Sunday, September 27, 2009

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

In Common Sense by Thomas Paine, one of the major theme is how people lack the ability to use their common Sense.

In the beginning of time, the reason of society was for equality. Society was used as a means to live. People would come together and make a society so that they would work together to feed and protect themselves. This was the base of government, it was out of necessity. Out of that necessity they built themselves a government. At first, laws weren't needed because of trust. Societies were relatively small so laws weren't needed. They would pick a "stone house" where all of people of that society would meet. However as society grew, no longer would they fit in the "stone house" so now there was a need for Representatives. The job of a Representative was to represent the people, and the representative would be elected. As society grew, no longer did the people have faith in trust, so laws were a necessity. The American colonies, to avoid mistakes the English had made, would first elect a President, key word is elect. Then they would have a "Continental Conference" in which they would produce a "Continental Charter"

All men essentially come from the same place, the mother's womb, and with that in mind, all men are created equal. In a religious sense, this world is a test of man's will. The man's ability to choses from right and wrong, to make prudent choices, to have courage, and to be just. Man is only to have God, who is in control. Thomas Paine points out, that man makes a huge mistake, that to have a man act like God, a man from the mother's womb, to act like God-Almighty is sin. In any religion that is true, especially in the Islamic religion, where there is one God and Muhammad SWT is the last Prophet. It is a sin in any case to put a man in God's shoes. Thomas Paine uses this to prove his point that people need to use their common sense.

Society is produced by our wants, by what we find that makes us happy. On the other hand, Government is produced by as Paine says "our Wickedness." The role of society is to unite voice of the people were as government is to restrict our voice. Paine talks a great deal about how man is guilty of confusing government with society, how man has not the ability to practice common sense. A gift that even when man was in the state of nature had and they used it. They joined together because it was common sense, that if they didn't they would die or hungry or sickness. But as a colony they would thrive, because they were united, and there rights were protected.

Thomas even goes to help the English, that if they used there common sense, that they wouldn't be in the mess that they made. That if the English didn't extend their power, that there would be no issues. Yet with time man has lost the simply ability to practice their sense of judgment. If the English looked not in their wallets, they would have a more successful colony. A better relationship would exist, and fighting would be prominent.

Does Paine make an effective argument?

The effectiveness of Paine argument doesn't come from his 22 pages, rather it comes from he idea. The idea of common sense, that people in modern society have lost the ability to practice it. Man at nature is like an animal, but man has a gift and that gift is common sense. The ability to make judgments on the spot that would be beneficial rather then detrimental. It is not rational when one has the ability to do something, and yet they are reluctant to do it. If man were to "wake up and smell the coffee" no longer would problems like this exist. Our class discussion was appropriate to this topic. In the respect, that the reader has to dissect line by line to fully understand to meaning of his writing.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Was the works of John Locke's read prior to the making of The Declaration of Independence?

In July 4, 1776, The Untied States of American declared their independence. No longer were the Americans willing to take the burden of the English. No longer were they willing to accept a society without laws, and securities. A society that was run like labs rats, and the King of England was the evil-scientist that tortured his rats. The Declaration of Independence was a document that was written to demand for independence from England. This independence would run parallel to what John Locke had said in Second Treatise of Civil Government, that man joins a society for "preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates," and when these demands aren't fulfilled, a rational man would fix it or would simply leave. In Second Treatise of Civil Government, man joins a commonwealth or government because the idea of total freedom brings about fear, this is because with total freedom their is no true sense of security. In that respect, an example would be what the King of England did, "He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people." The King of England methods would seem to only benefit himself, but yet in society government is made by the people for the people, to benefit the people. When the government doesn't benefit the people, the people have the right to abolish the government. Locke made it a point in his writing that all people are created equal and that it was the commonwealth or government's job to protect its citizens, provide liberties and to protect the property , and this was later seen in the Deceleration of Independence "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This shows how influential John Locke writings were, that it was latter seen in the Deceleration of Independence.

For a commonwealth or government to be successful, it needs 3 essential things. One is that the government needs standards, standards would be its laws. The laws have to be objective, simple. The next essential aspect would be the judge. The commonwealth has set the standard, now an interpreter is needed for the application of this said standard. A indifferent judge is needed, one that isn't fueled by revenge, or passion, but is guided by the law book. With the interpreter, society needs a way to enforce these laws. This is the basic framework for John Locke, this framework was used to accuse to King of England for his various crimes. For instance, the Judges couldn't be indifferent or objective because there decisions would be based on the will of the king. He had forbidden his Governors to pass laws, which is essential because that is what defines what is right and wrong in a society. He had denied laws that were needed for public good. The King of England took the right away to punish, for it was in his interest to protect his soldiers and not his citizens. For all the wrong that was committed by the King of England, he neither protected his people nor had he ensured their happiness. The King of England had set up a society with no basic foundation, with no respect for his people but for his wallet. If none of the essential things are available in the current government, it is the job of the inhabitants to abolish and to make a better government.

For the Declaration of Independence to be written in the fashion that it was, it was influenced by the the framework that John Locke had made. John Locke had made a system that was a basic foundation for the American government to base off of. The Declaration was written in a way that it had compared the King of England's government to the true from of government, that of John Locke.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Critique on John Locke: Second Treatise of Civil Government

In the Second Treatise of Civil Government, John Locke asks a very important question to the reader "if man in the state of nature be so free, as has been said; if he be absolute lord of his own person and possessions, equal to the greatest, and subject to no body, why will he part with his freedom?" His question is meant address motives of man, why would a man give up his freedoms for a the idea of a commonwealth, when currently his right to do as he pleases? The answer is as simple as security, with total freedom man has the ability to do as he please. The conflict begins with the idea of total freedom, because one man's idea of freedom would differ from another man's idea of freedom, this is the simple root of conflict. The idea of security makes him question the value of total freedom. When man has total freedom, there is that constant fear that freedom would be taken away. A man joins a society for "preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates," a rational man would pick a life of security which liberties such as, and property would be protected over a life of insecurity. A classic story would be of King John and the Magna Carta, King John had a different perspective of what freedom was, where as, King John's Barons did too. King John had been banned from the church, and because he was banned he used it as a motive to get rid of the church. In that action the reader can see that the King's actions are only benefitting himself, which goes away from the idea of unity that Locke writes about, one that all men are created equal and have equal rights. One of the major problems of having total freedom is the security aspect, in this case, King John was given an ultimatum, that he signs the Magna Carta or he is killed. If King John didn't sign he would have been killed, which reaffirms the fact with total freedom, the risk of danger increases tenfold. By King John practicing his total freedom, doing as he pleases, he was threaten to be killed. (1)

The major goal in a commonwealth is the "preservation of property." Locke speaks generously about how it is the the commonwealth job to protect the property. The government has the ability to control a solider, to give the commands, and essentially has the right to send soldiers to fight the wars that they started, but government doesn't have the right to the property of the solider. Locke definition of property is not limited to the estate, but to their mutual preservations of lives and simple liberties.

For a commonwealth to be good, it needs 3 essential things. One is that the commonwealth needs standards, standards would be its laws. The laws would have to apply to the common consent and set the bar to what is right and wrong. The laws have to be objective, simple, and unbiassed for all members of the commonwealth. The next essential aspect would be the judge. The commonwealth has set the standard, now an interpreter is needed for the application of this said standard. A indifferent judge is needed, one that isn't fueled by revenge, or passion, but is guided by the law book. The commonwealth has the laws, has the indifferent judge, now that is left a way to back up the laws. Locke's position on punishment is spot on as he states that when a law a broken that the worst possible punishment should be used first to make the wrong doer repent and to scare others. The commonwealth should have the ability to punish when a law has been broken.

Locke spends some time towards the end of Second Treatise of Civil Government, about the role of the legislator. He states that the legislator has one of the most important jobs, in that they are the ones that preserve the society. That the legislative powers should never be challenged, and that it is essential to have a good legislator for a successful commonwealth.