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The distinction between natural and legal rights developed by john locke

Hobbes The Social Contract We give up our right to ourselves exact retribution for crimes in return for impartial justice backed by overwhelming force. We retain the right to life and liberty, and gain the right to just, impartial protection of our property If you shut up and do as you are told, you have the right not to be killed, and you do not even have the right not to be killed, for no matter what the Sovereign does, it does not constitute violation of the contract.

Violation of the social contract If a ruler seeks absolute power, if he acts both as judge and participant in disputes, he puts himself in a state of war with his subjects and we have the right and the duty to kill such rulers and their servants.

No right to rebel. The King can do no wrong, because lawful and unlawful, good and evil, are merely commands, merely the will of the ruler. Civil Society Civil society precedes the state, both morally and historically.

Society creates order and grants the state legitimacy. Civil society is the application of force by the state to uphold contracts and so forth.

Civil society is a creation of the state. Rights Men have rights by their nature You conceded your rights to the government, in return for your life Role of the State The only important role of the state is to ensure that justice is seen to be done Whatever the state does is just by definition. All of society is a direct creation of the state, and a reflection of the will of the ruler. Authorized use of force Authorization is meaningless, except that the authorization gives us reason to believe that the use of force is just.

If authorization does not give us such confidence, perhaps because the state itself is a party to the dispute, or because of past lawless acts and abuses by the state, then we are back in a state of nature.

Locke versus Hobbes

The concept of just use of force is meaningless or cannot be known. Just use of force is whatever force is authorized The Grolier encyclopedia contrasts Locke and Hobbes as follows: As the first systematic theorist of the philosophy of liberalism, Locke exercised enormous influence in both England and America.

In his Two Treatises of Government 1690Locke set forth the view that the state exists to preserve the natural rights the distinction between natural and legal rights developed by john locke its citizens. When governments fail in that task, citizens have the right—and sometimes the duty—to withdraw their support and even to rebel.

He refuted it by pointing to existing and real historical examples of people in a state of nature. For this purpose he regarded any people who are not subject to a common judge to resolve disputes, people who may legitimately take action to themselves punish wrong doers, as in a state of nature.

Second treatise, Section 14 It is often asked as a mighty objection, where are, or ever were, there any men in such a state of Nature? The promises and bargains for truck, etc.

Second treatise, Section 17, 18, 19 And hence it is that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life.

For I have reason to conclude that he who would get me into his power without my consent would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom- i.

To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation, and reason bids me look on him as an enemy to my preservation who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me thereby puts himself into a state of war with me.

He that in the state of Nature would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away everything else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest; as he that in the state of society would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth must be supposed to design to take away from them everything else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.

This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than by the use of force, so to get him in his power as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right to get me into his power, let his pretense be what it will, I have no reason to suppose that he who would take away my liberty would not, when he had me in his power, take away everything else.

And, therefore, it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me- i. And here we have the plain difference between the state of Nature and the state of war, which however some men have confounded, are as far distant as a state of peace, goodwill, mutual assistance, and preservation; and a state of enmity, malice, violence and mutual destruction are one from another.

Men living together according to reason without a common superior on earth, with authority to judge between them, is properly the state of Nature.

Conclusions

But force, or a declared design of force upon the person of another, where there is no common superior on earth to appeal to for relief, is the state of war; and it is the want of such an appeal gives a man the right of war even against an aggressor, though he be in society and a fellow-subject.

Thus, a thief whom I cannot harm, but by appeal to the law, for having stolen all that I am worth, I may kill when he sets on me to rob me but of my horse or coat, because the law, which was made for my preservation, where it cannot interpose to secure my life from present force, which if lost is capable of no reparation, permits me my own defense and the right of war, a liberty to kill the aggressor, because the aggressor allows not time to appeal to our common judge, nor the decision of the law, for remedy in a case where the mischief may be irreparable.

Hobbes, on the contrary, asserts that without subjection to a common power, men are necessarily at war: Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man.

Peace is actually war in disguise. This is why Hobbes argued that corporations should be suppressed and replaced by the direct exercise of state power. This is why Hitler thought that declaring war on America was merely a meaningless trivial symbol. It was not merely a symbol. Peace is not merely maneuvering preparatory to predatory attack. Unlike the communists and the fascists Hobbes had no specific concrete plan for suppressing competition and the pursuit of conflicting goals, and he might well have disapproved of the details of the fascists plans, but he clearly regarded their objectives as a desirable and popular part of any good state Locke was the seventeenth century precursor of classic liberalism, and Hobbes was the seventeenth century precursor of modern totalitarianism, particularly fascism.

  • But force, or a declared design of force upon the person of another, where there is no common superior on earth to appeal to for relief, is the state of war; and it is the want of such an appeal gives a man the right of war even against an aggressor, though he be in society and a fellow-subject;
  • Unlike the communists and the fascists Hobbes had no specific concrete plan for suppressing competition and the pursuit of conflicting goals, and he might well have disapproved of the details of the fascists plans, but he clearly regarded their objectives as a desirable and popular part of any good state Locke was the seventeenth century precursor of classic liberalism, and Hobbes was the seventeenth century precursor of modern totalitarianism, particularly fascism;
  • Natural law and natural right may be combined, but if they are, one must take precedence over the other;
  • Some argue that this is a misguided question;
  • When governments fail in that task, citizens have the right—and sometimes the duty—to withdraw their support and even to rebel.

Hobbes argued that what we today call civil society should exist only by the power of the state, and to the extent that it existed independent of the state, for example private associations, corporations, and political discussion, it should be suppressed. For men, as they become at last weary of irregular jostling and hewing one another, and desire with all their hearts to conform themselves into one firm and lasting edifice [.

To may be added, liberty of disputing against absolute power by pretenders to political prudence; which though bred for the most part in the lees of the people, yet animated by false doctrines are perpetually meddling with the fundamental laws, to the molestation of the Commonwealth, like the little worms which physicians call ascarides.

To say that they were both social contract theorists is like saying that Adam Smith believed in the labor theory of value and Karl Marx believed in the labor theory of value, therefor Smith was a Marxist or Marx was a Smithian.

Fascism is largely corporatism, indeed many fascists argued that fascism simply was corporatism, that race theory was irrelevant.

Certainly Mussolini and Franco held this view. The race, the nation, the folk, or whatever, are to be welded into a single entity, by the application of whatever force necessary Hobbes favored unlimited power for the state, and he favored it for the purpose of ending all conflict and contention.

He saw all non-state society as simply bad happenings that should be suppressed. If people go about their material lives freely they will come in conflict, and Hobbes regards it as the duty of the state to prevent such conflict. Locke argues that government is legitimate, but only legitimate in so far as it acts within the limits of this implied contract. While in some situations the distinction between these two roles may be fuzzy, it is clear that vast majority of people today encounter the state in the role of master, rather than judge, thus the modern state is far more Hobbesian than Lockean, though it is still very far from the absolutist government that Hobbes commended.

  1. This is why the state of nature was a state of war.
  2. Second treatise, Section 17, 18, 19 And hence it is that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life. Hobbes and Locke agree that individuals have a right to property in the state of nature, but Hobbes denies that individuals have any duty to respect the property of others.
  3. This is the deepest controversy in Locke interpretation today, a controversy that is sometimes acrimonious. Locke argues that government is legitimate, but only legitimate in so far as it acts within the limits of this implied contract.
  4. For I have reason to conclude that he who would get me into his power without my consent would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for nobody can desire to have me in his absolute power unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom- i. This presents a more traditional interpretation of Locke as a natural law thinker.
  5. Here, then, is the issue in the natural law—natural right dichotomy.