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Two Treatises Of Government: The State Of Nature And Property

1483 words - 6 pages

John Locke's work about the two treatises of government is essential for the understanding of property and the state of nature. In the second treatise, Locke describes a theory of liberal political government based on the purity of individual property and the state of nature. In Locke's state of nature, no person has any type of control over another but instead natural order governs all people equally. Every individual has the extreme power of the natural law and lives with it. People can do as much as they wish as long as their actions are based upon a universal natural law. Locke argues that individual property must be attained by providing it with labour. Therefore, any type of land which one has donated labour to must become its land. "The labour of his body and the work of his hands" will lead us to obtain individual property and thus have a state with natural reason. However, Locke lays out the theories of the state of nature and property as two important aspects of people's life when determining order, equality and freedom for all individuals.In chapter two of the second treatise, Locke tries to explain the state of nature as a state of equality in which no one has power over another. Everyone is free to do as they wish and nobody can tell them what to do. A man will act as a rational being making right choices according to the rule of nature. However, this amount of liberty and independence should not lead to the abuse of others since natural order will still take place. In the state of nature, every person has the power and ability of enforcing natural laws, since these laws are universal. The principal argument in the state of nature is that all people are equal and live without being ruled. Moreover, behaviour will be governed by its natural law and every person has the right to implement that law against someone who infringes it. Infringing the law could also be seen as a crime and punishment for it should be assessed.The crime consists in violating the right Rule of Reason of every individual. This Rule of Reason is what makes a man realize the natural principles of the world and cooperate with one another. A man, after committing such crime will become degenerate and will abandon the principles of human nature. He will also become a corrupt creature that has violated the moral principles and will be isolated. This person will harm others making them seek for "reparation". Individuals should act upon hurt individuals and support them in recovering from the offender. The offender must pay for what he/she has done and should be punished with the extent of the natural law.Locke's theories on the state of nature include certain assumptions made on a system of morality. The natural law is attached to a set of rights that people must follow; this derives from a theory of justice. No person could have any legal rights with the absence of a code of conduct applicable to human actions, nor would there be any fair and just punishment for...

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