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ahoymewmew Group Title

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.—Public Domain From this quote, you can tell that John Locke was most concerned with the preservation of? a) absolute monarchies b) was poised to challenge the authority of the clergy and the king c) was a key contributor to the Scientific Revolution d) believed a key role of the government was to protect freedom

  • 2 years ago
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    None of these is great, but (d) is probably what you're supposed to answer. The problem was that this is anachronistic -- it grafts the terms of a modern debate about the role of government onto the thinking of a 17th century philosopher who had very different concerns. Locke was not attempting to define government powers, and promote the use of these powers for good. Quite to the contrary, he was disputing the role of government as it was then practiced, arguing that government must be restrained properly in order that it achieve the only ends for which it could be morally justified: the liberty of the individual from chaos and individual predation by his neighbors. He was arguing *against* the idea of his age that government was the natural expression of the natural right and duty of better men to rule the rest of us, the "divine right of kings," a philosophy then enjoying wide currency among the aristocracy of England and France (and bitterly opposed by the minor nobility of the Netherlands, Ireland, and Scotland. You might say that Locke was part of a large movement, rooted in Protestantism, that attempted to dispute the origin of government. The one side -- the Cavaliers, the Sun King -- asserted government arose from God's commandments, and shared with the Kingdom of Heaven a natural heirarchy, with God at the top, the angels beneath, the pope somewhere down the line, kings and emperors and bishops beneath him, aristocrats beneath that, and the people those luckless wretches at the bottom. Each layer (going down) was more incompetent to rule itself than that above, and its proper role was obedience and humility. The king ruled the people because that was best for the people, and out of duty to his own lord and master, e.g. the pope or just God himself. The Protestants, Puritans, and Enlightenment authors like Locke argued the contrary, that government was instituted from the ground up, that the people en masse originated it, and ruled themselves through representatives, such as kings or (better) parlaiments. To be sure, God still ruled all, but the people -- or rather each individual man -- were responsible to him directly. So, on the one side: God -> king -> individual people On the other: God -> The People -> king -> individual people The difficult part was always how to find out what The People think and want, given that you only have access to what individual people say and want. The solution offered was a parlaiment, a representative democracy kind of deal, checks and balances, yadda yadda. But it's important to understand Locke was never arguing for the expansion of government into areas individual could cope with themselves. He would never, for example, have argued that government should take care of individual needs for food,clothing, shelter, or health care. When he said government should protect the rights of individuals, he meant against predation by noblemen and things like that.

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