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Political Theory Hobbes, Locke, Marx

Historical Background

Breakdown of Medieval Feudalism


Changes to Modern Economy Political Changes

Economic Changes

Increase in the use of money


Loans, Credit, Investments, Easier transactions

Power transferred from the noble class (those with land and arms) to those with money for example, the merchants Alliance of moneyed class with monarchs Small self-contained estates with restricted trade reorganized into large-scale nation states New political structure favorable to freer trade, commerce, investment, and profit making

Economic Changes
Decline of the guilds merchants bought raw materials and manufactured their own products New spirit of free enterprise and the determination to fend for oneself in a competitive marketplace

Economic Changes

Example: Jacques Coeur (1395-1456)


Wealthiest Frenchman of his time; son of a merchant Built ships and transported goods to all countries bordering the Mediterranean Sold every sort of merchandise Owned lead, copper, and silver mines, a silk factory, and a paper mill Operated a passenger service to the Holy Land Had 300 representatives in Europe and Asia Built a palace in France, was a patron of the arts, and a friend of popes and kings Lent Charles VII huge sums of money to maintain his army and drive the English out of France

Political Changes
Nationalism Sovereignty Naturalism

Political Changes

Nationalism
Aggressive kings separated themselves from feudal lords and the church and created nation states with a single centralized power (For instance, Louis XI in France, and Henry VII and Henry VIII in England) People began to see themselves as English people or French people
Printing in common languages, not just Latin One centralized military (under the king) that fights for the nation

Political Changes

Sovereignty
Denial of Aquinas claim that the secular state is subordinate to the church and Gods eternal law

Political Changes

Naturalism
Disregard the moral issues concerning the establishment of state power (e.g., that laws have to follow the laws of nature) and just focus on the facts of power and the practical means of attaining it (like Thrasymachus and the might-makes-right idea) Political naturalism found great expression in Italy because there were no medieval Italian kings to unify things or share power with. Political life remained in small-scale units, and wealthy ambitious individuals were freer to pursue what they wanted power.

Political Changes

Naturalism
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) (Florence)
Human nature: people are stupid and irrational and incapable of governing themselves People are moved by passions ambition, fear, envy, desire for novelty and security, and the love of wealth. Christianity makes some people feeble and easy prey: exaltation of meekness, humility, contempt for worldly objects, controlled by religious passions Government: a strong monarchy is needed to control the resulting conflicts among people The good ruler maintains power and pursues his own interests without getting caught and starting a rebellion use force (ruthlessly) and propaganda

Social Contract Theory


What is the origin and nature of society? How do governments get their authority?

Why should we obey governments? On what basis do governments have the right to rule?

What is the origin of justice?


Where does justice come from? Why should we obey the rules of justice?

Social Contract Theory


The most popular modern answer is that justice and government authority are products of social agreement. We are obliged to obey the rules of justice, and the government that enforces them, because we (in some sense) have agreed to do so. It is as if we made a contract with the state to live together according to certain rules that, according to our best calculations, are in everyones interest, including our own.

Social Contract Theory

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another. Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. (Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776)

Social Contract Theory

Main influences on social contract theory


Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) English philosopher (Leviathan) John Locke (1632-1704) English philosopher (Essays on Civil Government) Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) Swiss-born French philosopher (The Social Contract)

Recent influence
John Rawls, Harvard philosopher (A Theory of Justice, 1971)

Thomas Hobbes
(1) (2) (3) (4)

Human Nature The State of Nature The Laws of Nature The Social Contract

Hobbes View of Human Nature

(1) Human Nature


Egoists (act out of self-interest) Competitive (people invade to get ahead) Use violence for gain Seek to control and dominate Out for glory (people invade for reputation) Distrustful (people invade for safety) Quarrelsome

Hobbes State of Nature


In social contract theory, there is a conception of human interaction before society. It is usually called the state of nature. Contract theorists use the state of nature to

Explain the nature of society and its origin Explain the need for government Legitimize the authority of rulers Explain the origin of social justice

Its not a historical explanation about how societies have actually arisen.

Hobbes State of Nature

(2) The State of Nature


A war of all against all No developed culture, industry, arts, etc. Constant danger of death and continual fear No law, no right or wrong, nothing is just or unjust Force and fraud are the cardinal values No property (there is no mine or thine) Everyone has a right to all things needed to preserve ones life Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short

Hobbes Laws of Nature

(3) Laws of Nature


What is a law of nature? It is a general rule that, given through human reason, forbids one to do what is destructive of his life, or to take away or omit the means to preserve it.

Hobbes Laws of Nature


First Fundamental Law of Nature First Branch:

Whenever possible, every person ought to seek peace and follow it.

Hobbes Laws of Nature

Second Branch:
When a person cannot obtain peace, then he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war.

Hobbes Laws of Nature

Second Fundamental Law of Nature


A man be willing, when others are so too, to (A) Lay down ones right to all things (B) Be contented with so much liberty against other men as he would allow other men against himself.

Hobbes Laws of Nature

Third Fundamental Law of Nature (Justice)


JUSTICE: Men perform their covenants made. Keep your word and honor your contracts. Do not deceive for gain. Keep your agreement to give up your right to everything. Breaking a covenant is unjust

Hobbes Social Contract


Passions and Reason lead people out of the state of nature The passions that incline men to peace are:

fear of death desire for good living hope to obtain good living through industry

Reason gives articles of peace that may draw people into agreement.

Hobbes Social Contract

Hobbes shows how reason leads us to peace.


(1) In a state of nature, there is a condition of war. (2) So in a state of nature, there is no security for anyone of living as long as nature intended him or her to live. (3) But reason forbids every person to do that which is destructive of his or her life. (4) So reason directs us to seek peace whenever we can.

Hobbes Social Contract

So why doesnt everyone follow reason and leave the state of nature? Why dont people make covenants and leave the state of nature? (see page 208)

Hobbes Social Contract

In the state of nature, people cannot trust others to keep their covenants.
It may be advantageous for someone to break a covenant Others may not be rational Others may not be aware of the laws of nature

Hobbes Social Contract


There first must be some coercive power to compel people equally to perform their covenants, by the terror of some punishment greater than the benefits they expect by the breach of some covenant. People must first set up some civil power that can force people to keep their covenants.

Hobbes Social Contract

Hobbes says that there is only one way to set up such a civil power.
People must give all their power to one man, or one assembly of men. They must reduce their wills to one will. They must make a covenant as if every man should say to every man: I authorize and give up my right of governing myself to this man on this condition; that you give up your right to him, and authorize all his actions in like manner. (page 208)

Hobbes Social Contract

How does Hobbes define the Commonwealth? (top of p. 209)


One person, of whose acts a great multitude, by mutual covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all as he shall think expedient for their peace and common defense.

Hobbes Social Contract

Once this sovereign power is set up, then there is no longer a state of nature, but a Commonwealth, and people can be secure in the covenants that they make with others.

Hobbes View of the Sovereign


The sovereign can never do injury to any of his subjects. The sovereign has the power to do whatever is necessary to secure peace and common defense. No one can accuse the sovereign of injustice. The sovereign cannot be put to death or punished. He judges what opinions and doctrines can be expressed or published in books. He determines the rules that tell every man what goods he may enjoy and what actions he may do. He has the right of hearing and judging all controversies concerning law. He cannot be cast aside by a new covenant

Hobbes View of the Sovereign


Hobbes addresses the objection that the condition of the subjects is very miserable as they are at the mercy of the sovereign. What can force the sovereign to do what is right and good for its people?

Outside forces The fear of conquest by a foreigner The sovereign is made strong when its subjects are made strong

Living under a sovereign is better than being in a state of nature, or civil war.

Hobbes: The Purpose of Government

For Hobbes, people settle on government for what main purposes?


1. To preserve their lives and avoid violence 2. To develop industry and culture for an easier life 3. To live comfortably 4. To have security from invasion from foreigners

John Lockes Social Contract Theory


(1) (2) (3) (4)

Human nature State of Nature Laws of Nature (page 211) Social Contract

Lockes View of Human Nature

(1) Human Nature


1. People 2. People 3. People 4. People nature can cooperate with others are not necessarily egoists are competitive are able to be guided by laws of

Lockes View of the State of Nature


1. Perfect freedom, absolute liberty (but within the bounds of the laws of nature) 2. Equality: in power and jurisdiction (i.e., extent of application of power) 3. People have property (It is just not protected very well.) 4. There can be industry and culture 5. There is right and wrong (people just dont follow it very well) 6. There is civil justice, but people do not apply it very well. They have to take justice into their own hands. 7. For a long time, there was a state of plenty, so there werent many quarrels. But things changed.

Lockes Laws of Nature


(1) No liberty to destroy oneself (2) No authority to destroy another (no one ought to harm another in his life health, liberty, or possessions) The law of nature comes from reason

Lockes Laws of Nature

But why is there no authority to destroy another?


People are equal and independent, and Men are the workmanship of God his property

What are the exceptions to the law of nature?


You may kill to preserve your own life You may do harm to do justice to an offender.

Locke on Private Property


Locke on Property (p. 212)


Locke defends the idea of private property.

Problems for the idea of private property


Natural Reason: everyone has right to selfpreservation, so all have right to everything necessary for self-preservation. Revelation: Bible, word of God God has given Earth to mankind in common.

Locke and Private Property


How should everyone come to have private property in anything? 1. First, Locke rejects the explanation that God gave the world to Adam and his heirs in succession, excluding everyone else. So he rejects the idea that only one universal monarch should have property. Locke rejects the divine right of kings.

Locke and Private Property

Lockes explanation of how someone can have private property:


Everyone has a property in his own person The labor of a persons body and the work of his hands are his property So when someone works on something, he mixes his labor with it. Others now have no right to it. It becomes the workers property. It is removed from the common state of nature.

Locke and Private Property

Locke puts a limit on private property


The Law of nature says: A person can have private property only where there is enough and as good left in common for others. A person must not take what cannot be used. Do not waste.

Lockes Social Contract


What must people do for a civil society to emerge? People must give their consent to the following:

Give up natural liberty Accept the bonds of civil society Be subject to the political power of another

Lockes Social Contract

Who rules society and what is Lockes explanation of who rules?


The consent of the majority rules The community is one body and must have the power to act as one body The body should move where the greater force carries it By the law of nature: the will of the consent of the majority should have the power of the whole Everyone has an obligation to submit to the majority if one consents to be in a community.

Locke: Primary End of Government

Why would anyone part with the absolute liberty one has in the state of nature?
comfortable, peaceful living safety avoid an uncertain life escape invasion by others escape a life full of fears mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates (their property) The chief end of government is preservation of private property

Locke: Primary End of Government

Government establishes what the State of Nature lacks. What are these things?
An established and known law, a standard of right and wrong (In the state of nature people do not apply the law of nature correctly) A known and indifferent judge (Men cannot judge very well they are more concerned with their own cases and less concerned with others) A power for law enforcement and execution of punishments (justice) -- execution of punishments (people will have difficulty executing just punishments in the state of nature)

Locke: Primary End of Government

What are the limits on lawmakers?


equal protection under the law laws must be for the good of the people taxes only with consent lawmakers cant transfer (away from the people) the power to make laws People maintain the right to overthrow a corrupt government

Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

Communist Manifesto (main ideas)


Class struggle is the engine of history Capitalism is just one stage in historical development Capitalism will give way to communism Communism will end the exploitation of one class by another

Marx: Historical Materialism

Capitalism is just one stage of historical development: The history of state organizations has been a history of class struggle, of one class exploiting another. History shows that each ruling class will eventually lose its position to another, due to its own internal contradictions. Capitalism will be destroyed by its own internal contradictions.

Marx: Historical Materialism

Marx identifies 5 historical phases


Primative Community Slave State Feudal State Capitalist System Communist Society

Marx: Historical Materialism

The moving forces of history: Each stage has a Mode of Production


Means of production: The material means of production, the hardware, tools, machines, buildings, workers, etc.) Relations of Production: property relations under which a society produces, manufactures, and exchanges products.

Marx: Historical Materialism


Each mode sets up class relations and class struggle, where there are those who are exploited and those who exploit. Feudalism

Nobility Church Merchants Guild Artisans Serfs

Marx: Historical Materialism


Feudalism breaks down because the merchants (and guild artisans) grew in numbers and power. They were able to throw off the yoke of the nobles and the church. A new mode of production is born: Capitalism Two new classes are born: The Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat

Marx: Historical Materialism


A new class struggle is created


The Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat

The proletarians are the workers in the capitalist mode of production The bourgeoisie are the owners of the means of production This class struggle contains the seeds of capitalisms destruction

Marx: Historical Materialism

Just as the feudal means of production contained the foundation for the rise of the bourgeoisie, the capitalist mode of production contains the foundation for the rise of the modern working class, the proletarians. As the bourgeoisie develops, the workers develop and grow.

Marx: The Proletarians


The workers are just another commodity. They must sell themselves for work. Labor is paid subsistence wages or just enough to make workers (to keep them alive and reproduce). They are exposed to all the changes of the market. (If there is a surplus of workers, then they dont get much pay. The workers are put in competition with each other.) They become like machines. Because of the use of machines, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and consequently all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine.

Marx: The Proletarians


Masses of laborers are organized like soldiers and placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. They are slaves of the capitalists, of the bourgeoisie state, of the machine, and of the over-looker, and by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. Differences of age and sex no longer have any distinctive social value for the working class. Women and children are workers just like men. As soon as the worker gets paid, the worker must pay other portions of the bourgeoisie rent for the landlord, for example.

Marx: The Proletarians

Alienation of labor (See page 285)

Marx: The Proletarians

What happens to the lower strata of the middle class? They are pulled into the proletarian class. They cannot compete with the large capitalists and must turn to working for them. (What does Wal-Mart and other such big stores do to communities and small businesses?)

Marx: Workers Unions

How does Marx explain the rise of workers unions?


As capitalist industry develops, the numbers of workers also grows. The strength of the workers grows. The workers begin to have serious conflicts with the bourgeoisie over their pay and conditions. The workers then form unions to fight for good wages and conditions.

Marx: Unions

What is the ultimate significance of unions?


The ultimate significance of unions is that they undermine the bourgeoisie and lay the foundation for the proletarian class.

Marx: The Dictatorship of the Proletariat

When the workers gain enough power and organization, they must seize control of he means of production. The bourgeoisie will not willingly give it to them. This will be a temporary period of dictatorship when the proletarians gain control of the means of production.

Marx: Communism
A new communist mode of production arises and changes society where there is no more class struggle. A new way of thinking about things emerges. Marx says that the material conditions of life determine ideas. When the material conditions change, ideas or ways of thinking about things change. In the past, the ideas have always been those of the ruling class who control the material means of production.

Marx: Communism
Communism abolishes what? It abolishes private property in its present form; bourgeois private property. Bourgeois private property is (historically) the final expression of class antagonisms and the exploitation of the many by the few.

Marx: Communism
Is there still property under communism? Yes, but it is social property.

Property is a social power, because it is a product of many people. In its present form, property is a social power that is in the private control of the bourgeoisie. Communism removes the class character of property, but property remains social. Laborers still get wages. A communist society changes the life of the laborer. Labor is a means to widen, to enrich, and to promote the existence of the laborer. The laborer no longer simply lives to increase capital.

Marx: Communism
Does communism, by ending private property, end individuality and freedom, as the bourgeoisie claim? Yes, but just the individuality and freedom of the bourgeoisie! The individuality and freedom of the workers is expanded. Current private property is already done away with for 9/10ths of the population! Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation. This helps to increase individuality and freedom for the workers.

Marx: Communism
Under communism, and the abolition of property, will universal laziness take over? Marx: If that were true, then bourgeois society would have stopped long ago. Under bourgeoisie society, those who work acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything, do not work.

Marx: Communism
According to Marx, are the ideas, laws, culture, and the laws of nature that come from the bourgeoisie eternal truths? No -- laws, ideas, and culture are just the products of the particular economic conditions necessary for the existence of the bourgeoisie. (Was Locke speaking for the new bourgeois class?)

Marx: Communism
Marx talks about the abolition of the family and of education. What does he mean? He means the abolition of the bourgeois family and bourgeois education because he claims that the proletarians have no real families they are torn apart in the capitalist world, and children become mere instruments of labor.

Marx: Communism

Communism calls for new communities of women. Under current conditions, women are subjugated to bourgeois needs. They are workers, prostitutes, and mistresses. Marriage is just a system of wives in common! With the abolition of the bourgeois system of production, so will go those communities of women (public and private prostitutes) that serve the bourgeoisie.

Marx: Communism
What does Marx say about nations? The workers have no country. Communism abolishes the bourgeoisie nation state. The idea of the nation state is a product of the bourgeoisie. When the bourgeoisie have been removed on an international scale, then there will be no need for nations. The exploitation of one nation by another will end.

Marx: Policies in Manifesto


Heavy progressive and graduated income tax Centralization of credit in the hands of the state by means of a national bank Centralization of the means of communication and travel in the hands of the state. Extension of factories and means of production owned by the state Free education for all children in public schools Abolition of child labor in factories