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John Locke

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Connor Cantwell

on 2 October 2013

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Transcript of John Locke

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
John Locke
Background
1632 - 1704
Born in Wrington, England
Learnt how to speak Hebrew and Arabic at Westminster School and studied science, philosophy and medicine at Oxford university
Views on Law
Locke was a strong believer in natural law
Most notable idea was that everyone is born with the same rights to life, liberty and property.
Believed that nobody should have to live under the ruling of a single power and that the government is a service to the people; not vice versa.
He believed it was up to the people to punish those who went against the law of nature.
John Locke and Justice
Strengths andWeaknesses of Views
By letting the people control how people were punished for the crimes they've committed and not having a higher power set our guidelines for the offense/punishment, punishments would variety in terms of severity for similar crimes. There is no precedence to make the punishments standard.
Thomas Hobbes argued against Locke that if society were un on the basis of natural law, that society would adopt an "every man for himself" mentality and it would cause public chaos.
John Locke's Theories and Views in Modern Law
In today's society, we see a lot of Locke's views in our laws. For instance, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms Section 7 states: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.". And in 1948, Canada signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17 of which reads: 1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. 2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. We see similar laws to ours in the US constitution as well as most of the western world.
Locke was a well educated
Locke's ideas of the right to life, liberty and property are considered fundamental rights in our society today with the vast majority agreeing that it is important we should have these rights.
Locke's idea of separating powers is used in current day legal system.
Works and Writings
Fundamental Constitutions
of Carolina
A Letter Concerning Toleration
Two Treatises of Government
An Essay Concerning
Human Understanding
Some Thoughts
Concerning Education
Of the Conduct of
the Understanding
Rights and Equality
Locke believed in 'Tabula Rasa' which means 'Blank Slate' in Latin. This theory stated that every individual born was born with no prior knowledge, destiny or concept of human behaviour. This went against most views of the 17th century as most believed that you were born with your fate already determined by God. Locke argued that all perception of human behaviour is formed after birth via the senses and therefor everyone was created equal.
View on Property
View on Religion
In response to the religious wars of the era, Locke stated that humans have no right to evaluate the truths of religion because humans do not know of the absolute truth. Locke argued that violence in accordance to religion was wrong as the idea of religion is against violence. He also supported diversity and supported the idea of letting people believe in their own religion as it would keep order in society.
Locke believed that nature gives us the opportunity to extract goods from the earth. Locke believes that anyone who works for something is entitled to the right to own the outcome (materials, produce, etc.) . Locke believed that the right to own property superseded the government in the sense that the government shouldn't be allowed to infringe on an individuals rights to own property or obstruct the use of it. In today's society (mostly in the United States) that people feel very strongly about their right to property. For example, on TV and the Internet, you always see people challenge the police when they are going to be searched. The words "Do you have a search warrant?" has become increasingly popular in modern society - a phrase that John Locke would've supported.
View on Government
Locke felt that no man should be ruled by the power of one person or group of people and that everyone had the right to defend their own rights. Locke thought that the government at the time (consisting of the monarchy, Parliament and church) were too powerful. To remedy this, Locke supported the idea of seperating the powers of the monarchy, parliament and church so the state could not violate an individuals rights. Locke proposed that there should be a public authority instead of one run by government that should enforce laws. This way, the people have more say in society rather than everyone just submitting to the state.
John Locke would define justice as the state in which everyone can live their lives and express and have the natural rights to life, liberty, and property. To have justice, the power must be with the people and not the government.
Punishment
John Locke felt that when you violate someone else's natural rights, you forfeit your own rights. He believes that those who violate the rights of others shall be punished by the people (not the state) and that the punishment should seek restitution for the victim, to protect the public society, and deter the crime from happening again.
Civil Disobedience
John Locke would've supported the idea of civil disobedience if the government infringes on the laws and rights of nature. Locke states if the government fails to serve the people and infringes on the people's rights, that the people have the right and duty to overthrow the government and replace it with one that better reflects society's needs as they see fit.
Weaknesses
Strengths
Would John Lock Support the use of Spot Checks to stop Impaired Drivers?
Would John Locke support a Law that Permits Euthanasia?
A law that Legalizes Theft
A Law that Permits the Government to take DNA from Newborns for a Crime Database
A law that Permits the Detainment of Certain Ethnic Groups to Combat Terrorism
A Law that Would Force Defense Lawyers to disclose if their Client Confessed
A Law that would Decriminalize Possession of Drugs, Prostitution and Gambling
A law that Permits Capital Punishment of those Convicted of First-Degree Murder
Full transcript