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    "Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions."

    Lockeanism is political philosophy developed by John Locke, a 17th-century philosopher. It centers on the idea of natural rights, which are inherent to all individuals by virtue of their humanity. These rights include life, liberty, and property. According to Locke, these rights are not given by governments but are fundamental to human nature. Lockeanism also emphasizes the social contract theory, which suggests that individuals form societies and governments to protect their natural rights and ensure order. However, governments only have legitimacy if they obtain the consent of the governed. If a government fails to protect citizens' rights or becomes oppressive, individuals have the right to rebel and establish a new government. Furthermore, Lockeanism advocates for limited government power. Locke believed that governments should have restricted authority and be bound by laws and constitutions to prevent abuse of power. The primary role of government, according to Locke, is to safeguard the natural rights of its citizens.

    Beliefs[edit | edit source]

    Government[edit | edit source]

    Locke's political theory is based on the idea of a social contract, where people agree to live together peacefully. Unlike Thomas Hobbes, Locke thought humans are reasonable and tolerant, although they can still be selfish, especially when money comes into play. In a natural state, everyone was equal and had the right to protect their life, liberty, and possessions. The phrase "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" in the American Declaration of Independence is often linked to Locke's ideas about rights. Locke believed that people created societies to settle disputes peacefully, with help from governments. He also supported dividing government power and thought that in some cases, it's not only okay but necessary for people to rebel against their government.

    Economics[edit | edit source]

    John Locke's economic ideas, presented in a letter to a member of parliament in 1691, focus on supply and demand. He sees supply as the quantity of goods available and demand as the desire for those goods. According to Locke, the price of a commodity depends on the balance between buyers and sellers. He also discusses the quantity theory of money, which suggests that the value of money is determined by its supply. Locke believes that money's demand is primarily influenced by its quantity, regardless of whether that demand is high or low.

    Locke distinguishes two main functions of money: measuring value and claiming goods. He prefers gold and silver over paper money for international transactions because they are universally valued. He emphasizes the importance of a country maintaining a favorable balance of trade to avoid falling behind economically. Locke also talks about foreign exchanges and how movements in a country's money stock affect exchange rates.

    Regarding property, Locke believes it's a natural right derived from labor. He argues that individuals have the right to own property because they work for it, and this ownership is justified as long as there's enough left for others. He sees labor as the source of value and property, developing a theory where ownership comes from the effort put into creating or acquiring goods.

    Religion[edit | edit source]

    Locke wrote about religious tolerance after the European wars of religion. He gave three main reasons:

    • People, including governments, can't reliably decide which religion is true.
    • Even if they could, forcing everyone to follow one religion wouldn't work because you can't make someone truly believe something by force.
    • Forcing everyone to have the same religion would cause more trouble than letting people believe different things.

    Locke believed that humans were created, as stated in the Bible. He saw natural law, like other philosophers of his time, as being revealed in the Bible. From biblical texts like Genesis, the Ten Commandments, and Jesus' teachings, Locke drew key ideas for his political theory. These included the importance of protecting life, reputation, and property under God's guidance. Locke also looked to the Bible for his views on freedom. He saw equality among humans, including between men and women, as stemming from the idea that all were made in God's image. This led him to argue that since everyone is equally free, governments should only exist with the consent of the people they govern. He even compared the English monarchy to Adam's rule over Eve, which, according to the Bible, was appointed by God.

    Mind[edit | edit source]

    John Locke defines the self as the conscious thinking entity capable of feeling pleasure, pain, happiness, and misery. He believes that whether the self is made of spiritual or material substance doesn't matter much, but acknowledges that the body is part of what constitutes a person.

    In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke argues against the idea of humans being born inherently sinful or possessing innate knowledge. Instead, he proposes that the mind starts as a blank slate, shaped by experiences. According to Locke, all our ideas come from two sources: sensations (our senses) and reflections (our thoughts). Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education offers guidance on how to educate this blank slate mind. He stresses the importance of early impressions, believing that the associations formed in childhood lay the foundation of one's identity. He warns against allowing children to form negative associations, as they can have lasting effects. Locke also critiqued Descartes's dream argument, suggesting that physical pain experienced in dreams differs from that in waking life.

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