How does Hobbes's view of government differ from John Locke's?

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Ultimately, Thomas Hobbes is a defender of absolutism while John Locke is a critic of it (and a defender of the Parliamentarian side in the English Civil War) and their respective differences carry backwards all the way to their respective understanding of the State of Nature (a hypothetical thought experiment...

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Ultimately, Thomas Hobbes is a defender of absolutism while John Locke is a critic of it (and a defender of the Parliamentarian side in the English Civil War) and their respective differences carry backwards all the way to their respective understanding of the State of Nature (a hypothetical thought experiment by which philosophers try to imagine what humanity would have looked like before the rise of governments, in order to discern the original purpose of government).

Hobbes, as said before, had a very negative view of human nature. For Hobbes, without the order imposed by government, human beings will abuse one another, and all their worst impulses will run wild. Governments restrain those impulses, and from this perspective, no matter how oppressive or autocratic a government is, it remains legitimate in Hobbes' mind, and should be obeyed.

Locke's understanding of the original Social Contract is very different from Hobbes (though perhaps more nuanced than it is often given credit for). For Locke, human beings are primarily understood as rational beings, and the State of Nature itself is a state of absolute freedom. However, while this does on the surface seem like a positive, perhaps even idealistic view of human nature, it also carries with it extreme fragility, because without laws in place, there is nothing stopping human beings from abusing one another, and little recourse open to the victims. So for Locke, the original social contract is a kind of exchange. The people will surrender that absolute freedom represented in the State of Nature to attain security (government, laws, a working legal system, etc) in order to protect those rights which are most essential to human flourishing: Life, liberty, and property. Unlike Hobbes, then, for Locke, governments can only be called legitimate if it safeguards these rights.

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The difference between Hobbes' theory of government and that of Locke is rooted in their very different views of human nature. Hobbes believes that humanity in a state of nature lives in a state of perpetual conflict, famously describing such a life as "nasty, brutish, and short." Thus Hobbes sees government as a way of restraining our naturally selfish and unruly natures so that we can live and work together. Thus he advocates authoritarian government in which people give up personal liberty in exchange for order and safety. He argues that absolute centralized power is the only way to achieve this.

Locke, on the other hand, argues that a human is by nature a "tabula rasa" (blank slate) and that people are shaped by their environment and educational systems. Rather than government functioning to restrain the inherent evils of human nature, he sees the world as more benign, with government fostering cooperation and only restricting liberty where necessary for society to survive. He thus advocates a more tolerant and limited form of government.

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Basically, Hobbes believes that people give up much more of their liberty to the government than Locke does.  This is because Hobbes has a much more negative view of human nature than Locke does.

Both Hobbes and Locke believe that people in the state of nature need to band together and create a society.  Both believe that this society will protect people's lives from other people.  However, Hobbes believes that people must give up much more in order to be protected than Locke believes.

To Locke, people band together under a government that rules with their consent.  The government exists only to protect their life, liberty, and property.  The government's ability to regulate the people is severly limited in many cases.

To Hobbes, the government can do anything it wants.  The people give up their rights to an absolute ruler.  The ruler has to be absolute if society is to survive.

The major difference, then, is that Locke envisions a very limited government while Hobbes believes in the need for absolute monarchy.

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