CAN PEOPLE GOVERN THEMSELVES?   

CAN YOU TRUST the STATE?

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were both English political philosophers who lived during the 1600s

Read and reply to their differing perspectives. 

HUMAN NATURE 

Agree or Disagree? Briefly Explain:

___ 1) Hobbes: “MAN is NOT by nature a SOCIAL ANIMAL.  

Our animal nature, leaves each of us to live independently of everyone else, acting only in his or her own self-interest, without regard for others.

Hobbes famous motto Bellum omnium contra omnes (“the war of all against all”)produced what he called the “state of war,” a way of life that is certain to prove “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” 

___2)Locke: “Man IS by nature a SOCIAL “animal”.  

Human nature leaves us capable  of living in “harmony” with each other.  

HUMANITY and CONFLICT 

___3) Hobbes: Our knowledge of objective, true answers on such questions is so feeble (weak), so slight and imperfect as to be mostly worthless in resolving practical disputes

 “Men cannot know good and evil, and in consequence can ONLY LIVE in PEACE together by SUBJECTION to the ABSOLUTE POWER of a COMMON MASTER

___4)Locke: “PEACE is the NORM”.  

Humanity can and should live together in PEACE by refraining from molesting each other’s property and persons, and FOR the MOST PART WE DO.  

Humans KNOW what is RIGHT and WRONG, and are CAPABLE of knowing what is lawful and unlawful well ENOUGH to RESOLVE CONFLICTS 

SOCIETY and STATE

___ 5)Hobbes:  Since man is by nature an “anti-social”animal, society could not exist except by the power of the state. 

Force used by the state to uphold contracts (mutually beneficial agreements) and the surrender of individual interests is needed to achieve the advantages of security.

Human society is dependent on “the state” to create “peace” and “order”. The “governed” are dependent on “government” to create a “civil” society.

___6)Locke: “Civil society precedes (comes before)the state, both morally and historically. Society creates order and grants the state legitimacy.”  

The State (Government) is the product of the “will” of society (the “governed”).    

 GOVERNMENT and the “SOCIAL CONTRACT

___7)Hobbes: The “war of all against all” (chaos and conflict) could only be prevented by a social contract that provided strong central government ruled by leader with “absolute” power and authority to use force.  

Without subjection to a common power, men are necessarily at war

INDIVIDUAL “RIGHTS” 

Agree or Disagree? Briefly Explain:

___8)People “surrendered” their rights to the government individuals through a social contract for the sake of self-preservation – their rights […]

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” 

___9)Locke: “Men have RIGHTS by THEIR NATURE”.  

The ONLY important role of the STATE is to ENSURE that JUSTICE is seen to be DONE.  

The STATE EXISTS to PRESERVE the natural RIGHTS of its CITIZENS.

PROPERTY:  

___10)Hobbes: “ In a state of nature people cannot know what is theirs and what is someone else’s.

PROPERTY exists solely by the WILL of the STATE.

___11)Locke:”We retain the right to life and liberty, and gain the right to just, impartial protection of our property.”  

Property is an INDIVIDUAL right

GOVERNMENT and the “RIGHT” TO REBEL      

Agree or Disagree? Briefly Explain:

___ 12)Hobbes – NO RIGHT to REBEL: “there can happen no breach of covenant on the part of the sovereign; and consequently none of his subjects, by any pretence of forfeiture, can be freed from his subjection.” 

The RULERS’s WILL DEFINES GOOD and EVIL FOR HIS SUBJECTS.

The King can DO NO WRONG, because lawful and unlawful, good and evil, are merely commands, merely the WILL of the RULE

___13)Locke – the right to rebel: “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.  

HOBBES: the GOVERNED SERVE the GOVERNMENT 

  (the STATE)

LOCKE: the GOVERNMENT SERVES the GOVERNED

HOBBES WARNED of the DANGERS of ANARCHY;

LOCKE WARNED of the DANGERS of TYRANNY