Executive Power in Locke’s State of Nature


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Essay #: 061822
Total text length is 13,574 characters (approximately 9.4 pages).

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The beginning:
Executive Power in Locke’s State of Nature
In John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government he presents mankind in a state of nature quite different from the “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” life of Thomas Hobbes. Locke’s state of nature seems filled with men making rational decisions and exercising power over the natural world. Instead of quickly fleeing to the protection of an absolute monarch, these theoretical persons need a reason to abandon the state of nature. Interestingly, in Locke’s conception, man leaves the state of nature behind not because he lacks the power to defend himself, but because he has too much power to defend himself. While this state may be wild, it is not without laws. Locke conceives of a state of nature...
The end:
.....and enforce it.
Ultimately the debate between Hobbes and Locke rages on today as we determine the balance between liberty and security. Each time we go through a crowded airport line and give up a small piece of liberty in exchange for the safety of our flight, Locke would surely be enraged by what seems like an expedient measure. Yet more serious concerns are raised by detainees in Guantanamo held without trial or charges. Certainly there is a point at which we must recognize that the American ideals of liberty and equality, as Locke has argued, cannot be taken away quite so easily.
Hobbes, T., (2009). Leviathan. City: Oxford University Press, USA.
Locke, J., (1689). The Second Treatise on Government. Penguin Classics, New York.