UNC-Chapel Hill POLI 271 - Barrett271 (4 pages)

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Barrett271



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Barrett271

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Pages:
4
School:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Course:
Poli 271 - Modern Political Thought

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PID 730082507 1 360 words William Barrett Locke and Tacit Consent For Locke the idea of consent is absolutely essential foundation of a legitimate political society The Second Treatise of Government Ch 8 part 95 According to Locke The only way whereby any one divests himself of his natural liberty and puts on the bonds of civil society is by agreeing The Second Treatise of Government Ch 8 p g part 95 Yet this theory of the formation of society is problematic because not everyone in society necessarily gives verbal or explicit consent to the government they live under which would delegitimize essentially any large modern government Locke s solution to this massive loophole was to apply the idea of tacit consent The Second Treatise of Government Ch 8 p g part 98 However his theory of tacit consent is an ultimately unsatisfying mechanism for explaining the way individuals join society and their obligations towards it for a variety of reasons Locke explains his idea of tacit consent in the following passage If a man owns or enjoys some part of the land under a given government while that enjoyment lasts he gives his tacit consent to the laws of that government and is obliged to obey them The Second Treatise of Government Ch 8 p g part 119 Locke believes This holds whether the land is the owned property of himself and his heirs for ever or he only lodges on it for a week It holds indeed if he is only traveling freely on the highway and in effect it holds as long as he is merely in the territories of the government in question The Second Treatise of Government Ch 8 p g part 119 His explanation of tacit consent begs an important question however What if you are born or forced into a society where you don t agree with the laws of your nation Locke s simple answer to this question is that if you don t like the laws then go somewhere else The Second Treatise of Government Ch 8 p g part 121 In theory this idea is fine Everyone would simply move to PID 730082507 William Barrett wherever they didn t feel opposed to the laws of the government But when applied to the real world and real societies we see that this idea is highly impractical Take for instance the example a poor farmer who relies on his small farm that he has worked for years for all his sustenance and income If the government were to pass a law that he was fundamentally opposed to Locke would likely tell him simply to find a government that he agreed with or to just set up his own on an uninhabited island The Second Treatise of Government Ch 8 p g part 121 Yet there are often so many barriers preventing people like him from leaving that is hard to say that they have a choice to leave at all In order



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