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Research paper topic: Lockes Argument For The Origin And Practice Of Legitimate Authority - 1157 words
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.. ciety people give up the power to do what they want for preservation and the power to punish others that they had in the state of nature. Since people did however have the right to property in the state of nature, and would never consent to be worse off than they were before, society must always protect property. Along with the protection of property to make government legitimate there are certain conditions to be met. There must be promotion of the common good, secure property, establishment of a standing law, indifferent judges, and an impartial execution of the law.
The legislation has limits as well as duties. The limits are that there cant be an absolute arbitrary rule, property cant be taken without consent, and there will be no unauthorized transfer of power. There can never be an absolute monarchy and rule will thus then be limited. Locke believes that monarchy is a type of slavery and violates the law of nature that then makes it totally illegitimate. Locke believes that governments main purpose is to protect property with unbiased laws, while also pursuing the overall common good of the society.
He makes this view clear with his opening words for chapter eleven that state, " The great end of mens entering into society, being the enjoyment of their properties in peace and safety, and the great instrument and means of that being the laws established in society"(p. 69). Considering that consent is the origin of legitimate obedience, when the government is doing things that the people would not have consented to, the people will be no longer obliged to obey. When he states, "The reason for society is the preservation of property. Whenever those in power endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, they put themselves in a state of war with the people. They forfeit authority, which devolves to the people, who have the right to resume their original liberty and establish a new legislative"(p.
211), Locke states clearly exactly when the people have a right to rebel. He more specifically lists certain misuses of power that will enable persons to rebel over there government. They include the placing of arbitrary will in place of the laws, hindering legislative from assembling, altering power structure or legal process without consent of the people, delivering people into subjection of foreign power, failing to execute laws, and in general robbing a person from their property without consent. When this breach of power occurs, the society has a right to make new legislative. He further states that people not only have the right to stop misusage of power but also to stop the misusage before it happens.
Locke states that an objection claiming these premises will bring a pond a format for to much rebellion will occur. Locke believes that people can rebel when authority forfeits its power by disregarding what was previously consented to. Locke first responds to this objection and also lays out a type of guideline for when people should rebel by saying that when people are exposed enough to the misusage of governmental power they will be always be ready to resist. He then goes on to state that people dont rebel because of one or two minor inconveniences. They rebel when there are many wrongs and many unjust laws. He believes that rebellion occurs when the list of offences is great and mimics a life worse than the state of nature.
His third rebuttal of the objection involves the idea that the people who will rebel arent actually the rebels. He believes that those who try to unjustly obtain property are the real rebels. It follows that in reality the prevention of this unjust obtaining of property is really the best way to ward of rebellion in the first place. The people who attempt to obtain property unjustly are rebels because they are rebelling against what consent the people had given them to govern their society. By breaking this agreement to act in ways which only previously consented to, the authorities are actually the ones rebelling against the people, not the people rebelling against the government. Locke concludes by comparing the idea of people who rebel against the wrongs of their government to the idea that "men may not oppose robbers or pirates because this may occasion disorder or bloodshed"(p. 115).
By this statement he means that if someone is taking from you something you have a right to, which in this case is the right to a government based on consent, to not rebel based on the idea that some ciaos may occur is ridiculous. Lockes main premises are that to be legitimate government must have the consent of all people in a society and preserve those individual properties. He concludes from these premises that if the government does not do anything that violates the original consent or attempt to deny a member of society property of any sort without consent then obedience will be legitimate. In return, if the government does violate the consent of the people or deny them of any property without consent then the people have the right to rebel and resume their original liberty and establish a new legislative law. The conclusions do indeed follow from the premises.
If the individual must consent to get into society once in it does follow that as long as what they consented to has not been abused or changed obedience will be legitimate. Following, if an individual consents to a society then an arbitrary power takes it a pond themselves to change the ideas originally consented to, the society would in return have no obligation to obey a law they never agreed to in establishment. Lockes argument is sound. The conclusions made by Locke do follow from the premises, and the premises are true. Lockes premise that to be legitimate government must have the consent of all people in a society is correct. A person has consented to obedience and government when they agree to live in a society, or enjoy that society.
From this anyone deciding to live in that area where a society has been established has then consented to being part of the society, either with express or tacit consent. Thus, it is true that a legitimate government will have the consent of all the people, for if they are living where that government operates, they will have in some way consented. It is also true that preservation of property is needed for legitimate government. In Lockes state of nature a person has property, and since no one would consent to society if it were worse than the state of nature, it follows that it must be true that property must be protected for society to be legitimate. Since Lockes argument proves validity and true premises it can be concluded that his argument for the legitimacy of obedience is not only valid but also sound.
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