The state of nature

Why does Locke say a legislature should be only part-time?

Your reflection paper must be a minimum total of four pages long, double spaced, with one inch margins and 10 or 12 point font. These will be the exact same instructions for all reflection papers and exams and I do deduct points for not following these instructions or for grammatical and/or spelling errors. Edit! I don’t mind if you number the paragraphs to match the questions for this assignment, but answer the questions in full sentences (no bullet points) and don’t repeat the questions in your paper. Also, if you are quoting from the essay by Locke, you must put it in quotation marks. No other citation is necessary for this paper and you don’t need a cover sheet.

Do not include extra spaces between the paragraphs-if you are using Microsoft Word go to “paragraph” on the home page, go to spacing set it up as follows:

Spacing: Double spaced

Special: First line (this indents .5)

Spacing: Before and after should both be zero

Questions for Chapter 2

  1. Why we need to understand the state of nature before we can understand political power? Why are all people equal in the state of nature?
  2. Look at the four reasons why we should not harm one another on page four. What is the main reason given why we cannot harm each other? What does Locke mean by saying that destroying others means we use them, like we use animals?
  3. Are we obligated to punish people who violate natural law? Why? Is this different than punishment by government?
  4. What does Locke mean by reparation in paragraph 11 and why do people have the right to reparations?
  5. In paragraph 12 Locke talks about deterrence of people from committing acts. Does deterrence work, in your opinion? Why or why not?

Questions for Chapter 7

  1. In Locke’s conception of marriage, are men and women equal? Why or why not? What does it mean that men only have superior power over things the husband and wife have in common, not those things that are hers alone? Is he talking about property here?
  2. Why can’t there be a political society unless everyone has given up their natural powers and passed them on to the community? What would a political society look like if this wasn’t done?
  3. Is it better to be in a political society or still in the state of nature? Why?
  4. Why can’t an absolute monarchy be a civil society? Why is a man still in a state of nature in an absolute monarchy?
  5. Why doesn’t being an absolute monarch purify, or make good a man?

Questions for Chapter 8

  1. Why do men join together into political societies? Have those reasons changed since Locke wrote this?
  2. Why does joining the political society mean a man must agree to abide by the majority decisions of that society? What happens if he does not? Could you have a political society where every decision requires the consent of all members? Think about the UN Security Council which requires unanimous decisions by its five permanent members-the US, the UK, France, China and Russia-for any decisions.
  3. Do you agree with Locke that we currently choose the toughest and bravest man to be our ruler? Why or why not?
  4. What time period was the Golden Age, and does Locke feel it was better or worse than the time he was living in?
  5. Are men born free? And does the commonwealth still preserve that freedom? Why or why not?

Questions for Chapter 9

  1. When Locke talks about property, what does he mean by property?
  2. How does the commonwealth protect that property beyond what a person can do themselves?
  3. Is the trade off of freedom for protection of property worth it to Locke? Do you agree? Why or why not?

Questions for Chapter 11

  1. Why is a legislature needed? Why isn’t a ruler enough?
  2. What limitations are there on the power of the legislature?
  3. Why are absolute arbitrary power and governing without settled laws not compatible with the purposes of society and government?
  4. Why can’t the commonwealth take away a man’s property? Do you agree that in modern times this is true?

Questions for Chapter 12

  1. Why does Locke say a legislature should be only part-time? Does that still make sense today? Is your legislature in your home state or country full-time or part-time?
  2. Is the only role of a legislature to make laws? What other things do modern legislatures do?
  3. Are the jobs of enforcement of laws within a state separate from enforcement of laws outside of the state? Should they be? Why did Locke think they should be separate?
  4. Should the executive and federative groups be separate? What would happen according to Locke?