The French Laws essay
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The French Laws were heavily influenced by the spiritual laws and many writers still support this idea. However, Locke (1821) has a different view “they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience” (p. 222). Leaders often misinterpreted biblical scriptures in order to adopt different laws that benefited French rulers and made people suffer. Lock did not fiercely dispute the power of God, but he might not agree with the fact that the rules of God were misinterpreted and wrongly implemented. Hobbes also rejects the idea that leaders should use God to establish rules that are cruel and mean. He says that people should agree with rules. As a result, Hobbes disputes possible covenant between a man and God. There should be mediators who are close to other people. That is why Hobbes claims that no man should suffer on the pretext of lawful covenant between a man and God. Hobbes (1989) argues “there can happen no breach of covenant on the part of the sovereign; and consequently none of his subjects, by any pretence of forfeiture, can be freed from his subjection” (p. 120).
Locke not only expresses his resentment at leaders’ negligence of duty, but also claims that this is one of the most successful ways of dissolving a government. He says that if one does not not obey laws the way he have to, then people cannot benefit from the laws and this situation might lead to troubles. Such leadership is a fundamental transformation of a good governance to anarchy, one of the most ineffective forms of governance. Following Locke’s argument, the French revolution was absolutely predictable and justifiable. Anarchy is also regarded as the state where a sovereign cannot breach a covenant. In this case, the law is applied unilaterally, that is from the receiver to the recipient.
About such states ruled by one person Locke notes (1821) “offices of the State to employ, and often persuading himself or being flattered by others, that, as supreme magistrate, he is incapable of control” (p. 218). He indicates that people out of ignorance allow such unstable and ruthless governments to take control of their lives. Then, out of desperation, due to lack of better alternatives they decide to overthrow the existing government and elect a new one. Hobbes (1829) indicates that “The examples of particular injustice or oppression of here and there an unfortunate man moves them not” (p. 230). This is the scenario that was known prior to the French revolution and, consequently, could have received full support of these two schools of thought.
The abovementioned propositions could be possibly realized, although in some situations they might not be applicable. The first flaw is that two proposed systems are overly general, assuming a perfect society with people who are either purely good or purely bad. Hobbes and Locke assume that there are leaders who unfairly govern oppressed people who suffer from the injustices caused by these leaders. It would be wise and logical to analyze a real world situation where a leader has positive and negative features. The two philosophers almost dispute the idea of a covenant between God and a man. However, this is not overly disputable question as we know that there is a supreme being in the world who fully controls our lives. That means that we do not have many responsibilities and we may continue obeying His will. To my mind, it would still be a form of covenant without the necessity of human intervention.
In conclusion, the idea of leadership has many interpretations and that is why there are so many different forms of leadership and governance in the world. It depends which school of thought the leader follows. The choice should be carefully made according to the situation and not to one’s predispositions. In this case, a leader should rule reasonably rather than using force and means of dictatorship. From the discussion above, we come to a conclusion that our laws should be grounded on rational sources and supported by those whom they affect.