Comparing And Contrasting John Locke And Thomas Hobbes Ideologies Argumentative Essay Example

Published: 2021-06-21 23:38:44
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Category: Environment, Environment, Thinking, Philosophy, Law, Government, Nature, Peace, Liberty

Type of paper: Essay

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Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704) lived during the Pre-Enlightenment period. However, their philosophies influence and in fact introduced the Enlightenment period. This refers to a period of reason in which man was to think logically in arriving at a decision. The two philosophers influenced the thought process especially in the field of law. This paper shall compare and contrast the ideologies of the two Englishmen. It is essential to appreciate at this point that Thomas Hobbes preceded John Locke and that the two had the same leanings in thought save for the few deviations which shall be discussed in this paper.
Both philosophers believed in the law. In fact, both of them influenced the law. The United States of America Constitution is actually informed by their ideologies. This is to the extent that the law suffices for purposes of order and certainty. Both philosophers believed in the rule of law and that government of the day needs to govern by the law. In that strain, it can be argued that both philosophers would agree with Dicey on the rule of law and disapprove the rule by man. In addition, through their ideologies, both philosophers believed in reason and logic. From their arguments, it can be deduced that they appreciate reason and rational thinking. In that vein, both of them believed that humans make informed rational decisions because of circumstances that face them. This is essential to note for it determines how they later advocate for the use of the law to regulate man’s thinking and hence control the society in general. Both of them appear to suggest that controlling the society would enable a just and peaceful society.
However, despite the mentioned similarities, the two philosophers differ in ideology in what may lead to two classes of thought, the Hobbes class and the Locke class. Hobbes believed in the natural law has having two main limbs. The first limb being that man must seek peace and follow it and secondly that man must defend himself using any means possible. In that context, it should be appreciated that Hobbes believed in the existence of peace and the consequential peaceful coexistence of humanity. Hobbes seems to justify war by encouraging man to defend himself to the best extent possible. This is what informs Hobbes’ natural law. On the other hand, Locke believed in the law of liberty. Under liberty, it is the argument by Locke that man should maintain his liberty on the earth and remain independent. In that context, it was Locke’s observation that man would be peaceful as long as he keeps his peace and does not interfere with others. Locke seems to assume that others in the environment would not attempt to disturb man’s peace. Perhaps this argument is informed by Locke’s subscription to the logical thinking of man. It should be noted in that context that Locke believes in the natural right of man especially in relation to three things. These include life, liberty and property.
Locke’s main argument is premised on the fact that man is logical. In addition, Locke believes in the fact that man begins as a tabula rasa. This is to mean that man is initially an empty slate and it is his environmental influence that determines his behavior and character. In that breadth, it is the position of Locke that man would be peaceful and social if his environment entertains such characteristics. On the other hand, if the environment is wild and lacking peace, man would adopt such untold mannerisms. To sum up Locke’s position on this front, it has been noted that he believed in the existence of reason, equality and independence, conditions which remain intact depending on the environmental influences.
On that other hand, Hobbes sharply differs with such a position. Hobbes first opines that humans are naturally not social animals. In fact, in Hobbes’ world, the state of affairs involves a continuous state of war where everyone is fighting to survive. In that vein, no social relations are entertained among the humans. Hobbes argues that the original environment is characterized by chaos, avarice and savagery. He paints a situation in which man is locked in a constant struggle and he who is stronger and strategic wins the race. Hobbes, therefore, firmly believes that initial equality does not exist and that one gets a head-start depending on the position in which he initially finds himself.
Another area in which the two ideologies clash is in relation to man’s rule over others. Hobbes strongly believes that rule over others is divine and hence natural. In that context, Hobbes believes that the sovereign which in his days was represented by the King has a divine mandate to rule over the subjects. Hobbes, therefore, subscribes to the absolutism system in which the subjects should accept the rule and domination by the sovereign without question. This line of thought is equally informed by Hobbes’ belief in natural rights, natural equality and the artificial character of political order. However, Hobbes equally believes in the concept that humans are matter in motion and that they (humans) would subject themselves to forces of the law. In that vein, Hobbes integrates natural rights and matter in motion by arguing that human beings are capable of making rational, free and equal agreements among themselves. It is this agreements that lead to the social contract in which the subjects agree to be led by the sovereign. It is on that premise that Hobbes argues for absolute subjection to the rule by the Kings.
Locke sharply disagrees with this approach. According to Locke natural rights involve rights to life, liberty and property. In that regard, humans should have and enjoy independence and peace to the best extent possible. The government only suffices to ensure the common good prevails and it has no business in the private affairs of the people. Under this front, the government exercises power which must be checked. This led to the establishment of the checks and balances system on government which is best captured in the Second Treatise on Government. It is instructive to note that Locke believes that all men are born equal and independent and that none has divine authority to rule.
In conclusion, both philosophers should be appreciated for their contribution to society. Both had firm convictions that helped in laying the jurisprudence on societal matters. In addition, their approach effectively paved the way for a rational application in decision making where individuals ought to think before making their decisions. The need to respect the law is equally deduced from their arguments.
Works Cited
Appleby, P. (2009). Classics of Public Administration. In J. M. Shafritz, Classics of Public Administration. New York: Cengage Learning.
Goodnow, F. (2009). Politics and Administration: A Study in Government. In J. Shafritz, Classics of Public Administration. New York: Cengage Learning.
Kaufman , H. (2009). Administrative Decentralization and Political Power. In J. M. Shafritz, Classics of Public Administration. New York: Cengage Learning.
Schaffner, B. F. (2010). Politics. New York: Cengage Learning.
Stillman, R. J. (2009). Public Administration: Concepts and Cases, 9th ed.: Concepts and Cases. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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