John Locke, Concerning Civil Government, 1693, second essay, Ch
There is little doubt that Hobbes would comfortably fit with a doctrine of , that the only laws are statutes and case law, while Locke is firmly in the tradition of Natural Law and Natural Rights, although differing in essential ways from the conservative Catholic .
John Locke′s Second Treatise on Government - Jim
[, §19]Among the disabilities of the State of Nature, Locke sees, not only defects in the ability to protect person and property, but an essential flaw in the application of justice.
A final question concerns the status of those property rights acquiredin the state of nature after civil society has come into being. Itseems clear that at the very least Locke allows taxation to take placeby the consent of the majority rather than requiring unanimous consent(2.140). Nozick takes Locke to be a libertarian, with the governmenthaving no right to take property to use for the common good withoutthe consent of the property owner. On his interpretation, the majoritymay only tax at the rate needed to allow the government tosuccessfully protect property rights. At the other extreme, Tullythinks that, by the time government is formed, land is already scarceand so the initial holdings of the state of nature are no longer validand thus are no constraint on governmental action. Waldron's view isin between these, acknowledging that property rights are among therights from the state of nature that continue to constrain thegovernment, but seeing the legislature as having the power tointerpret what natural law requires in this matter in a fairlysubstantial way.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding - Wikipedia
However this debate is resolved, there will be in any current orpreviously existing society many people who have never given expressconsent, and thus some version of tacit consent seems needed toexplain how governments could still be legitimate. Simmons finds itdifficult to see how merely walking on a street or inheriting land canbe thought of as an example of a “deliberate, voluntaryalienating of rights” (69). It is one thing, he argues, for aperson to consent by actions rather than words; it is quite another toclaim a person has consented without being aware that they have doneso. To require a person to leave behind all of their property andemigrate in order to avoid giving tacit consent is to create asituation where continued residence is not a free and voluntarychoice. Simmons' approach is to agree with Locke that real consent isnecessary for political obligation but disagree about whether mostpeople in fact have given that kind of consent. Simmons claims thatLocke's arguments push toward “philosophical anarchism,”the position that most people do not have a moral obligation to obeythe government, even though Locke himself would not have made thisclaim.
John Locke: Political Philosophy
The begin with an essay in which, in Locke's words, "the false principles and foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, and his followers, are detected and overthrown." The polemic against Filmer, although now of merely historical interest, was an important matter in its day.
John Locke - mind as a tabula rasa - Age of the Sage
Hannah Pitkin takes a very different approach. She claims that thelogic of Locke's argument makes consent far less important in practicethan it might appear. Tacit consent is indeed a watering down of theconcept of consent, but Locke can do this because the basic content ofwhat governments are to be like is set by natural law and not byconsent. If consent were truly foundational in Locke's scheme, wewould discover the legitimate powers of any given government byfinding out what contract the original founders signed. Pitkin,however, thinks that for Locke the form and powers of government aredetermined by natural law. What really matters, therefore, is notprevious acts of consent but the quality of the present government,whether it corresponds to what natural law requires. Locke does notthink, for example, that walking the streets or inheriting property ina tyrannical regime means we have consented to that regime. It is thusthe quality of the government, not acts of actual consent, thatdetermine whether a government is legitimate. Simmons objects to thisinterpretation, saying that it fails to account for the many placeswhere Locke does indeed say a person acquires political obligationsonly by his own consent.