John Locke’s Conception of the Liberal StateJune 28, 2021
Against Hobbes’ absolutism, we find the liberal understanding of the English philosopher John Locke. In his Second Treatise on Government, Locke deals with the origin and legitimacy of the state. Locke, like Hobbes, bases the sovereign right on a contract that people will make among themselves. Therefore, he sees the state as an artificial institution. Therefore, it proceeds from the assumption of a state of nature to explain the origin of the state.
According to Locke, who moves from the state of nature to explain what the state, which is political authority, is, the state of nature is a state of freedom. But freedom is not a state of war in the first place, as Hobbes argues. According to John Locke, the origin of the state is a contract made to leave the state of nature in which individuals are free and equal.
“To understand political power correctly and derive it from its origin, we must consider what kind of state of nature all human beings are in. It is a state of perfect freedom, within the limits of the law of nature, to regulate their actions and dispose of their property and person as they think fit, without asking permission and without the will of anyone else” (Locke 2004, p. 5).
Locke conceives the state of nature as a state of freedom and equality. The state of nature is the state in which natural law, the laws of nature dominate. In terms of natural law, everyone is equal and free. According to natural law, no one can harm another person’s life, property or freedom. In the state of nature, the right of other people to punish someone who violates the natural law by acting against the natural law is a right that comes from natural law.
In the state of nature, every human has the right to punish those who commit crimes, that is, those who violate natural law. In the state of nature as well as in the state of nature, the crime committed is punishable. Just as there is positive law to punish crime in the state of the state, so there is natural law in the state of nature. In addition, the obligation to comply with the laws of nature continues in the state. The laws of nature are always rules without beginning or end for all legislators and all people. In other words, if legislators make laws for citizens, these laws must also be in conformity with the laws of nature and bind those who make these laws themselves. “Since the constitution of nature provides for the protection of the human race, no human decision can be valid that is contrary to that constitution”.
According to Locke, the purpose of people coming together to form a civilized society is the protection of property. Property includes both the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to own property. Locke asks why man gives up this right of sovereignty and freedom and comes under the domination of another power, even though he is free in the state of nature, is his own master and is not dependent on anyone. The answer to this question is that although human beings have rights to everything in the state of nature, it is not certain that they can enjoy these rights. This right can be constantly attacked by others.
The state of nature can turn into a state of war at any moment. This is what compels people to come out of this state of constant fear and constant danger. According to Locke, it is not in vain that people seek to form a society and come together to form a whole in order to protect their lives, freedoms and property. Locke identifies all of the life, liberty, and property mentioned here as possessions, that is, as objects of property. People form a civilized society by uniting in a community to protect their possessions and property rights.
According to John Locke, the laws of nature are above both positive laws and those who set these laws, and they are binding on all people, including legislators.
The reason why people give up their freedom in the state of nature and come under the rule of a power is the desire to protect what they have.
A second reason for the transition to civilized society is the absence of an impartial judge to enforce the laws of nature in the state of nature. Because in the state of nature everyone is a judge, everyone has the right to punish those who do not obey the law of nature. Being a human being, his passions and desire for vengeance can make him do excesses when his interests are harmed, leading to injustice.
The third reason for the transition to civilized society is that there is no authority that can support and implement a judgment given in the state of nature. This can be dangerous and deadly for a person who tries to punish the person who has committed a crime because of the injustice he has suffered. That’s why, despite all the goodness of the state of nature, people do not want to stay in this state and willingly tend to live in the form of society. “This is the beginning of the law of both societies, governments, and legislative and executive power”.
According to Locke, when the state of society is passed, the authority of man to do whatever he sees fit to protect himself and others is given up so that this authority can be exercised by social laws. this year