Explain what laws provide for a civilization.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Different people might disagree as to which laws are necessary in order to “provide for a civilization” (to me, this means to make civilization possible). My view is informed by the ideas of Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke.  I would argue that true civilization cannot exist unless there are laws to protect people’s lives, liberty, and property.

In order for civilization to exist, people have to feel that they benefit from living together and being governed.  According to Locke and others, we need to have government in order to protect our basic rights.  These thinkers argue that we have the inherent rights to our lives, our liberty, and our property. However, we cannot really protect these things if we do not have government. If we do not have government, we have to protect our lives, liberty, and property with our own strength. We can only keep these things if we are strong enough to defeat those people who try to take them from us. When we create civilizations, we do so in order to protect these rights more effectively than we can do alone.

Following this logic, we need laws that will protect our lives, our liberty, and our property.  We need laws against murder.  We need laws against slavery and against arbitrary imprisonment.  We need laws against theft and against the government simply taking our property because they want it.  If we have laws like these, we can have true civilization.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial