Thomas Hobbes Justify Government Surveillance

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Government surveillance has become prevalent during the age of the Internet. While the government can also monitor phone calls, the internet has made it easier for agencies to monitor people because of its widespread use and ease of access. The Patriot Act granted federal agencies the power to monitor telephone and internet traffic in order to prevent a terrorist attack. Through the social contract theory, one can justify government surveillance by claiming that the government is monitoring information in order to ensure the safety of its citizens. Thomas Hobbes claimed that in the state of nature, human beings are in constant conflict because they must compete for scarce resources in order to survive (Rachels, 142). According to Hobbes, in order to have a peaceful and cooperative society humans have to enter into an agreement.…show more content…
Hobbes argument can be used to justify government surveillance because the government is monitoring information in order to uncover terrorist plots. In doing so, the government is doing its job by preventing an attack and ensuring the safety of its citizens. James Rachels states that the first tenant of social contract theory is “that people will not harm one anther-people must be able to work together without fear of attack” (Rachels, 143). This means that social contract theorist would argue in favor of the Patriot Act because it ensures the safety of its citizens by targeting individuals who want to harm

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