Cont Pol Thought - Classical liberals believe the...

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Classical liberals believe the government should get out of the way and are more in line with modern libertarian beliefs. They put emphasis on liberty above everything else and want that liberty to be applied secondly to government. Modern liberals believe very different from this. John Locke and Adam Smith are classical liberals. Also John Stuart Mill (focuses on freedom of press and civil liberties) Hobbs – Social Contract Theory, author of Leviathon . Hobbs says that in the beginning we all live in a state of nature, everybody out for #1, we’re basically beasts; “Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” In Hobbs’ Social Contract, these beasts come together to surrender liberties in order to gain more security, forming a social contract with the government. John Locke – Claimed while he was alive that he was not a Hobbs-ist and he had never read him (Hobbs had a bad reputation at the time); After he died, people found copies of Hobbs in his library that were very marked up. John Locke’s understanding of the Social Contract - The Law of Nature is the law of self-preservation. As things decline in this state, there is no morality in this state. “Summum Bokum” is the greatest evil in this state. The state of nature is a state of perfect liberty. (You can do anything you want and it’s not immoral) Liberty in civil society is greater than the state of nature. (This is why you form a social contract) You are not limited by any physical force in the state of nature, but you are limited by fear. Ex. Hypothetical situation in which traffic laws are rescinded for a month. The Law of Nature is Reason; therefore the Law of Self-Preservation is the Law of Reason. Reason; Self-Preservation; Nature = All are equal in Locke. In Locke, we come together in agreement and decide to surrender liberty, most likely to a king, in order that we will have “preservation of life, liberty and property.” We do not surrender all power to the king arbitrarily, but these rights are inalienable (can’t be taken away) The king may even draft people to protect the kingdom if it protects the people back home, even if he gets killed. Ex. Soldier sent to charge machine gun (certain to be killed), while others live. Ex. Farmer, even though he has his right to property, may still have to pay taxes to support military or government.
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Ex. Locke also believed in the right to throw people in jail if they’ve broken the contract by breaking the law. These three examples all demonstrate realistic examples in which the inalienable rights of life, liberty and property, have been removed. John Stuart Mill Advocate of Free Speech – powerful, semi-persuasive arguments One of the strongest Arguers for Free Speech; Believed in Freedom of Content, not Time and Place p. 41 – Reasons p. 42 – middle paragraph; Mill does an excellent job of summarizing his opponent’s position.
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