Social Justice & Individualism

Topics: Political philosophy, John Stuart Mill, Liberalism Pages: 5 (1887 words) Published: March 8, 2012
There are many differing views on the nature of justice. Some philosophers like John Locke and Frederich Nietzsche advocate the importance of individualism. However, John Stuart Mill strongly urges the vitality of concern for thy neighbor and the use of debate. Within each individual’s ideology I can see the positives. However, when it comes to the nature of justice I think the strong sense of personal goals in individualism and the allocation of debate in Mill’s ideals is what will bring the best for society. John Locke had a strong view of individualism when it came to the nature of social justice. Locke believes political power is the natural power of each individual collectively given up into the hands of one designated body. The purpose of this power is to protect the public good. Locke believes all men by nature are created free and equal and have the basic rights to life, liberty, and most importantly property. In his eyes, government is set up solely to avoid the paranoia that would arise in a state of nature. This would be a situation where government did not exist and everyone had to preserve their own lives and property. Although Locke believed no one can harm you in your life or possessions, he thought government should be used as a mechanism created to increase the ease at which we run our own private individual affairs. Through the formation of a political power a social contract is set up where people in a state of nature conditionally transfer some of their rights to government solely to protect and promote the public good. Locke believed government is only a factor that guides moral order it does not run or impose ideals upon others. Locke believed it would be wrong for a political power to try and inflict ideas upon the masses. This is because according to Locke we are born as a blank slate and everything we understand comes through personal experience. These experiences are translated by reason and no outside force can make us understand anything we have not experienced for ourselves. All the knowledge we possess comes exclusively through experience. He argues that humans fill with ideas as they experience the world through the five senses. Because ideas are limited by experience, and we cannot possibly experience everything that exists in the world, Locke believes our knowledge is further compromised. However, he asserts that though our knowledge is limited in these ways, we can still be certain of some things. For example, we have an intuitive and immediate knowledge of our own existence, even if we are ignorant of the metaphysical essence of our souls. Locke believes in the acceptance of all religions as long as they do not endanger the public. I see the positives in Locke’s perceptions of individual morality. I am partial to his ideas of using government more as a guiding force than a ruling one. I think government should be used more to only steer the public towards a greater good rather than trying to create positions on various ideas. This meaning that I believe that it is more beneficial to avoid situations where sides are taken. Nowadays, there is constant debate and through this controversy I think persons in power overlook what may be good for society as a whole and concentrate on imposing their ideals upon others to “win” or gain personal satisfaction. I agree with Locke and think people should be able to decide things for themselves based on experiences they have rather than constant chatter of political persons arguing on television. I also have a high regard towards Locke’s general acceptance of all religions. I agree and think that as a society we should focus on what drives us and ignore those who disapprove of individual differences. Like Locke, as long as it is not causing harm to others I see nothing wrong with individualism. In fact, I think we can all learn from each other and we can only grow from experiencing all different events. Nietzsche is another philosopher who believes...
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