Describe the Western Civilization For Political Rights and Liberty.
Social contract theory is an aspect related to the modern moral social and/or political rights and liberty of an individual for the sake of the whole society. Historically, social contract was a dominating issue which focused on the modern social and political theories especially in the west. The philosophers that studied this social contract and came up with theories to explain it were: Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. They all came up with different studies from different researches with particular reasons and solutions on how to solve various problems in the society. In this essay, I will discuss all the three theories by giving the most important points. However, I will also choose the best theory that can solve the biggest problem addressed in the case study (Vespuccia state) by giving a clear argument with reasons as to why I have chosen that specific theory. Therefore, the following social contract theories will be discussed in this assignment: Thomas Hobbes theory, John Locke’s theory and Jean-Jacques Rousseau theory.
Thomas Hobbes Theory
He was among the first scientist to research and come up with a social contract theory. His idea about the society entirely generated from the fact that there is no freedom and peace among people living together especially after they have agreed on who to rule and how to benefit each other. Hobbes theory revolved around individuals giving up their personal liberty in order to encourage and achieve common security. Therefore, this means that when one individual sacrifices their right to something then another should return the favor. Hobbes says that a human being is naturally self-interested, reasonable but also entirely relies on the natural laws of nature. Nonetheless, they opt to give up their desires (e.g. need to use Vespuccians as slaves for labor and exploiting the resources all by themselves) for the sake the society at large.
Additionally, Hobbes argues that when it comes to humans, preserving natural justice is never in their nature as well. Therefore, the parties in a certain state of nature decide to choose a body that will guide them in exercising justice incase personal sacrifice does not work. This theory makes it easier to commit on the personal sacrifice rather than be guided by a sovereign body. It is clear that Hobbes theory tries to ensure that there is mutual and equal sacrifice from both the natives and Vespuccians to be able to inflict natural justice which is certainly fair. However, it is clear that naturally humans are always self-interested and have great fear of losing their lives or anything related to them. Despite the fact that humans are self-interested and rational they are also reasonable which brings up the fairness of natural justice.
John Locke Theory
His view for the social contract was entirely different from that of Hobbes. This was probably because his research came about in a time when there was slightly more peace and leadership was possible especially when exercised by sovereign body like the government. In that case, Locke stated that the government would be in charge of protecting and taking care of the peoples’ needs i.e. social needs like their rights to property, life and freedom and liberty. This theory focused on the political aspects of the society rather than the social or moral aspects. Nevertheless, they should be able to come together and choose a common body (equal and fairly) that will be solving their lack of trust, disrespect and violations of each other by exerting as much justice as possible.
In addition to that, Locke also argued that there should be division of duties and obligations in order for them to exercise fair justice. The reason for this is for every society member to have a responsibility and duty and be able to participate in security and peace generation. It is important to note that in every society or country the people usually have the overall power or say when choosing the leaders. Therefore, the government should always give the society their right to choose whether to do away with the current justice body or keep it going. This theory gives the government the power to maintain security and peace but through the power of the people.
Property is an important part of Locke’s theory because it deals with the private property protection and ownership. This related to the social contract and the civil government and how they are going to protect the property ownership especially their private property. The theory argues that the civil government assumes the state of nature and take up property ownership as a personal duty rather than a natural gift.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Theory
Jean-Jacque’s theory was stated between the late 17th Century and early 18th Century. This theory mostly focuses on the political issues which normally govern most of the societies. The people gather together willingly to support the civil and political bodies and with an aim of freeing themselves by exercising their liberty but are later left in chains tied to agreements (e.g. a punishment agreed upon by the whole community for law breakers is not implemented and instead the private political bodies come up with their own and enact it) that are completely different from what they anticipated for, i.e. they are trapped in different laws and rules that are made by specific group of people. Additionally, the civil society does not honor their promise of giving the people their freedom and liberty and instead they tie them to their own laws which are not for the peoples interests. This shows that the social contract is completely for the benefit of the political or civil body i.e. the government governing the society which are mostly the rich people with property. These problems are entirely caused by the level of human selfishness and love for individual power against the will of the whole society.
He argued that for social security and liberty to be possible, the society should be involved wholly in the making of the rules and regulations that govern them. The people should be given their freedom, equality and liberty before and after the collective law making. The laws should be common and accepted by every society member. The people to be given the right to come together and collectively form a democratic body and laws that will govern them and help them to live together in harmony no matter what the state of the society is. Therefore, Jean-Jacque simply argues that it okay for the government to rule the society but should not be at the expense of the people. It should encourage equality and liberty at whatever costs for it to maintain its authority and powers to rules the people instead of trading the people’s will for power.
John Locke’ Theory
This theory talks about the society coming together and forming a common body that will take care of its needs and especially security, property ownership, safe living conditions and equality. Apparently, from the case study, Vespuccians and the other community have certain problems which can be solved by all of the above theories. However, the problem of land and property ownership by other community and a number of Vespuccians being enslaved can only be solve by John Locke’s theory. The problem is highly sensitive because the humans currently seem to possess some of the most basic needs that supports life like water. Additionally, by taking some Vespuccians as slaves, it means that they have authority and power to treat them as they would like but only for their own benefit.
It is also clear that this situation has created a great misunderstanding, mistrust and disrespect between the two communities. It is also clear that the two communities cannot work together at the moment because of the various differences between them. This certainly shows that they have no common body that has the responsibility of helping them solve their problems. Instead, they live unhealthy life with a lot of hatred and anger towards one another. Therefore, Locke’s theory is certainly the best for solving these problems than other theories.
I can say that this theory is ideal for Vespuccian state because:
The main reason for choosing Locke’s theory is because through it the whole community will be able to learn from the start about the culture and practices of each other. Locke beliefs that the attitudes of humans can be completely changed for the better through education. Therefore, apart from helping them to relate peacefully with each other, the education will help them agree to one ruling body for security and peace purposes.
- By coming together and forming a common body with common rules to govern them they will reduce the number of problems between them, e.g.:
- Lack of respect to ward each other. Through the use of this theory, they will be able to respect each other’s culture and views which is certainly a step towards security and liberty exercise as well freedom and peace execution.
- A common governing body will consider the ideas from every party as import as the other which is currently not the case.
- In addition to that the theory will encourage to work together and share the available resources equally therefore increasing security, freedom and equality.
The fact that through Locke’s theory, they will be able to achieve all of the above benefits and problem solutions, then it confirms that it is the best suitable theory for Vespucian state.
In conclusion I can say that every community needs to find a way of living in peace especially those communities with different cultures, beliefs and values. Therefore, the idea of looking for a suitable researched theory on social contracts to solve the challenges and differences between them is one of the best options. This is where the Locke’s and Jean’s theories come about. They offer different solutions to different community problems and help the people to live in peace and secure. Nonetheless, every theory has its advantages and disadvantages bound to its usage. However, for the John Locke’s theory, it is best for the case study because most importantly it will be able to solve most of the problems that they are facing. Therefore, it is very important for every society to put in place a social contract that will undoubtedly benefit every member by encouraging freedom, equality and liberty exercise.