According to Locke, liberty is defined as being free from any superior political power present in the society. Citizens are not under the institutional authority or in the control of others’ will, but they are governed by the law of nature. In the arena of politics, people are free from the control of any restraint arising out of their will. This freedom is not in line with what is defined by Sir Robert Filmer. He states that liberty for individuals is not what they like to do, not to be under the dominion of any law and to live as they please to. However, Locke says that liberty in day to day situation is abided by the law of nature and law in the political society which is commonly followed by the society. This scenario can be summarised in two pointers as follows: People have the liberty or right to not become a subject to the unknown will of others and they have the right to do things as per their will which is not a violation of the law.
On the other hand, the meaningful conception of Karl Marx can only be attained in a society with communist rule which allows free access to its citizens and resources; for instance, labor is adequately abundant leaving room for individuals to engage in pursuing their creative interests. Another aspect brought about by Marx is reducing the length of the working hours on an average so as to allow individuals to expand their sphere of freedom. Thus, it can be said that Marxist notion of human liberty is completely unconventional and promotes individualism. The comparison of the views of these two thinkers has helped in developing the argument relating to political democracy and the right to ownership of private property.
We began simply with a discussion on the distinction between the two concepts of liberty as proposed Karl Marx and John Locke. This has given us a perspective wherein we can now contest their view on liberty in a number of ways. This indicates the existence of infinite possibilities to interpret the definition of liberty. We have gained an understanding of the concept in terms of identifying various factors or constraints present in the social and political arena. Thus, freedom or liberty, as suggested by Marx and Locke, can be interpreted as not simply the theory of doing certain affairs rather performing certain affairs in a certain way literally. The later concept mentioned does not make any address to the absence of constraints.
What is perhaps remaining in the above distinction is a categorization of various renderings of freedom that suggests the degree of fit with the liberal and classical tradition. Those favouring the negative aspect and putting more trust in the classical liberal tradition are inclined to the tendency to violate an individual’s integrity and dignity. Whereas those favouring the positive aspect of liberty tend to question the source and nature of an individual’s values and interests in ascertaining that person’s freedom. One side takes a positive interest in the desires, beliefs and values of an agent, while the other side advocates that individual’s refrain from doing so.
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