a) Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are philosophers who came up with different philosophies concerning political authority (Huhne, 2013). John Locke advocated constitutionalism and the belief that every human had a right. He set forth the belief that the state has a responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens and if it does not the citizens can withdraw their support or rebel. Thomas Hobbes, on the other hand, believed that the only correct form of government was an absolute monarchy (Wikipedia, 2013). Having lived through the English civil war, his experience led him to believe that to maintain peace and prevent another civil war there was a need for absolute power. I support Hobbes philosophy since I view Locke’s as having a number of limitations.
I agree with Hobbes that the only government strong enough to hold human’s cruel impulses in check is the absolute monarchy. Lack of a sovereign power leads to war and lack of peace (Sherman, 2013). Therefore, it is important that individuals are freed from control, especially because human beings are naturally powered seeking and entirely submit to the sovereign power. Observing this will ensure that peace is maintained. Allowing individual control will lead to war and therefore a sovereign government would be better as burdens of even the most oppressive government are “scarce sensible, in respect of the miseries, and horrible calamities, that accompany a Civil War”.
I entirely concur with Hobbes philosophy as I consider what life would be in a condition without a government. Perhaps the liberal way of John Locke is more desirable, that is, each person decides for herself how to act, and is judge, executioner, and jury in her own case whenever disputes arise. However, this is a dangerous state as there is no agency with recognized authority to arbitrate disputes and effective power to enforce its decisions. A state without subjection to Laws, and a coercive Power to tie the hands of its citizen from rapine, and revenge, would make impossible all of the basic security upon which civilized, comfortable and sociable life depends.
On the other hand, I discount John Locke’s philosophy as often times, freedom corrupts people (Finnis, 2013). Locke’s philosophy assumes that all people are good and they make the right decisions all the time but this is inconsistent with the reality. It is a fact that in every society there is at least a violent bad person and this person may corrupt the entire society. In the liberal society that John Locke suggests, it will be hard to tame such a person as people are free to act how they please and there is no authority to control their actions. Therefore, having a sovereign authority will be more beneficial in taming people in a given society.
John Locke’s philosophy also has its setbacks since allowing people to rebel to authority may lead to warfare. The philosophy states that the government’s task is to preserve the natural rights of its citizens. When the government fails at this, the citizens have a right to rebel against it. Often times the government may fail to meet all its citizen’s needs and therefore allowing citizens to rebel will contribute to warfare due to the continuous disagreements. This would have been avoided if there was a sovereign power that individuals completely submit to. In such a government, the rebel will be unheard of and therefore there will be peace within the state.
John Locke and Thomas Hobbes both philosophers have theories found on social contract theory. John Locke’s belief is perceived to be the liberal one. He states that the government is based on consensus and the citizens should battle for liberty in the face of an overpowering government. On the contrary, Hobbes believes that to maintain peace and a state of lawfulness, a sovereign government should exist and citizens should submit to it. For this reason, I strongly agree with Hobbe’s philosophy as opposed to that of Locke. Observing that Locke’s philosophy has a number of assumptions, such as, that all individuals are good and that freedom may not corrupt them. This assumption is not consistent with the reality.