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Social Contract Theory of John Locke Essay

Given the honored and extensive authority that the social contract theory upholds, the supposition still endures various assessments. The view that people’s ethical and political responsibilities are reliant upon a contract between them to structure a society is also precisely linked with current ethical and political theory. John Locke (b. 1632, d. 1704), a prominent truth-seeker among other professions of the 17th and early 18th centuries, is primarily recognized for the creation of his influential social contract theory.

Censors dispute that most people are raised within an existing society and not presented with opportunity to opt a social contract; therefore, Locke’s social contract theory is considered invalid. Locke’s refute to the censors alleged that a keen understanding of how social contracts transpire must occur prior to the advancement of individuals in the social order. This paper will entail the social contract theory of John Locke and how the values identified are consistent with the criminal justice system (Uzgalis, 2007, ¶11). The State of Nature.

The social contract theory commences with the idea of a state of nature; the central idea that criminal justice systems are not in existence. The breakdown of effects result in the lack of protection provided; the inability to instill safety measures; and the neglect of civil rights pertaining to property and to individualized refuge. Public order is in disarray resulting in people relying on self-help methods to resolve differences of opinion. The individuality of existence within a state of nature is one of the primary areas under discussion that differences occur among social contract philosophers.

Unlike Thomas Hobbes, John Locke’s colleague in philosophy, whom references a state of nature as a battle of everyone in opposition to one another, Locke references state of nature, not as a circumstance of warfare, but nevertheless a problem. Locke theorizes that a community not possessing access to a normal arbitrator would signify that each person would mediate individual cases. This style of adjudication would create recurrent heated discussions being settled by personal brutality.

Despite the different thinking techniques of Locke and Hobbes, the agreement exists that the state of nature would generate a sadistic and apprehensive atmosphere (Reese, 2001, ¶11-12). The State of Nature is a condition of ideal and inclusive autonomy to manage life in the best method one deems necessary, according to Locke. To add clarity, Locke’s proposal was not to include the freedom to do whatever one desires despite the consequences. Although the State of Nature presents a status that municipal influence and government does not discipline individuals for illegal indiscretions, doctrines remain in subsistence.

Furthermore, the State of Nature assumes equivalency to others and is equally skilled to make determinations ensured by, what Locke claims, the foundation of decency; the Law of Nature. Locke’s viewpoint is that the Law of Nature was provided to mankind by God with the instructions not to cause injury to one another in regard to physical condition, independence, existence, and property. In Locke’s words, “Moral good and evil is only the conformity or disagreement of our voluntary actions to some law, whereby good or evil is drawn on us, from the will and power of the law-maker” (Laslett, 1967, p.18).

Locke refutes Hobbes theory by making claim that because God owns every living creature, and every human being is considered equivalent, people are not at liberty to eradicate what belongs to God. The State of Nature works as a set of guidelines allowing people to pursue unreservedly happiness by following personal areas of interest and creating personal diplomacy (2001, ¶3-4). In this observation the decree is established on God’s determination but strangely, the theory is not consistent with Locke’s assertion pertaining to the Law of Nature.

Locke elaborates that because the State of Nature is reasonably passive; people are entitled to seek this happiness free from hindrance. Although the hypothesis is to some extent contradicting, Locke’s theory does add simplicity to the reasoning of why an unbiased criminal justice system is detrimental to society. Two Treaties on Government Locke surmised in the Two Treaties on Government, 1686, originally people agreed to a governmental social contract to ensure safeguarding of property rights and security from aggression.

In lieu of defense, community members presented authorization to the government for verification that community members wished to be presided over. Locke made public the claim that any government official can justifiably be replaced if he or she neglects duties or takes advantage of the position. Locke’s view of righteousness is germane to the debate of the United States Criminal Justice System because initiators depended upon Locke’s words of wisdom to direct the assembly of an organization of self-governing supremacy.

Undeniably, numerous pieces of the United States Declaration of Independence duplicate portions of Locke’s Second Treatise precisely. For example, citizens are gifted “with certain unalienable rights . . . governments come about to secure the rights and to gain just powers from the consent of the governed” (Laslett, 1967, p. 61). Locke’s statement pertaining to how disparaging the government can become and the entitlement the community members obtain is also noted in the Declaration of Independence. Locke’s dispute resulted as the starting point for structuring an admired government in addition to a validation for rebellion.

Political convictions formerly sustained the proposal of community members providing government requirements. The concept of an innovative social contract in which the government subsisted to provide requirements of the administration created a novel reflection that upheld Lock’s thoughts, “a person surrendered to the authority of the state only the amount of freedom necessary to ensure protection of the rights of other citizens” (1967, p. 3-7). The fresh proposal concerning contractual association of the government to community members was a creation of an inventive, rising middleclass (1967, p. 15).

Conclusion Based on the preceding theories of the highly regarded John Locke, the values identified within the State of Nature are noticeably consistent with the values of existing day criminal justice system. Although challenging, without the basis of Locke’s hypothesis on social contract, the criminal justice system would lack genuineness and compassion creating an unreceptive environment. Locke’s theory makes current the immeasurable array of associations and connections interlinking people. Social contract theory is undeniably a part of the criminal justice system at present and in the projected future.

Locke’s theory, along with other reputable premises, will forever compel the reflection upon the nature of people and the connection to one another. Reference Laslett, P. (December 1967). Two treaties of government and the revolution of 1688. Locke: Two Treatises of Government. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought. (ISBN- 13 : 9780521069038 | ISBN- 10: 0521069033). Reese, R. (September 2001). Social justice theory. Journal of Ethics and Justice. Uzgalis, W. (2007). Historical background and locke’s life. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


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