with the variation of political boundaries.
In conclusion, it is commonly assumed that with the existence of government and law, the justice and equality of the society can be maintained largely and somewhat more objectively; it can help the states to avoid entering severe states of war and to protect the welfare and safety. However, the conception of justice itself in my opinion does not solely lie in the appearance of government and law. For them are also man-made and may have flaws and drawbacks on them. Just like Locke states, in the state of nature, I believe that people still have the rights to pursue the life, health, liberty, or and they are also governed by the state of law.
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