Hobbes Vs Locke

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Often times, laws are interpreted by the public as impositions of civil liberties, while other times they are justified by the legislators as a means to benefit the greater good. Hobbes and Locke had distinctly different views on the limitations of government and their legislations. In this essay I intend make an account of the separate views that Hobbes and Locke had, then I want to distinguish their views from each other and relate them to modern day society, and I’ll finally attempt to answer the question of which political philosopher accurately captures the relationship between law and liberty in modern politics. I argue that Locke fits the bill best, since his view on limiting liberty is justified by the benefit of preserving life, liberty,…show more content…
Hobbes’ definition of general law is interpreted as man obeys the maxims of a figure who has been formerly appointed to him. According to Hobbes, “Lawes are addressed to all the Subjects in general” and that “Lawes are the Rules of Just, and Unjust” (1985, 312). Since laws are meant to determine what is right and wrong and are applicable to all, Hobbes would say that certain laws in today’s society are flawed in that regard—especially an unjust law that attacks civil…show more content…
Does this make it a superfluous law? Even though a lot of people would argue that this law doesn’t benefit them in any right, it exists, at the very least, for the purpose of preserving life (overall beneficial to society). However, there are laws that exist today and in recent history that are a direct violation of an effort to better society. This is an example of an over-arching government, one that takes away liberties from some, and gives it to others. The example of this is tax breaks for married couples. At least in the United States, there are a lot of places that do not allow same sex marriages to occur. Those places may allow ‘civil unions’ but those don’t give same-sex couples the same benefits that married, opposite sex couples have. This infringement of liberty is based on the notion that certain couples are not considered equal to other couples. If we agree to the commonwealth, and if it only exists to benefit our health, safety, and overall wellbeing, then the status quo is not right. According to Locke, this would be an example of extending the bounds of the legislative powers. The fundamental purpose of legislative power is for the “preservation of the society, and (as far as will consist with the public good) of every person in it” (Locke 1980, 69). Since the marriage laws aren’t universal, they violate the notion that the law benefits the entire

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