John Locke's Justification Of Political Authority

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Political authority refers to the power of the state or government to create laws that are expected to be abided by, and in turn be able to prosecute those who disobey them. These laws are moral obligations meant to ensure the good functioning of societies, and are presumably essential to minimise conflicts. In political philosophy, we are concerned with the legitimacy of political authority due to its apparent conflict with individual liberties and moral autonomy as brought up by Wolff. (quote Wolff- it is incompatible for a subject to comply with the commands of an authority merely because it is the command of the authority and for the subject to be acting morally autonomously) This essay seeks to explicate on Locke’s justification of political…show more content…
The freedom of thought involves our ability to make independent moral decisions. However, under the control of political authority, these rights are easily manipulated and can also be taken away at peril. The most basic of our rights is that of the right to life, but this can be easily taken away if one commits a crime serious enough in the face of the law. Under the veneer of political authority, laws seem to be somewhat arbitrary in their formation and execution, which brings into question the justification of such authority. The act of acting in accordance with moral obligations defined by the state for the very reason that they have been defined by the state is in conflict with our moral autonomy and protection of individual liberties, which was the supposed goal in the construction of political authority.An individual’s perception of morality and ability to make moral decisions are compromised by the fact that political authority has already perceived it for us, despite supposedly being equal and free persons. Hence, we rely on the justification of political authority for reason to be subordinate to its ideas of morality, but are faced with troubling
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