Early liberals

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Early liberals

  1. 1. Early Liberals Thomas Hobbes • People can be rational and have ‘NATURAL RIGHTS’ • But people are competitive and self-interested • State of nature: A war of everyone against everyone • Man should therefore exchange his natural rights for protection, peace and stability from a ‘mortal god’. John Locke • People have natural rights – life, libertu, property ownership, pursuit of happiness. • People are social and can work together and man should take into account interests of others TOLERANCE. • Government has to be established by consent – SOCIAL CONTRACT • If government abuses NATURAL RIGHTS the people have the right to cancel the contract and dissolve government. Why Hobbes?
  2. 2. Utilitarianism • Closely linked to the thinker JEREMY BENTHAM. • Saw notion of NATURAL RIGHTS as ‘nonsense on stilts’ • All humans are dominated by drives that lead them to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. • Believed it was possible to calculate how much ‘utility’ (satisfaction/happiness) each individual could derive from consuming certain goods. • So governments could add to sum of utility by taking certain actions which most people preferred. • Can you identify three major problems with this view?
  3. 3. 1.Simplistic view of what motivates individuals. A new car vs an education.. 2.Opens door to excessive government intervention. 3.Could lead to the ‘tyranny of the majority’ ENTER, John Stuart Mill!

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