According to Hobbes the need to create a form of government arises from fulfilling the need of security. In order for government to provide this security, it is necessary for government to be able to use its authority in any way it pleases. Locke and Mill on the other hand believe that government should be able to provide security for its citizens, but in order to do this government does not need to be large rather it should be limited. Thus, the question arises of how limited government should be in order to provide security. In this case, should government be able to use its authority in any way it pleases as Hobbes argues or should there be a limit placed on governmental power as argued by Locke and Mill? I believe that a powerful government can exist and provide its citizens with the necessary security while being limited. There is no need for government to be large in order to achieve this. Although both Locke and Mill have a just understanding of what the limits of government should be, I find Locke’s understanding more persuasive.
Locke writes that while government should restrict our freedom in order for us to avoid returning to the state of nature , the amount of restriction should be limited. For Locke, we are all in the State of Nature before any form of government is created (289). And since humans have a tendency to live in groups as well as desire to avoid the State of War, humans subject to a common power creating a common government and giving up natural power. Therefore, once this contract is created it is only then that we step out of the State of Nature.
Hobbes, on the other hand, writes that the sovereign should have as much authority as possible to govern as needed. Nevertheless, Hobbes just as Locke believes that before any form of government is created all humans live in the State of Nature . Likewise, consistent with Locke’s belief the only way to ascend out of the State of Nature is to construct some form of government. However, Hobbes believes that in order for a form of government to be created we must assign a single person to have authority (Hobbes 175). The sovereign, once assigned has total power – absolute authority. It is only when we are willing to step out of the state of nature by giving authority to an individual do we create a form of government. This constructs a trade off between freedom and order. Hobbes says that in order for this trade off to be accomplished government needs to be gigantic.
Mill, on the contrary, has a view of government that is similar to that of Locke’s rather than that of Hobbes. The difference between Mill and Locke or Hobbes is that for Mill the State of Nature does not exist, that is to say that Mill assumes that authority has already and always existed (Mill 631).
The way government should operate and how it should be run is where Hobbes, Locke and Mill differ. Hobbes believes that basically equal makes unequal meaning that, one person should be the sovereign and run...