A man’s society is crucial in defining their morals and political obligations. Philosophers such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Hobbes tried to explain the nature of government and its relationship to men. While some philosophers believed that men are subject to monarchs, some propounded that men are free with what they referred to as natural rights (Plattner, 2019). However, the philosophical thoughts had one thing in common: in one way or another people transfer some of their powers to the ruling bodies which must guard them (Seabright et al., 2021). A conversation between Nightjohn and John Locke presents Locke’s political philosophy.
- Nightjohn: Mr. Locke, my cousin brutally injured his wife, and was prosecuted by the government. Why would the government do that when the marriage was between him and his wife? Do not you think it is unfair for the government to intervene in a relationship it is not part of?
- John Locke: The government, the political system has the power to protect the right of every person.
- Nightjohn: But Mr. Locke, we do not directly tell them to protect us. I do not even remember ever informing the government to help me enjoy my rights.
- John Locke: You are right, but you ought to understand the nature of human beings. A man is naturally free and has a right to life, property, and liberty. Your brother is prosecuted because he infringed upon the natural rights of his wife.
- Nightjohn: So, he was prosecuted simply because he infringed upon her rights, and it is evil and wrong to do that? I do not understand this.
- John Locke: That is not the reason. The government legitimizes its power through what is called the social contract. The power is conditional since we transfer the power to them through Constitution and other legal entities. Therefore, the government must protect the enjoyment of natural rights, but with some limitations. Therefore, you are required to enjoy your rights while respecting other people’s rights.
- Nightjon: Thank you, Mr. Locke, I now understand the social contract concept and what is right and wrong. (Nightjon leaves, as John Locke requests a glass of beer)
Plattner, M. F. (2019). Human rights in our time. Routledge.
Seabright, P., Stieglitz, J., & Van der Straeten, K. (2021). Evaluating social contract theory in the light of evolutionary social science. Evolutionary Human Sciences, 3, E20.