John Locke's Three Types Of Power

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Locke states that there are three types of power (paternal, familial, and political) and expresses his fear of the types getting confused. Political, which is the right to make laws or protection and regulation of property, is the most important to Locke as it directly concerns the good of the public. In his process of defining political power, Locke refers to the state of nature (natural instincts of people) as a state of equality in which no person has more power than another. He notes, however, that there is a natural level of universal law that exists in this nature and that people do not have license to abuse others. Locke proposes that natural law only calls for the punishment to fit the crime. Lastly, John Locke states that all human…show more content…
Due to the total lack of reason that children possess, they are unable to survive in either natural or societal states. Until a person has grown and matured enough, his parents will hold power over him. The paternal power discussed is entirely different from political power. A human is free from paternal power when he can function independently, yet there is no such rule within the political power of a society. A civil society is a society of individuals joined under the rule of a leader who governs them and protects their property. A commonwealth combines the legislative and executive power the public gives it. This is vastly different from paternal power, in which power is commanded by parents with no expressed consent from…show more content…
When entering such a society, a person surrenders to the majority and commits to following its decisions. Natural life lacks an established law, judge, power to enforce a sentence. A just, rational civil society provides these for an individual, as long as he relinquishes his natural rights; some of these rights include: doing as one wishes (while still following the law of nature) and the power to punish infringements against natural law. The first is only given up in part, because societal law is stricter than natural law. However, this society rests upon the existence of the law, judge and executive power. The majority of a society are given the privilege of choosing the form of government that they desire to live under. And not only does it choose the government, but it is given the ability to change the government whenever it chooses. Legislative power, Locke states, is the most important factor in the government of a civil society, and is what technically determines what type of government is in place. Legislative power operates under rules: it must preserve society, it can never be challenged (except by the majority), all laws put forth by the power must be followed by society. Yet, the legislative power can only govern with laws that are equally applicable to all citizens, must work solely for the good people as a whole, and cannot raise taxes without the consent of the
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