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THE THEORY OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

THE THEORY OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS - THE THEORY OF INDIVIDUAL...

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THE THEORY OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS John Locke – 1690; not a founding father but our founding fathers got their ideas from him the Fundamental Social Principle – “All individuals have rights of life (self-preservation), liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness o this means that each person must respect, & not violate, these rights in his dealings with others o Another way to state the Fundamental Social Principle: each person is free to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own uncoerced, voluntary choice o This means 2 things: H All social interaction shall be by voluntary consent. H No one may initiate physical force. o John Locke wanted to answer a certain political question: people want to live together BUT people are a threat to each other. How can we get rid of the threat of people to one another and keep the benefit of living together? His solution was to recognize that we all have rights that we must respect. o For the right of life, this right was self-evident. He did not make an argument for it. o Similarly, liberty was also fairly self-evident. Part of the meaning of the right of life was the right to take the choices that would help preserve one’s life. H With the case of a slave, he has neither the right to live nor the right to liberty (to preserve one’s life). For Locke, you either have both or neither. o The right of a property – once again, Locke does not regard this as an additional right but a part of the right of life.
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