Poli Sci Paper 1

Poli Sci Paper 1 - Poli Sci 181 Take-home Essay TA: Matt...

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Poli Sci 181 Take-home Essay TA: Matt Mongiello Book Used: Classics of Modern Political Theory by Steven M. Cahn In the previous week, President Obama issued an executive order mandating that all citizens are to be subject to random “stop-and-scan” searches, in order to crack down on illegal immigration and terrorism. In response to his request for my professional opinion, I offered him my service to inform him how Rousseau, Hobbes and Locke would have viewed his decision. In order to understand their complex positions, it is vital to analyze their stances on this measure issue by issue before offering an encompassing opinion. One of Thomas Hobbes’s two Fundamental Laws of Nature is that people must “by all means we can, to defend ourselves”(Ch. 14, p.121) Even when a person is in the wrong, Hobbes makes it clear that he has not only the right, but the duty to defend and preserve himself. This significant because a perceived threat against individuals would release them from their covenant, and then send them back to the state of nature, where they are obligated to follow this law. This would create a major difficulty for the President, assuming that American citizens have read Hobbes, as every citizen would know that they have the obligation to resist searches. While it might not affect unarmed citizens, this doctrine means that armed civilians and illegal immigrants have the duty to resist these searches. Seeing that resisting searches would result in forceful submission, this creates an environment rife with danger for both police and civilians. Anyone with something to hide, assuming they fulfill their natural duty, will resist arrest and flee. Surely the president does not intend to cause firefights every time an illegal alien is caught, and Hobbes’s beliefs on self-defense would cause a great deal of unrest. John Locke shares Hobbes’s belief on self-preservation in the state of nature and specifically says that man is “…bound to preserve himself, and not quit his station willfully…” (Ch.2, pg. 219) However, he differs from Hobbes in that he believes that in joining government, you give up your power of self-preservation. Some could argue President Bush’s unjust use of force thrusts people into a state of war against the government, in which case people would be allowed to defend themselves, however this interpretation is fairly far-fetched, as Locke uses the example of unjust force specifically when discussing foreign conquest. That being said, although opting out of Bush’s government by claiming self-preservation may not work, Locke’s philosophy is much more friendly than Hobbes’s to rebellion. Indeed, he says that if an unjust or unlawful law is used, people are allowed to resist, which creates a whole another set of problems for the “Decider”. Interestingly, Rousseau may be the best theorist for the president on the issue of self-
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2012 for the course MGT 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Texas State.

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Poli Sci Paper 1 - Poli Sci 181 Take-home Essay TA: Matt...

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