Liberalism John Locke

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  • Locke
    • Social Contract Theory
      • Locke thought if we were in a state of nature we would voluntarily agree to be governed by a state
        • We would do this so our possessions and property would be protected and everyone would have the same amount of freedoms
        • Locke believed we would agree to be governed by a state because he believes in rationalism. All humans are rational and therefore is capable of reason and logic- a state is needed to help keep property safe
      • Locke explained that government is necessary and is consented to by rational people and is therefore legitimate
    • "Though in a state of nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain and constantly exposed by the invasion of others"
    • "Preservation of their lives, liberties and estates"
    • Mechanistic theory
      • The state was created by man and therefore is man made like any mechanism. Government was created to serve the people and their intrests
      • Government should be      1) Limited and 2) Based on consent
        • 1) Government should not be able to take away property (basic tax for basic needs)
          • Strongly appose state attempts to tax the rich as if this takes away negative freedom.
          • State is needed to avoid disorder, however it should be limited otherwise it will become to powerful and will therefore become evil.
        • 2) If people find the state is abusing their rights they should be able to overthrow and replace government
    • Despite Locke's insistence upon consent early liberals were alarmed by democracy as they were afraid the illiterate would not know what to vote for and that the majority would gang up on the minority
    • Believed in egotistical individualism
      • The best way to make individuals free is to leave them alone as all individuals are self interested and quickly learn how to be self reliant
    • Locke was a key thinker in the enlightenment
    • Classical Liberal: Individual freedom will be best achieved by the state playing a very minimal role-neoliberalism
      • believes the state should play a very minimum role as otherwise it would become evil
      • Strongly supports negitive freedom-the absence of external consstraints
    • Would believe in foundational equality (people have inalienable rights which cannot be taken away)
    • Also believe in formal equality,and equality of oppertunity
    • Would want a totally free market without government intervention (laissez-faire capitalism)


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