John Locke believes that people do need the government and authority because they need to be a part of the community. According to John Locke, a community should be governed effectively. Otherwise, the community is doomed to conflicts and permanent crises, which arise from interpersonal conflicts between individuals, who have natural rights and are not willing to get off their state of nature. Being in the state of nature, people cannot live in the society because they deny the government, which limits their liberty in state of nature. Therefore, the state of nature cannot prevail in the life of individuals because it provokes permanent conflicts and violation of natural rights of individuals. Instead, they need the set of laws and regulations and the government that regulates the life of the society and each individual within the society, even though the government and existing regulations limit the liberty of the state of nature.
As a result, John Locke concludes that people should move out of the state of nature because the state of nature makes the social life full of conflicts that make social relationships unbearable for individuals:
Though in the state of nature he has an unrestricted right to his possessions, he is far from assured that he will be able to get the use of them, because they are constantly exposed to invasion by others (Locke, 2000, p. 40).
In fact, this means that people have their natural rights but they cannot live in the state of nature because each individual attempts to exercise his or her natural rights. However, attempts of individuals to exercise their natural rights in terms of the state of nature leads to the conflict of interests and rights of individuals. Naturally, each individual attempts to gain a better position in the society. This is the natural strife of an individual to better conditions of living and a better position in the society. In such a struggle, an individual’s natural rights are under a threat from the part of other individuals because each individual attempts to expand his or her right to gain a better position in the society. Hence, conflicts between people arise and their natural rights are violated. As a result, the conclusion made by John Locke seems to be quite logical and rational because individuals move out of the state of nature toward a sort of social contract, which regulates their relationships and social life at large.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that John Locke developed the concept of the state of nature grounded on the natural rights and equality of people. At the same time, he justifies the limitation of the state of nature and moving out of the state of nature by the necessity to establish social relationships and to prevent conflicts between individuals caused by their natural desire to expand their natural rights. Hence, the society needs the government and regulations which limit their natural rights to prevent the violation of these rights by individuals excessively. Instead, the government and regulations lead to just and fair social relationships.
Epperson, J. (2001). Causes of the Civil War. New York: Routledge.
Locke, J. (2000). Two Treatise of Government. New York: Penguin Classics.
Murray, I.H. (1994). The Second Awakening. New York: Touchstone.
Norton. A. (1999). People and a Nation. New York: Touchstone.