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John Locke vs. Thomas Hobbes

by Christian Ledford

John Locke’s 1689 
Second Treatise on Civil Government is, without a doubt, one of the most fundamental and foundational texts of the Enlightenment. Not only did the work of Locke directly inspire the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution, but Lockean Classical Liberalism has laid the foundation of modern day political movements such as American conservatism and rightwing libertarianism. Locke, in writing his Second Treatise, took Hobbesian philosophy on natural rights and extrapolated and elaborated upon it to produce a definition of natural rights that was in direct alignment with both capitalist social mechanics as well as Christian ethics. Rather than endorsing Hobbesian philosophy that argued for an idea of rights where the only rights an individual possessed were those they could personally grasp and defend on pure, brute strength alone (up to and including the very property and lives of other individuals), Locke distilled the idea of natural rights into a consistent, universal standard in which each individual, on pure basis of humanity alone and regardless of any natural strength, possessed inalienable rights: life, liberty, and property.
  • 30 November 2020
  • Author: Guest Blogger
  • Number of views: 456
  • Comments: 0
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