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John Locke And The Egalitarian Principle

948 words - 4 pages

Considered to be the ‘Father of classical liberalism,’ John Locke established the core values of classical liberalism, which included liberty, individualism, protection of natural rights, consent and constitutionalism. Classical liberalism that developed in the United States focused on a ‘minimal state’ in terms of government restriction while John Locke centralized his focus on the social and political means of the individual. Generally, egalitarianism is defined as “a belief in human equality in terms of social political and economic affairs.” Under this standard, John Locke cannot be labeled an egalitarian in all terms since he does not believe in equality of persons in all aspects. John ...view middle of the document...

Locke’s basis serves as an egalitarian principle because it portrays equality of protection amongst the people. According to Locke, all men have natural rights and they would agree to transition from a state of nature to a civil government because their rights along with their property would be preserved. Overall, in terms of men, Locke does not exclude any particular men from his argument on the preservation of property. There is equality of protection in terms of property against other people and the government. He states “...[men are] willing to quit a condition which…is full of fears and continual dangers…is willing to join in society with others… for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates…” (Locke 66). Therefore all men are aware that they will join a civil government where they will equally be protected with a limited government. The establishment of the executive and legislative will be in accordance to “be directed to no other end, but the peace, safety, and public good of the people,” (Locke 68). He does not write the public good of certain people of certain classes or etc, but rather the good of people generally. The establishment of the limited government he writes of is egalitarian also because it does not exclude certain men but rather protects ALL men.
Although everyone is morally equal in terms of having natural rights and protection, Locke does not believe in equality overall. He states that individuals have equality of opportunity but not of outcome. Throughout his Second Treatise of Government, Locke focuses on the preservation of property. He states, “…[God] gave [land] to the use of the industrious and rational, not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious” (Locke 21-22). According to Locke, men are given the same opportunities in receiving property/land but it should be kept by the men who make use...

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