Thomas Hobbes and John Locke on Natural Rights Essay

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Hobbes and Locke on Natural Rights

According to the natural right theory, the state of nature is the original condition of human beings in regard to any common authority. In the state of nature, according to Thomas Hobbes, each individual has a right to everything, even the body/life of the other. The state of nature can lead to the state of moral chaos. Moral chaos produces physical chaos or war, thus the state of war, the war of all against all. The reason this is because no one has any connection to the other, everyone has the right to everything, just to satisfy his or her appetites. There is no rational rule to resolve conflict, in order to get around this you have to get an agreement, thus the need for a social contact.
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To get out of the state of nature we need to retain our natural rights, the rights to liberty (self-preservation and preservation of others) and the right to property. The same rules that apply to liberty also apply to property for Locke. Property rights are prior (in principle) to government, you have a right to life and property without government. It's settling your disputes that may make it hard to do without government. The state of nature becomes the state of war when enforcement problems occur, disagreements; thus the reason for government is to preserve pre-existing rights. To get out of the state of nature government can exist only by consent and you cant consent for anyone else, unless of course they are children. There are two major elements of Locke's social contract. Phase #1 is the bare agreement to agree. People have to realize the need for government, the need for something to solve problems of the people. For Hobbes this is like a bare leap into government. For Locke, there must be societies were people agree to communicate and talk in order to unanimously agree on a government. And if someone decides that they don't want to join, well,

you cant do any harm to them, or compel them to join your society. Unlike Hobbes, for Hobbes if you don't join the society and agree to the establishment of a sovereign then everyone else has the right to either force you to join your social contract or they

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