Political philosophy studies social organization and the nature of humans in society. It centres on issues related to the state and human relationships. State issues include social justice, law, authority, constitution, political obligation, freedoms, and rights, forms of governments, democracy, and wars. On social relationships, Political Philosophy addresses individuals’ responsibilities in interactions, relationship between governments and their citizens, property rights, the aspect of collective vs. individual, equality, obedience and disobedience, and relationships between different states.
Political Philosophy greatly draws from broader Philosophy, which employs logic and reason in answering important questions about reality, knowledge, life, human nature, and morality. In studying these questions, philosophers use a philosophical method, where they examine and analyse their beliefs about different life concepts. Similarly, Political Philosophy concerns itself with fundamental human questions, which it addresses using philosophical method of reason. The difference between Philosophy and Political Philosophy is that the latter is only concerned with fundamental political and social questions while the former is concerned with the general human life questions. In Political Philosophy, a bearing of Philosophy is merged in politics, thereby increasing knowledge and wisdom in politics, which is an essential factor.
John Locke (1632-1704) is famous for his Political Philosophy, which remains a basis for America’s concept of moral right. Locke addressed the question of morality and equality in his state of nature ideology, where he argued that all humans are equal, with equal rights to punish those who violate human rights. On law, Locke asserted that laws of nature emanate from human reason. Locke emphasized that state of nature is a state of equality. Through reason, humans know that it is wrong to harm other humans any context. On punishment, Locke noted that there was a need for law enforcers in society in order for justice and punishment to be realized. Punishment comes because of the laid down sanctions by the law enforcers in society. Locke also justified punishment, claiming that it should however measure up to the extent of the crime committed, and should be for the purpose of restraint and reparation. He noted that governments are instruments of law enforcement. To him, governments are important as they uphold fairness and justice for all individuals. Without the government, injustices and unfairness would prevail. Government therefore, is the remedy for the faults of the state of nature. Locke was also opposed to monarchies and argued that it is better to remain in the state of nature, than be ruled by a monarch. He justified public rebellion against tyrannies. He advocated for democratic governance and recommended balance of power, as this, together with legal and moral rights are the base of a government system. He emphasized on separation between the roles of church and the state, arguing that the state is only responsible for safeguarding human rights, while the church is charged with public morality.
Generally, John Locke believed that governments do not come naturally. Only the state of nature exists without governments. He argued it is better for people to be ruled by governments than to live in a state of nature, which had no restrictions. He thought that government is meant to protect its citizens, rights. However, I tend to think that there is more freedom in the state of nature than in government rulership. In the state of nature, people are free to act as they like, unlike when under governments, where many restrictions and laws are imposed on people. Locke also had faith in human nature, arguing that each person has reason and therefore is compelled to act according to the laws of nature, therefore did not need government to control them. On the contrary, I think that human nature is unpredictable and therefore cannot be easily trusted. Humans need a government to control them, as excessive freedom is lethal, and may result in many forms of harm.
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