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Political Philosophy

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Political Philosophy

Every country in the world has a government that sets laws to keep order and peace. Not every government can be just in its ruling, but what defines a just ruling? And does anyone truly have the right to control others? Throughout time different types of governments have been established. As history progressed most governments were overthrown because of the laws that were imposed. Emperors and Kings changed to Presidents and Prime Ministers. This was caused by revolutions because the people did not like the way they were being ruled. But should people be ruled in the first place? Who should have the right to do such a thing? Today, the most powerful countries are run by democracy. But what is its purpose? It is supposed to carry out the will of the majority. So this means that someone will always be unhappy. Political philosophy deals with these sort of issues. Great minds such as Plato, Aristotle, Voltaire and Locke have looked at these issues and have tried to find the best possible answers.

In days of old, kings created laws in order to keep peace. Most of the laws were set for selfish reasons. As history progressed people felt that they were being ruled unfairly. So should laws even exist if there will always be someone who is receiving the "short end of the stick"? Is it not the purpose, of laws and rights, to help people live in a safe environment? This is the main purpose of laws; to keep order. The governments that we have today have so many laws because they keep trying to solve problems by creating more and more laws. There are even laws for creating laws. However, although they are supposed to be in the best interest of the people, laws limit their free will. Laws tell a person what they can or cannot do. Unfortunately, they are still essential because they keep most citizens safe. So therefore, set laws, although essential, limit the free will of people no matter how sophisticated or organized they are. To support this, the theories and opinions of John Locke, Hobbes, Voltaire, and Plato will be presented. The first three of these philosophers lived at approximately the same time period and all support the essentiality of laws, although they limit free will. Plato lived much earlier but still has his own views on government and how it should be run. This paper will use their theories on the state and citizen to support the thesis.

One of the first influential philosophers to create an impact, Voltaire was known for his views on independence and freedom. Francois- Marie de Voltaire was born in Paris to a wealthy family in 1694. He lived during the time of the enlightenment, which was a period of new thinking using critical reason to free minds from prejudice and unexamined authority. Later on in his life, Voltaire was a prisoner in the Bastille and then exiled to England because of a duel with Chevalier de Rohan, an Aristocrat who found Voltaire's name insulting. Throughout his life he has written both plays and books such as Zaire, Treatise on Tolerance and Dictionnaire Philosophique (Gray, 13).

Voltaire believes that Law is a rational guide in an irrational world. This means that the purpose of laws is to give the citizens a certain duty that must be fulfilled in order for society to function properly. If this is to successfully work through laws then everything else should run by laws including the Crown and Church that have very important duties. The entire state should be run on duties that everyone must fairly fulfill. Therefore the state exists for the citizen (Gray, 45). The duties are created to make things safer for the citizens. It is the obligation of the state to create these proper laws and give them to the people for their own good. The state is to provide for the citizen and not the other way around. This is why Voltaire says, " The character of liberty lies in independence, maintained by force." (Gray, 47) The state must provide liberty and security for the citizen in exchange for loyalty and support. This is supported by the "natural law", that humans must help each other (Gray, 48).

The freedom that can be created by laws is a freedom that is guaranteed because those who go against the law are punished. The key for a state to function properly is cooperation. The state and people must work together and this is how democracy functions. Therefore, Voltaire's ideas, when connected with the thesis, imply that Laws only limit people's free will if the citizens do not support the state or vice versa. The laws in Voltaire's system would limit people's free will only in areas where harm and chaos exist. In any other aspects the citizens will have complete free will to do as they wish.

John Locke is another important philosophic figure that was born in Bristol, England on August 29, 1632. He studied medicine at Oxford instead of law, which was intended by his father. His ideas

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