John Locke
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Mr. Locke
Education: University of Oxford
Era: 17th-century philosophy

(Modern philosophy)

Region Western Philosophy
Born August 29 1632
Died October 28 1704 (aged 72)

John Locke, alongside with Thomas Hobbes, is considered to be one of the Founding Fathers of Classical Liberalism. Locke accepted that human beings can be selfish but he also believed that people were reasonable and tolerant. Locke believed that in a natural state human beings have a natural right to defend their “life, health, liberty, or possessions”. This is partially echoed in the United States constitution which gives men, (hopefully also women) the inalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Locke advocated the Separation of powers which is an important factor in democratic systems.

Locke noted that once money was established unlimited accumulation of wealth became possible because money doesn’t spoil or perish. Locke recognised the problems that unequal distribution of wealth cause but did not work hard on finding a solution. He just says vaguely that governments should do something.

Important achievements

  • Wrote up on empiricism and epistemology
  • Wrote on liberalism, religion and government
  • Introduced the term "tabula rasa"

Libertarians Liberals and Social democrats

Libertarianism modern Liberals and Social Democracy deal with inequality of wealth differently. Libertarians tend to see any government redistribution as something they call force or fraud and assume that poor people have to put up with rich people having more . Libertarians have odd definitions:

  1. If rich employers force poor people to work for low wages that's not force
  2. If we do something about it through taxes that is force.

Market forces sometimes leave part of the population with not enough for a decent life. Social democrats and modern liberals want to see some redistribution of wealth rather than unlimited selfish accumulation.