Monday, October 7, 2019
The Concept of Rights Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words
The Concept of Rights - Essay Example By "property" he means "life, liberty, and estate". The philosopher begins by asserting that each individual, at a minimum, "owns" himself, because he is free and equal in the state of nature. In the Second Treatise, Locke espoused the idea of government by consent (representative government). Since there is no natural hierarchy among human beings, any subordination of one to another must be conventional. This convent is called the social contract. In this way, Locke argues that a full economic system could, in principle, exist within the state of nature. Property could therefore predate the existence of government, and thus society can be dedicated to the protection of property. When one joins civil society, however, one joins one's property to it to be regulated by the community. As a practical matter, in every society, a part must rule the whole. As the majority is composed of more wills and is stronger than the minority, the will of society must be determined by the majority. This makes liberal democracy a moral imperative. At a minimum, the majority must support the regime in power; in practice, this support can be demonstrated only by including something like a Parl iament in the government. It must be said that the people rule themselves. The rule of law - the idea that the power of the state may be exercised only pursuant to a general rule crafted by the legislature - is the only legitimate form of government. However, according to the philosopher, if the state overstepped its limits and began to exercise arbitrary power, it forfeited its 'side' of the contract and thus, the contract being void, the citizens not only have the right to overthrow the state, but are indeed morally compelled to revolt and replace the state (Uzgalis). "The Declaration of Independence" (1776). The Preamble of the Declaration is influenced by Enlightenment philosophy, including the concept of natural law. Ideas and even some of the phrasing were taken directly from the writings of John Locke, particularly his Second Treatise. This was done so, because, according to Jefferson, the purpose of the Declaration was not to find out new philosophical principles or arguments, but to convince everyone that leaders of the colonies were right in their revolutionary actions. The preamble is presented as a logical demonstration, with one proposition leading to another proposition. From the first proposition (that all men are created equal), a chain of logic is produced that leads to the right and responsibility of revolution when a government becomes destructive of the people's rights (Locke's idea): "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". Again, the Locke's terminology: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed". Then, according to the text of the Declaration, "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"