Friday, February 15, 2013

On Hobbes and Locke

From my weekly comments for Honors Colloquium II:

“As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State "What does it matter to me?" the State may be given up for lost.”                    ―Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The ideas of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes are really very interesting, especially in regards to how different they are, and yet with such similar conclusions. Locke saw Man as a social creature, whereas Hobbes saw Man as a solitary creature. Locke believed in the inherent goodness of man, while Hobbes believes that the natural lives of men would be ‘poor, nasty, brutish, and short’. Locke believed in an intrinsic sense of ethics within the souls of men, while Hobbes saw morality as the will of a ruler, forced upon the people. Most importantly, Locke believed in natural rights, independent of a government, while Hobbes believed that any rights allowed come from the state itself. However different the works of these two men, together they make up makes up one solid set of ideas known as ‘social contract theory’, wherein people implicitly consent to a set of common rules and authority in exchange for protection. Despite the diversity of the ideas of Hobbes and Locke, they are the foundation of our government, which is a very interesting idea.

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