Essay 3 PLS 170 - 1 PLS 170 4/27/09 The common good and...

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1 PLS 170 4/27/09 The common good and social unity is best achieved through Thomas Hobbes concept of the sovereign power in the commonwealth. John Locke’s “The Second Treatise of Government” makes the argument that government based on the sovereignty of the people is the best form of government. Both of theses philosophers are influential as cornerstones to the federalist papers. John Locke believed that the legislative body or “power,” is the most important branch of the government. The first rule of legislative power is the preservation of the society. The power of the legislative body cannot be challenged if enacted into the constitution and no other body can pass laws; the people vest all such power in this body. Every citizen of the nation must follow the laws created by the legislative body. The limits to the power of the legislature include the following: Legislation must govern by fixed “promulgated established laws” that apply equally to everyone. These laws must be designed solely for the good of the people; the legislature must not raise taxes on the property of the people without the people’s consent. Here, Locke brings up what will be a constant concern: long-term office holders. This rule becomes particularly important when the legislature’s members hold their positions for long periods of time, or even life. With longer terms of office, power can be concentrated in a relatively smaller group of individuals. With a concentration of power, this can open the door to abuse of power.
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1 Although the laws of nature require that humans seek peace, and maintain that the establishment of contracts is the best means of doing so, the natural human hunger for power always threatens the safety of the contract. Thomas Hobbes concludes that there must be some ” common power, some sovereign authority” or force endowed with the individual power and will of all, and authorized to punish anyone who breaks the promise. As Hobbes has stated, the sovereign operates through fear or the threat of punishment which reinforces the mandates of the laws of nature, thus ensuring the continued operation of the social contract. The sovereign is the ruling force behind the contract; in the analogy between the
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Essay 3 PLS 170 - 1 PLS 170 4/27/09 The common good and...

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