Hobbes and Locke were the English philosophers who attempted to explain the foundations and role of government in human society, contributing to social contract theory development. They opposed each other in their political and philosophical beliefs. Locke was committed to the ideas of liberalism, while Hobbes is considered a conservative theorist. This paper aims to discuss Hobbes’s and Locke’s opposing views of human nature and social order.
Who Supports Individual Determination
Locke’s political theory is individualistic as it is based on the theory of individuals’ natural rights. In this regard, Locke’s beliefs contributed to the development of modern Western philosophy and political liberalism (“John Locke Biography”). The concepts of natural law and rights play a significant role in the Lokean approach to individual determination. The philosopher believed that the preservation of humankind is the primary natural law, which determines the equality of all individuals in their natural rights. In other words, every person’s actions should be based on the law of reason, and every individual should be determined to preserve their natural rights as long as they do not threaten others’ liberties. Hence, respect for the rights of others constitutes the blueprint of the Lokean view of individualism and social order. In turn, the formation of governments is viewed as the result of a society’s agreement; however, people can overthrow the government if their natural rights are being violated. Locke’s ideas contributed to the establishment of America’s First Principle by the Founding Fathers.
Who Supports the Idea to Obey Government Strongly
Hobbes’s political philosophy and views on social order considerably differ from Locke’s principles. The striking difference lies in the approach to human nature. Hobbes believed that “the state of nature” was a cruel and brutal place without authority to regulate people’s actions (“Political Theory” 00:04:12-00:04:18). The natural state for every individual in the state of war is aimed at survival and the protection of personal interests. Hence, Hobbes argued that a social contract reflects the agreement between society and the government. The philosopher viewed absolutism as the only right model to maintain the social order and protect people from the chaotic natural state. Therefore, according to Hobbes, people should firmly obey the government that places limitations on their actions. In this regard, Hobbes claimed that security, which is ensured by the government, is more important than liberty.
Hobbes’s and Locke’s Ideas and Democracy
Democracy refers to a political system based on the collective decision-making process with the equal influence of participants on the outcome. In other words, democracy ensures the principles of equality, opportunity, and recognition of dignity for every individual when significant decisions are made by many. In this regard, Hobbes’s ideas do not recognize democracy as an efficient means of maintaining social order; instead, Hobbes believed in an absolute monarchy. On the contrary, Locke’s ideas supported democratic principles as they emphasized life, liberty, and property as fundamental human rights. However, the concept is complex, and the state of real democracy is somewhat utopian. People know they live in a true democracy when efficient power-sharing is divided among all the citizens, and equality is guaranteed.
To sum up, Hobbes’s and Locke’s ideas of human nature and social order oppose each other. Hobbes believed in the need for individuals to give up on some liberties in exchange for security ensured by the government. In turn, Locke supported democracy, and his beliefs influenced the foundation of the American political ideology by the Founding Fathers. However, both politicians contributed to the global discourse on social order.
“John Locke Biography.” Biography, 2020, Web.
“Political Theory – Thomas Hobbes.” YouTube, 2015, Web.