Locke's Second Treatise of Government, summarized
When people exist on their own, they have basic rights that are God-given and they are free. Since the basic rights are
God-given, they cannot be taken away by anyone else. However, people may decide to give up their rights or people may lose
their rights for wrong actions.
Although people are free, they cannot do only as they please. They have law that all should obey. Problems arise when
they do not all follow the law and when they do not agree on what is right in following the law. Disagreements follow,. and
life is not all happiness.
Locke believes that if people will agree on three basic concepts, life will be good.
First, people need to agree on a clear set of laws that all follow.
Second, they need a fair judge to interpret the law, and
third, they need police to enforce the law when people do not follow the law.
These three ideas require all of the people to agree to give up their rights to do just as they please and to follow the
law and the judge, and if necessary, to help make non-followers conform. This conformity will grant all the people freedom
and result in happiness.
The people may choose their government, either a monarch or representative government. However, the people have to remember
that the law, and the judge, and the police can only work if the people agree to be governed. The point of the law, the judge,
the police is to keep the people safe and to work for the common good. If there is a problem with law, judge, or police,
we must hold them accountable.
If the law, the judge, or the police do not work for the public good but for their own or decide the law does not apply
to them, then the people may remove them from office and or change the law.
However, the public good is not served by chaos in the law, so changing the law, removing a judge or a police officer
is only done in severe circumstances, not for minor infringements. Only after those in power, whom we put in power, clearly
show they believe they are above the law or abuse the law do we remove them.
Some believe anarchy would result if the people had the power to remove the judges, the police, and those who corrupted
the law. However, Locke does not believe the result would be seeking to fire those in charge on a whim. Locke believes that
if all of the people know they have the power to remove abusers, then those in power (those the people put in power to make
law, to enforce law, to interpret law) know that they can be removed, then they will not do something that would result in
their removal from office. The end result of this knowledge that removal is a possibility would be that the ones the people
put in power would work for the people, to keep all people safe, sound, and, as a result, happy.