Social Sontract Theory of John Locke

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This paper analyzes the social contract theory of John Locke and how his values are consistent with the criminal justice system and private security settings of today. It will further discuss whether or not Locke’s’ values and principles apply to both criminal justice and private security venues. I will also summarize the major differences of the social contract theories; identify the key principles associated with Locke’s social contract theory; identify how these principles are inculcated in the U.S. Bill of Rights; identify how these principles play out in the criminal justice system and security settings of today and finally describe freedom in relationship to personal rights and ethical standards and obligations.

“A social contract is a voluntary agreement in which mutual benefit occurs between and for individuals, groups, government or a community as a whole. According to Locke, the State of Nature, the natural condition of mankind, is a state of perfect and complete liberty to conduct one's life as one best sees fit, free from the interference of others (Kelly, Martin. (2012)).” This does not mean, however, that it is a state of license: one is not free to do anything at all one please, or even anything that one judges to be in one’s interest. The State of Nature, although a state wherein there is no civil authority or government to punish people for transgressions against laws, is not a state without morality. The State of Nature is pre-political, but it is not pre-moral. “Persons are assumed to be equal to one another in such a state, and therefore equally capable of discovering and being bound by the Law of Nature. Given the implications of the Law of Nature, there are limits as to how much property one can own: one is not allowed to take so more from nature than oneself can use, thereby leaving others without enough for themselves (Powell, Jim. (1996)).” Because nature is given to all of mankind by God for its common subsistence, one cannot...
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